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. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B

Memorable Quote: "Why keep trying?" - Roy McBride (Brad Pitt)

Comments

  1. Nice review! I wanted to see this because obviously, it's Brad Pitt in a space movie. I hadn't heard of a lot of divisive reviews, so that's pretty surprising. Hoping to catch it in theaters soon!

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    1. I hope you enjoy it! I'm hoping my theater gets Judy this week since it's getting jack at the moment.

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  2. i loooove this movie. i think his stoicism borders on the borderline sociopathic mandate of his job. so many layers

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    1. It really does! It's pretty remarkable how he never lost it at any point, even shooting through space.

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  3. I'm going to see this tomorrow as I hope it is good as I do like what James Gray does as a filmmaker. It's a shame it's being called a box office bomb.

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    1. I hate that it's being considered that too. People are always saying Hollywood remakes too many things and they don't make anything original, yet here something is and the GA isn't going for it, but are throwing their money at the very things they complain about. It's frustrating.

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  4. I will wait for DVD because this looks like something that will potentially bore the hell out of me :) Sucks that all those actresses didn't have much to do

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    1. It's a slow burn, but interesting enough. It's nowhere near as boring as Tree of Life. I disagree with whoever called it Tree of Life in space. I'd actually watch this again whereas I get PTSD thinking of Tree of Life lol

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    2. I legit believe watching Tree of Life again would kill me

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  5. Really glad you liked it too. I get what you're saying about the supporting roles but it completely made sense to me. This was an intensely personal story about Roy and I think diverting from that would have made it less effective. I do understand the desire to see more from them though.

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    1. You're absolutely right, it is Roy's story and it makes sense but those actresses are awesome and I'm greedy lol

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  6. What a comment by that member of staff! You already know I didn't like it but I don't think I would have said that, ha!
    You're so right about the other cast members, I would have loved for them to given more to do.

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    1. Same. I think Keith makes a good point above but I love Ruth and Natasha.

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