Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) undertakes a mission to cross the lonesome and ruthless solar system in an attempt to uncover the truth about his missing father’s doomed expedition thirty years ago, which now seemingly threatens the universe. Dangerous and unknown energy surges could be linked to the disappearance and it is up to McBride to find out. A stunning film that excels visually but perhaps lets itself down in terms of the pacing and storyline.
Director: James Gray
Writers: James Gray, Ethan Gross
Starring: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga
Having seen Ad Astra when it was originally released at the cinema, I left the screening feeling somewhat unsatisfied with what I’d seen, but recently I decided to give it another shot, especially considering it was presented to me in Blu-ray format. To its credit, while re-watching the film, it really struck me that this was more than likely one of the most visually spectacular movies I have ever experienced. Right from the off, there were some sensational visuals, ranging all the way from floating astronauts in the vast array of space to beautiful shots of different planets around us and even some marvelous imagery of different kinds of spacecrafts.
With that being said, if you head into this flick expecting lots of action and excitement, then you’ll probably be bitterly disappointed – there wasn’t much of it at all, but I don’t think that was the desired intention of the filmmakers. Large portions, if not all of the movie, came across as extremely slow burn in nature and ironically, I’d put this in the rare category of a flick that got even slower as it developed. Throughout, the conversations the characters would have were long and drawn out, sometimes frustratingly so, and with a runtime of one-hundred and twenty-three minutes, you as a viewer felt every single second of it and probably more.
On one hand I can appreciate what the filmmakers did with Ad Astra but I can’t help but wonder what the movie could have been like with a better handle on the pacing and slightly tweaked storyline. For sure, this was a superb film to sit back and enjoy visually, but it could be argued that it was just a little bit too slow and tiresome for most viewers. There was a lack of suspense and intensity too that many films have nowadays, and I certainly don’t think the slow pacing helped on that front.
It has to be said however, that Brad Pitt did a relatively steady job spearheading the movie and many of the scenes. His portrayal as the cool, calm and collected Roy McBride was effective and Tommy Lee Jones certainly did what was required as Clifford McBride, the father that was involved in the doomed expedition from thirty years ago. Elsewhere, there was a small role for Ruth Negga who portrayed Helen Lantos and she found herself contributing well to the slow and methodological pacing of the movie.
Overall, an okay space flick that anybody interested in this genre would more than likely get some form of enjoyment from, but certainly not something for everybody out there.
“I do what I do because of my dad.”Roy McBride – Ad Astra