review by Bobby Blakey
Over the last few years we have gotten some pretty cool out of the box space films including Gravity and Interstellar. Now Lost City of Z director James Gray is bringing his own vision of space to the big screen with Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Liv Tyler, and Donald Sutherland, but does it bring something worth exploring to the universe or should you stay on Earth?
Ad Astra follows Astronaut Roy McBride who travels to the outer edges of the solar system to find his missing father and unravel a mystery that threatens the survival of our planet. His journey will uncover secrets that challenge the nature of human existence and our place in the cosmos. One of the things I loved about the trailers to this film is that it told you just enough to make a coherent trailer, but not much else in what to expect. While it is slow paced deliberately it works to build some interesting elements in an intriguing story that left me thinking for a bit before I could actually review it.
The story was a bit different than I expect being way more grounded than where I thought it was going. There are some action moments, but this is a character piece that just happens to be in space for a big chunk of the film. The slow pacing may put some people off as it never really slaps you in the face with anything that really engages you, yet somehow still works on every level. Pitt is easily at this best here bringing a character to the screen who is dealing with things on a personal level, but has cut himself off to keep clear focused on his career. He almost comes off emotionless for a lot of the film, but it makes total sense as it all unfolds and tells the story it is moving towards.
Visually this is yet another stunning achievement in cinema. The space sequences both in and out of the spacecraft are believable and suck you in. This
is one of the most important aspects of the film because it if it doesn’t work the film falls apart fast. Even during some of the slower moments I found myself still engaged thanks to the visuals. If I had any critiques is that it does run a bit long for the story they are telling. There is an entire other sequence that felt unnecessary and served no purpose other than to add some excitement.
This is one of those films that won’t work for a lot of people due to the slow pacing and direction of the film. I wasn’t blown away by it like some have been but still enjoyed it quite a bit. You will have to check this one out for yourself to see if it works for you and be sure to see it on the biggest screen possible.
In addition to the film this release offers up bonus content including commentary, deleted scenes and numerous featurettes taking you behind bringing this science fiction feature to life. Grab your copy of Ad Astra available now on digital, 4K Ultra, Blu-ray and DVD from 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment.