Here is another film I completely missed when it was released back in 2019. and it took me this long to finally watch it. What a dope, anyway, Ad Adstra is set 30 years in the future, Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is briefed about a mysterious power surge threatening human life and the stability of the entire solar system. We learned that 30 years earlier, Roy’s father, Colonel Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), led a team of Astronauts into a deep space voyage aboard the Lima Project ship. Their mission was to explore the deepest regions of our galaxy in search of intelligent life.

Clifford and his crew lost communication with Space Command and were never heard from again — presumed lost and dead. However, Space Command believes that the power surge is an anti-matter reaction caused by the still functioning and not wholly lost Lima Project, which was also powered by this anti-matter material.

Space Command wants Roy to go to their station on Mars and, from there, send a secure message by laser to the Lima Project, which they believe is somewhere near Neptune. Roy’s mission is to make contact with his father and attempt to open up a line of communication with him.

Roy shows almost zero emotions to the news of his father possibly still alive. Brad Pitt’s Roy has the uncanny ability to remain calm and to keep his resting heart rate low and steady no matter the circumstances. And although we don’t see many emotions from Roy, we can hear the emotions in his internal monologues throughout the movie. Those inner monologues give us a glimpse of his state of mind as we see Roy slowly becoming more emotionally involved. There are noticeable similarities between Roy’s demeanor to Ryan Gosling’s version of Neil Armstrong in the movie First Man (2019).

Ad Astra is a visually pleasing movie that doesn’t overtake the whole father-son theme. The technical aspects and the cinematography are phenomenal; Incredible cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar, 2014. Dunkirk, 2017. Tenet, 2020). It is a beautiful movie to watch. There is this cool Mad Max type of shootout on the moon with a bunch of lunar pirates. But there are also some weird action plot twists thrown in there to liven up the story, providing obstacles for our hero to overcome. Some plot twists worked, and some didn’t do much for me.

I sense that this movie somehow provides a cynical view of space travel, colonization, and the nature of human existence. It is difficult not to compare Ad Astra with Apocalypse Now. The influences of Heart of Darkness are definitely there.

I see Ad Astra ultimately as a story of abandonment and what this means to Roy and his identity. The painful lifelong pursuit of coming to terms with the absence of a father — It is by the end of Roy’s existential journey through the cosmos that Roy can finally overcome and confront his father’s abandonment and thus begin to transcend all of his emotional trauma.

There have been some well-made and thought-provoking space-based movies in recent years, like Gravity (2013), The Martian (2015), Interstellar (2017), Sunshine (2007), and also Event Horizon (1998). And although Ad Astra may not be as remarkable to some critics as those modern Sci-Fi classics; Still, I feel that Ad Astra belongs in the same league as those movies.

Three out of Five Popcorn Bags 🍿🍿🍿

AD ASTRA (2019).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s