Ad Astra heads into the cinema, with the mission seeing one man head off into the solar system in an attempt to save it from his own father’s mission, which has become a threat to the whole universe. See what the Ready Steady Cut review had to say about the film by clicking these words.
These three ups and three downs in Ad Astra will contain spoilers, so be prepared if you are going to read any further.
Up 1: The Science
When you look at most of the missions in Ad Astra, we get to see how the space travel is achieved; the fact we keep the idea of how to get to space the same as how we would do it now does make this feel like it is an achievable future idea. With the idea that the travel is the same, the commercial side of it is added with flight attendants helping the passengers and the moon being a tourist destination, showing us just how it could be done without it being all about wildly over the top tourist locations; outside the bases, it still looks empty. Not using the hypersleep or similar ideas also helps because it shows how the astronauts would be left awake for the missions, having to deal with the reality of days in containment in the middle of space.
Down 1: Mayday Call
One of the side missions Roy finds himself on is answering an mayday call in the middle of space from a research vessel. This gives Roy a difficult decision on whether to take control of the ship and give away his top-secret mission to help out. While this is a decision that Roy does make correctly, proving he needs to keep quiet for once in his career (though we don’t see him giving away others, only it is implied that he has) the mission itself feels like one of the bigger horror parts of the film, with Roy and the captain of the ship going on board to find it abandoned, only to be surprised by an animal attack. This does feel like it was just filler in the story and didn’t need to be here for the most part.
Up 2: Brad Pitt
Brad Pitt has had an exceptional year now. First it was Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, where he stole the movie, and now he breaks the trend of being the cool guy by showing us that he can be the distant figure required for the role of Roy; he is meant to be emotionless, with the ability to remain calm in every situation his character goes through. Brad Pitt gives us one of his career-best performances going against his normal strengths to prove himself as one of the generation’s best.
Down 2: The Threat
The power surge is what causes the mission across the solar system; it causes the big accident which almost kills Roy and is meant to kill tens of thousands on Earth, and the surges remain a threat in the solar system, be it Earth, the Moon or Mars. The problems with the power surges is that we don’t see enough of the destruction to truly understand the threat, which is meant to be a universe-wide threat and by the end of the film, we don’t quite get a complete answer to why the power surge was happening and what Clifford was meant to be trying to do if he created himself.
Up 3: Visuals
Ad Astra has some of the greatest visual effects of the year. The different locations, including the empty moon which includes the rover chase sequence, which looks as barren as the moon is though becomes one of the most intense scenes in the film. The colors of the planets are beautiful: the reds of Mars, Jupiter, passing past Saturn before we see the pure beauty of the blues of Neptune. Just everything we see around the space side of the film is a thing that creates pure beauty for the audience, regardless of what they might think of the story.
Down 3: Supporting Characters
Roy might well be a brilliant leading character, but when it comes to the supporting players, we do get left not spending too much time with any of them. We have the mystery around Clifford, which is in and around the whole film, we don’t learn about his motives until the final quarter of the film, then even that feels like we don’t get everything we wanted. Eve, the wife, doesn’t really get any screen time, she is just part of Roy’s memories. Despite Helen being the one that helps unlock the truth for Roy, that is all we get from her. Overall the supporting characters just don’t get the time they deserve in this story.
These were three ups and three downs in Ad Astra. What do you consider some of your ups and downs from the film?
Darren starting writing for films at Movies Reviews 101. He joined the Ready Steady Cut team in 2018 and is a proud member of the LAMB (Large Association of movie bloggers).