Ad Astra is in theaters on September 20th, 2019.
I have to be honest: writing this review for Ad Astra is hard. I love Brad Pitt, and I think the acting in this
movie was awesome, but I honestly don’t know if I liked it or not. While I think the movie was
beautifully shot, and the storyline was interesting as it was about space and the future, I think
everything moved way too slowly. Ad Astra stars Brad Pitt as Roy McBride, a veteran astronaut hired to
journey across the solar system to find his father – the most brilliant scientist and astronaut known to
man, who disappeared 20 years prior.
The movie is about 85% Brad Pitt and 15% everyone and everything else. Normally, I’d love those numbers. I mean, who doesn’t love Brad Pitt? But this movie just felt like things dragged for too long, focusing only on Brad Pitt. Going in, I expected more of a space adventure; and while this movie primarily takes place in space, there was a lot more down time than I expected. When there are action scenes, they felt rushed and figured out within minutes. Then we spend another 20 minutes of the movie brooding with McBride.
The movie and the previews showed a lot of focus on the relationships Roy has in life. Tommy Lee Jones plays his father, who we come to find out is lost in space – presumably dead, and mysterious memories of a woman, played by Liv Tyler, who happens to be Roy’s ex-wife. However, in the movie, these relationships play more into Roy McBride’s internal struggles and self-acceptance, playing into his psyche more than they play out on the screen. Liv Tyler’s character was a background; a character added to include a woman on screen sometimes. She spoke for maybe 2 minutes, and it was a recorded video on an iPad. The rest of her character was just wispy memories McBride dreams of. Tommy Lee Jones as Roy’s dad is meant to drive the entire premise of the movie. He disappeared years ago, but mysterious and dangerous power surges begin striking the solar system and are traced back to the base that McBride’s father Clifford’s was on. Roy embarks on a journey to find out the truth about what happened to his father and what exactly he went searching for. We see Tommy Lee Jones for maybe 20 minutes at the very end, as the plotline all comes to together. Yet even then, I felt like they rushed through the entire surge problem and relationship between father and son and skip right on back to Brad Pitt Brooding.
The more I’ve thought about this movie after watching it, the more I’ve come to realize that this is more about the journey of human evolution and emotion than it is a space adventure. What we see is humanity’s journey into the future, and how important relationships are. Human emotion and human contact are a constant in an ever-changing universe. Walking out of Ad Astra, I truly did not know what to think of the movie. It reminds me of how I felt after Gravity. I didn’t know if I liked it or disliked it, or how I really felt. It took time for me to really gather my thoughts and decide how I felt. Maybe that’s what all the Brad Pitt Brooding in Ad Astra was all about… him deciding if HE liked the movie or not… The cinematography was beautiful, and it’s a movie showcasing Brad Pitt doing some of his absolute best work in years (besides OUATIH), so whether I loved it or not – I’d recommend heading to the theaters, seeing this in Imax, and deciding for yourself!
Rating: 3.8 out of 5
Lauren (Contributor) is born and raised in South Jersey. When she isn’t yelling at Philly sports teams on the TV, she enjoys seeing the latest action films and true crime documentaries.
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