Ad Astra is a visually stunning space piece that offers many interesting themes for space and exploration. Although there is always something pushing you forward, such as the visuals or the narration, it never speeds up.
Ad Astra centers around Roy McBride, son of famed astronaut Cliff McBride, who loses touch with his father during a voyage pass Jupiter. After many natural disasters, Roy must find his father once again and face an unknown force in order to stop the destruction.
Brad Pitt plays Roy and offers narration throughout the story. This really did offer the only real way to truly understand the main character due to the entire story feeling centred solely on the visuals. However, after the film ended, his dialogue never felt unwanted and honestly kept me going forward, having it be a nice palate cleanser from the meat of visuals that were given.
I say this due to the fact that the majority of the film revolves around looking at space. Now, many films have used space as a backdrop or setting. With Ad Astra however, outer-space felt almost like a character itself, playing as the hidden antagonist against Roy as opposed to just being the set-piece.
Where movies like Interstellar had a good amount of events happen in space and 2001: A Space Odyssey combing space with artificial intelligence, Ad Astra’s only theme is space and what truly dwells within it. Roy’s narration gives the story a humanistic approach of retaining more interest in Earth itself than what could live outside our planet, which is quite refreshing.
The sole problem of Ad Astra is that motion pictures are a combination of visuals and story, however, this film only offers one at a time. When the story gets interesting, the characters are usually placed in a basic room while when it’s visually extravagant, nothing’s happening. This issue can lose the general public when a picture should try to appeal to everyone, not just cinematography lovers.
Ad Astra deserves a viewing in theatres, just for the cinematography alone. However, if that type of thing doesn’t seem interesting, watch The Martian, it offers more heart while still respecting the properties of space rather than Ad Astra, which is only great at doing one at a time.