Ad Astra is a film which comes directed by James Gray who some may know as the director of The Lost City Of Z (2016) or The Immigrant (2013). The film stars Brad Pitt, Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones.
When I first saw the trailers for this film I thought it would probably be a pretty good one. It’s got three good actors in there with Brad Pitt, Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones. It’s also in the science fiction genre, which is I think maybe my favourite film genre and I always like seeing these types of films at the cinema.
There are two main reasons I like watching science fiction films, the first is for an interesting outer space story and the second is for the interesting visual effects. With Ad Astra, my second requirement is definitely met. The visual effects in this film are stunning and so too is the cinematography. In the outer space scenes I loved the look of the planets, the outsides of the space ships and the overall colouring of on the film, it just looked great on the cinema screen! I can already also imagine that for those watching this on a home release, it will look awesome on newer HDR TV’s because of all the colours.
With the story, I think that actually it’s fairly decent but I found myself not personally loving it. Ad Astra is about Astranaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), Roy needs to travel across the solar system to uncover the truth about what happened to his father who is missing in action after his mission went bad. As an Astranaut story it is interesting and I wonder if the our world will ever be advanced enough that we have people travelling in ships all over our solar system. But on the other hand, the film is filled with fairly bleak themes about loneliness and father and son relationships. The movie is not really an uplifting experience and there isn’t really that much dialogue at all. Brad Pitt while he does do well in the film, doesn’t say all that much and is mostly silent and just staring in many scenes.
One thing that I think might hold Ad Astra back a little is, is with its appeal to casual movie audiences. Many people will go out and see a science fiction film because at some point they want to see a cool alien or an interesting space battle. They’re there for the action. Ad Astra doesn’t really have this in there much and when you mix that with the bleak tones and lack of dialogue I can see casual movie audiences getting a little bored with this one. At the same time regular film goers such as myself or other critics out there will get a bit of a buzz out of the visual effects and cinematography.
Ad Astra is not completely without action sequences. There is in the film one scene early on in which Roy finds himself on the moon while travelling between stations on a moon buggy. He is attacked by a group of people known as ‘moon pirates’. This scene for me was the highlight of the film. I’ve never seen a moon fight before and the use of gravity, unique weapons and lack of oxygen made it very interesting to watch. The visual effects were fantastic in this scene and the action was good. The problem is that this was the only real highlight of the film for me and it probably will be for many others.
Overall Ad Astra is a film with beautiful visual effects and excellent cinematography. It should be watched at cinemas and it is really something to see. Brad Pitt was very good in this and as an actor I feel lately that he has been pretty good not only this film but a few recent ones too. In some ways Brad Pitt’s character is held back a little because of lack of dialogue and the film is quite bleak generally. There is only one really good action scene and not much else though. This is a film that regular film viewers will likely appreciate more for the visual effects but casual viewers might find the story a bit slow and the action not enough. If you love the sci-fi genre, great visual effects and Brad Pitt then this might be worth seeing this weekend.