Ad Astra (2019) Review


RATING: 2.5/5


An astronaut has to venture to the edge of the solar system to stop a potential cataclysm. As well as stopping his father who may be causing it.

A movie that I had some expectations of being good. A film that has to do with space travel which I’m usually a bit of a sucker for. But unfortunately, all that whimsical and spectacle didn’t get me fulfilled all the way.

A majority of the performances were fine, but Brad Pitt was definitely the best. The character he played, Roy Mcbride, was interesting in that this was an astronaut that seemed to have become somewhat desensitized from all of the space travel that he had done in the past. His emotions were pretty monotone, but it was not until he met his father, played by Tommy Lee Jones, that his humanity had been retouched.

I do kind of like the concepts of Pitt’s character development. Him traveling through the Solar System and thinking over his life. The very thing that he “enjoyed” doing was creating this rift between him and his relationships with other people, including his wife. There were some parallels between him and his father which were nice. Thus showing that these two seemingly different people were more similar than one would believe.

Outside of Pitt and maybe Jones, the rest of the cast did their jobs, alright I suppose. They weren’t bad, though honestly if they were recast with other people, nothing would have changed. They were very forgettable and weren’t given enough screentime to make me latch onto them.

The world that “Ad Astra” portrayed was very interesting. Humans have colonized both the Moon and Mars. The film explored them with a fair amount of time. The Moon was my favorite as it showcased a hub/lunar city with shops and restaurants. There were also lunar pirates and rover battles which was cool. The Mars hub had these comfort rooms which would make sense for individuals who have strayed away from Earth for a long time. This detail added some realism.

The best positive I can give this film was, of course, the visuals. I love watching the cinematography throughout. There were shots and sights that made me go awe and appreciate the sheer glory of it. Many of them reminded me of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but in a good way. The wide shots did great work at showing the scale of either the Moon or Mars. Also, they did great at showing the loneliness of McBride when he was traveling in space. Neptune was beautiful to look at with its dark blue atmosphere and glowing blue rings. The shot of the tiny ship in the foreground with Jupiter in the background was grand. Colors were popping and it all looked gorgeous to witness.

The film had some music that truly set the mood right in creating an unsettling and discomforting mood. But at times there was no sound or music, which made situations even more unnerving. Whenever it used music, it was good. Whenever it didn’t use music, it was great.

Throughout the film, Pitt’s character would narrate during certain sections to tell the emotions and thoughts he was experiencing at that time. I don’t believe it was necessary and it was getting a little annoying. I wanted the film to show me, not tell me the things that were going through his head.

Now with this film dealing with space-faring, there needed to be slow parts to emphasize the long journey. At times it can work at showcasing pretty visuals. But when it came to this part, I kind of wanted the movie to speed it. I didn’t feel the long journey leaving an impact because I didn’t really connect with the main character. Like I said, I like the concepts but the execution could have been better. His backstory was shown in pieces throughout the film and made it a tad tough to make me care for him.

For the rest of the movie, the slow portions were slow. Very little happened during these portions. On top of that, there was also very standard and dull dialogue.

The whole bit with the animal testing space station was the most entertaining portion. I was not expecting an astronaut to get killed by a baboon.

This film had a good main lead, great cinematography, and gorgeous visuals. But all of the effects can’t make up for a movie that I wished had a better-executed story, had more interesting characters, no narration, and more emotional weight to back up the drama. It is definitely not for everyone.


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