Directed by James Gray
From 20th September 2019
Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Sometimes you walk out of a cinema having watched and enjoyed a film, but on reflection you look back and realise it was not up to much, quality wise. Ad Astra falls into this category.
For instance, it’s laughable to see grizzled actors Donald Sutherland and Tommy Lee Jones playing characters who wore space helmets, and Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) stepping out of his space capsule after a voyage of over a billion miles as if he was disembarking from a car after a short journey.
Ad Astra has been compared by some to 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is without doubt not the case!
Astronaut McBride, following a series of electrical storms, which are having a devastating effect on Earth, is called upon to halt this crisis by visiting Neptune, where apparently his father Clifford McBride (Jones), a renegade scientist, who many think is dead, was the creator of these surges which could annihilate the entire solar system. Clifford McBride travelled to Neptune many years before obsessed with locating life elsewhere in the universe.
Roy McBride has not seen his father since he was about ten-years-old. But the appearance of his father when he was that age bears little difference to the time he communicates with him on Neptune, except that he now has a grey beard. Another preposterous aspect of the film.
Plus points of Ad Astra, which translates as ‘Through hardships to the stars’ are the sometimes outstanding cinematography and set designs, helped by the use of actual film of rocket launches, etc. provided by NASA, and the atmospheric ambient music of Max Richter.