The science fiction movie Ad Astra (2019) hit theaters in the United States three weekends ago with minimal fanfare. The cinematic look in paying homage to space movies past does it credit for visually resembling some of the better cinema in the space film genre. While I appreciate the touch of space tourism of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and the multi-dimensional imagery that accompanied Interstellar (2014), this film lands somewhere closer to First Man (2018) as far as storytelling success.
(Ruth Negga as Helen Lantos, left, and Brad Pitt as Roy McBride in the film Ad Astra).
Brad Pitt stars as astronaut Roy McBride, who takes a space quest across the solar system in search of his father. H. Clifford McBride, played by Tommy Lee Jones, is the father who seeks intelligent life towards the limits of the navigable solar system in a hypothetical near term reality. Ruth Negga plays Helen Lantos, a character whose life story in inextricably intertwined with both McBrides.
(Tommy Lee Jones as H. Clifford McBride in the film Ad Astra).
Donald Sutherland plays Thomas Pruitt, a former astronaut. H. Clifford McBride reportedly had some harsh history with H. Clifford, and it was in part his task to escort Roy from the Earth to the moon to Mars for a crucial mission to save the fate of the world. Pruitt’s character is important for informing the emotional relevance of the back story of the McBrides.
(Donald Sutherland as Thomas Pruitt in the film Ad Astra).
James Gray co-wrote and directed the film Ad Astra. The physical takes of offering insight into the colonization of the moon and Mars as a means for getting to the outer solar system makes for some solar system engineering. The resource combat and the science experiments that were parts of the film, combined with the notion of space tourism, really interested my inner nerd.
(James Gray directed and co-wrote the film Ad Astra).
Parts of the larger story, and the means of getting sense out of this story, were not the best I’ve seen in the genre of spaceflight related science fiction. The panache of a father son story did not bear the intrigue of a book by Ray Bradbury or a movie by Christopher Nolan. Most movies with spaceflight in the concept are possible points of interest for me. Unless you simply need a Brad Pitt fix, my recommendation is to wait for the DVD or streaming service to see this film. My grade for the film Ad Astra is 3.25-stars on a scale of one-to-five.
Matt – Saturday, October 12, 2019