Ad Astra (2019) Movie Review

Director: James Gray

Writer: James Gray, Ethan Gross (Screenplay)

Starring: Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler, Ruth Negga, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, Anne McDaniels, John Ortiz

Plot: Astronaut Roy McBride undertakes a mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.

Tagline – The Answers We Seek Are Just Outside Our Reach

Runtime: 2 Hours 2 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Mission Out of This World

Story: Ad Astra starts when astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) survives a fatal power surge that destroyed more of his solar space station, Roy with the reputation of never having panicked during any situation in his life remained calm and has been selected for a top-secret mission.

Roy must travel into space to locate his long-lost father Clifford McBride (Jones) whose craft seems to be the source of the power surge before it disrupts everything back on Earth.

Thoughts on Ad Astra

Characters – Roy McBride followed in his father’s footsteps becoming an astronaut, his ability to remain calm with his heart rate makes him one of the best candidates for most missions even if this has made his rational thinking making him emotionless towards the world, including his own wife. When he learns his father might still be alive in the depths of space, he gets assigned to try and communicate with him, which sees him travelling across the solar system, where he must face his own emotions of being left at a young age by his father. This is his story, he is the character we learn the most about through the film. Eve is the wife of Roy, she hasn’t gotten as much love from her husband, which has seen her wanting to leave him because of his travelling decisions. Helen is one of the people that Roy meets on his mission, somebody that does show him a truth about the mission unlike anybody else. Clifford McBride is considered a world-wide hero for his mission into the depths of space, his mission did mean that he became distant from his son because of the fact he left him on Earth, he is thought to have gone missing until the power surge seems to come from his own ship, leading to the mission across the solar system.

PerformancesBrad Pitt is brilliant in this role, where he steps away from his cool persona which he bought us in ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ to give us a much straighter, distant, but brilliant character whose actions is what keeps us wanting to see more from him. While Brad Pitt might be fantastic, it is the supporting cast that are great without being fantastic, mostly due to most not having many scenes, with most being part of the journey, rather than on the journey.

StoryThe story here follows an astronaut that must travel across the solar system in an attempt to figure out what happened to his father’s mission and why there is a power surge that has become a threat to Earth coming from his last known location. This story is a tale about one man that gets a chance to communicate with his father after spending years believing he is dead, lost to space, only to learn of a bigger picture to his mission as he must learn to recontrol his emotionless character before he becomes a problem on the mission. The pace of the story does flow nicely as we learn things as Roy does, which does change his mindset along the way and it does show how big the mission is. There are a couple of issues with the story, with one being the length of the journeys, the second would be the fact that we do get a random side mission, which doesn’t need to be here. Overall the story is interesting to see, it keeps the science behind the story seeming not to distant, with the launches being like what we would see now, even if certain parts are meant to be commercial.

Mystery/Sci-FiThe mystery in this film comes from us and Roy wanting to know what Clifford discovered in the depths of space, which does play into the sci-fi side of the film, with the idea of the human race wanting to find life in the galaxy, expanding the position from just being on Earth, with the first steps with bases on the Moon and Mars, though most of the technology ideas are where we would see us going in real-life, none of this hyper sleep concept yet.

SettingsThe film does use the different locations through space to be what we would imagine, with the moon looking like the lifeless place, Mars being filled with the reds and the crafts looking like they would be the ones used to travel through space, we feel the empty vacuum of space.

Special EffectsThe effects in the film are brilliant, they obey the rules or space, giving us some of the best visual backgrounds to the mission’s journey too.

Scene of the Movie – Moon Rovers.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – Certain camera angles or point of views could have been better for the impact of the scene.

Final Thoughts This is one of the best and most visually pleasing movies of the year, it has a fantastic performance from Brad Pitt in the leading role and keeps the science of the space travel feeling a lot more grounded than many of the film from the past.

Overall: Out of this world.

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