Director: James Gray
Genre: Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
Runtime: 123 Minutes
Main Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, Liv Tyler, Jamie Kennedy, John Ortiz, Greg Bryk
Plot: Astronaut Roy McBride travels through the solar system to learn the truth about his father who went missing years ago, as well as finding out what is causing an attack of solar flares on Earth which have the potential of destroying the planet.
My Thoughts: Before I start my rant I want to be clear, I don’t go into any movie expecting or wanting to dislike it. Even widely hated movies – I try to find the good in them. I can absolutely see why the majority love Ad Astra, and I wouldn’t argue their points, but it didn’t work for me at all. There are plenty of movies in the same genre that I’ve loved, but I couldn’t love Ad Astra. I’m going to flag the rest of my post as spoiler territory just so I can make my points without being cryptic!
Firstly – did Roy really need to travel all the way to Mars to make that transmission? Are you telling me that in this future, where you can buy a Subway sandwich ON THE MOON, that you can’t pre-record a message and transmit it to wherever they know Roy’s father is? That alone was frustrating me endlessly. Also – kudos to Helen for sneaking Roy onto that ship so he could find his father, but could she not have given someone else in the crew a heads up? Come on Helen!
I’m all for a surprise ending, but this one was just really depressing. I liked finding out that actually, there’s a super high chance that us humans are the only intelligent beings in the universe (too many sci-fi movies are like, ALIENS) but it just made everything seem so…pointless. Like, I guess you could argue that Mad Max: Fury Road was just as pointless, but at least the ride was fun!
Best Bit: The buggy chase and shootout scene on the moon was pretty darn cool, right? The whole movie is full of beautiful cinematography but that scene, in particular, was pretty breathtaking.
Worst Bit: Why scare the crap out of me with a giant, crazed, murderous space monkey, which seemed to add nothing to the plot? I’m filing Ad Astra in the same cabinet at Nocturnal Animals for jump scares that are unforgivable.
Fun Trivia: While shooting the climactic scene, Brad Pitt ended up crying unprompted in character. But as the scene takes place in zero-g, Pitt told director James Gray that the tear should be edited in post to float like a bubble off his face, rather than run down his cheek. “You gotta replace my tear, that’s not how it works in zero-gravity,” Pitt reportedly said, to which Gray responded, “I’m sorry, I’m keeping it. The acting’s too good, buddy.”
My Rating: 2 Subway sandwiches which you can purchase once disembarking your commercial Virgin Atlantic flight to the moon.