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  • Don Ford

Don Reviews "Ad Astra"

Outer space, much like the oceans, have so much to be explored, and thanks to advances in technology, we get closer and closer each year to making huge strides in their research. Although many think it would be great to go into space, the dangers of space travel are also immense. But what happens when it all goes sideways?

“Ad Astra” addresses this question as director by James Gray (The Yards) tells this story with Brad Pitt, Liv Tyler, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, and Donald Sutherland. In the not-too-distant future, mankind is looking into space to expand and also try to reach out to alien life be sending Clifford McBride (Jones) and a crew to the outskirts of our solar system. They disappear when his son Roy (Pitt) is a boy, and when he grows up to seemingly follow in his father’s footsteps, it is discovered that power surges killing thousands around the world may be triggered by his father, who may still be alive. As a result, the military has Roy go on a top secret mission to reach out to his father and try to get the electronic pulses to end.

There is some incredible CGI in this film that really gives the space sequences (especially on the moon) a high sense of realism. I was also especially impressed with the scenes around Neptune, whose coloring and visuals were top-notch. When it comes to the acting, it was good, but not mind blowing. Pitt and Jones do fine, but it is far from some other performances that have been acclaimed. The supporting cast does fine also, but nothing really stood out for me.

The plot and storyline falls flat, especially for a film that is two hours long. The first ninety minutes were basically Pitt’s character getting to Neptune, which caused it to drag for me. There are a lot of unnecessary plot points and inner dialogue done by Pitt, which reminded me of the Terrence Malick films I have suffered through. I will give it to the film that it does show the dangers of space travel and how unpredictable t can be, but at the same time, there are some space events that happen that are not possible to our knowledge. Simply put, “Ad Astra” is beautiful but falls flat, so, get those cricket chirps ready because I can barely recommend this film by watching the film on cable.

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