Review: Ad Astra
Your psyche evaluation has been accepted.
Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is a successful astronaut in his own right, but he also happens to be the son of a legend - Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) who disappeared years earlier while doing a long range mission somewhere around Neptune. The entire solar system starts experiencing dangerous surges of electricity, and Roy finds out that his father might actually be alive and the primary cause for it.
When I bought my ticket today, the person working actually asked me if I was sure. We're pretty familiar with each other since I practically live there so that gave me a bit of pause. Was I going to find it boring like they did?
Turns out, I was happy for that precursor because I ended up enjoying Ad Astra a lot more than I thought it would. I saw a critic on twitter describe this as a big budget art house flick, and that's pretty accurate. It is a slow burn, but I never once felt bored by it. Roy goes through quite a few different obstacles in the film that really help build the future world well. There's pirates on Mars, SOS calls have strange solutions, we fly commercially to space. All of those things are the best kind of filler. Roy gets slapped with a bombshell of information about his father, and seeing him navigate all of this on his way to (what he thinks) will be the answer was very interesting.
Brad Pitt is very stoic, I enjoyed him in this role and I really liked his narration throughout. The film is shot beautifully as well. This might seem petty but I kept thinking of First Man at different points throughout and how much better this was. The camera gets close to Pitt at times but it always gives us room to breathe. I appreciated this so much more because of that.
My main issue with Ad Astra, is that this is essentially a one man show. Actors like Ruth Negga and Natasha Lyonne show up for a few minutes each, then disappear. Other characters we spend time with briefly are killed off. I understand why Roy needed to lose all his support but I wish he didn't. Especially when such compelling actors don't get to do more.
Reviews may be divisive but I firmly landed on the "liking it" side.
Memorable Quote: "Why keep trying?" - Roy McBride (Brad Pitt)