Ad Astra – Film Review

Brad Pitt goes where many men have boldly gone before – into an astronaut jumpsuit and into the furthest reaches of space.

He plays Major Roy McBride, who miraculously survives a fall from a deep space antenna he was working on, that was hit by a huge energy pulse. The source of the disruption? A spaceship that was part of the “Lima Mission”, coincidentally piloted by his father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones).

Roy agrees to help out SpaceCom, a futuristic version of NASA and travels firstly to the moon, flying commercial to avoid undue attention and then onto Mars where he will broadcast a message in the hope his father responds and turns off his giant energy pulse machine.

From director James Gray, whose previous effort The Lost City of Z was pretty good, if a little heavy handed (he’s not big on jokes).

Gray has referenced Joseph Conrad’s Hearts of Darkness as inspiration for Ad Astra, which is interesting as it is an unmissable influence on The Lost City of Z.

The release of Ad Astra was delayed multiple times, I believe mainly due to post production hiccups and I feared when it did finally arrive it might be a mess. It is worth the wait.

Visually it is stunning, simultaneously looking futuristic yet also like it was shot in 1970, and that is a compliment, as the film feels real and not full of VFX, in spite of the fact there is a lot of it to make the space travel authentic.

A moon buggy chase on the moon (where else?!) is incredible. The various planets are breathtaking and the film will draw comparisons to Gravity, Interstellar and The Martian, and it can stand proudly with that field of excellent space films.

4 Stars – “One of the Great Films About Space”

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