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Home > Categories > Movies > Sci-Fi > Ad Astra review

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Score: 9.0/10  [1 review]
4 out of 5
ProdID: 8536 - Ad Astra
Directed by James Gray

Ad Astra
Price:
$24.95
Sample/s Supplied by:
Click to search for all products supplied by Universal Pictures NZ

Disclosure StatementFULL DISCLOSURE: A number of units of this product have, at some time, been provided to KIWIreviews by Universal Pictures NZ or their agents for the sole purposes of unbiased, independent reviews. No fee was requested, offered nor accepted by KIWIreviews or the reviewers themselves - these are genuine, unpaid consumer reviews.
Available:
December 2019

Ad Astra product reviews

Thirty years ago, Clifford McBride led a voyage into deep space, but the ship and crew were never heard from again. Now his son - a fearless astronaut - must embark on a daring mission to Neptune to uncover the truth about his missing father and a mysterious power surge that threatens the stability of the universe.

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Tags:
astronaut   brad pitt   cosmonaut   donald sutherland   earth   mars   moon   space   tommy lee jones
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Product reviews...

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Click here to read the profile of alexmoulton

Review by: alexmoulton (Alex)
Dated: 17th of December, 2019

Link to this review Report this review

 

This Review: 9.0/10
Pay to see it again:
Score 9 out of 10
Attention Span:
Score 9 out of 10
Believeability:
Score 8 out of 10
Special Effects:
Score 10 out of 10

Since 20th Century Fox merged with Disney, the remaining titles that Fox had ready for release have come out with less than brilliant critic scores. 'X-Men: Dark Phoenix' was widely panned, and 'Stuber' was not received well (I still stand by my review that 'Stuber' was a fun and highly enjoyable flick). 'Ad Astra' is the latest film to add to that list of releases, but does it break the trend of poorly reviewed flicks to end 20th Century Fox's run? Actually, it does quite well.

What is immediately apparent is that 'Ad Astra' is visually breath-taking. With gorgeous shots and overall spectacularly framed cinematography from Hoyte van Hoytema (best known for his work with Christopher Nolan on 'Interstellar' and 'Dunkirk'), Ad Astra manages to build convincing near-future worlds, with environments on Earth, The Moon, Mars, and beyond, all dressed in their own unique styles. The claustrophobic nature of underground bunkers, the cold, limitless expanse of space, or the black unknown of underwater caverns, each scene feels real.

The film is an absolute slow burn, however, and anyone wishing to see the film needs to be aware of this beforehand. This is no 'Gravity' or 'Interstellar', 'Ad Astra' is a combination of Stanley Kubrick's '2001: A Space Odyssey' and Francis Ford Coppola's 'Apocalypse Now'. With minimal dialogue from our main protagonist (portrayed by Brad Pitt), instead, making use of voiceover narration, and procedural processes to provide exposition and emotional explanations in the face of a character that has the range of facial expressions equal to that of a brick wall.

The whole film is not such a slow-paced film. Nearly every leg of the journey is interrupted by an out-of-place action scene. Out-of-place in such a manner that it feels as if the scenes come from a completely different style of movie. Scenes that also have no bearing on the remainder of the film and are most likely addendums added to each act in order to try and make the film appeal to a more mainstream audience. These scenes are well-shot and exciting to watch, but their inconsequential nature and lack of tonal consistency do reduce the impact of those scenes.

It is the deliberately measured pace of the remainder of the film that sets it apart from other space flicks. With a much stronger focus on the procedural aspects of space travel, the audience is treated to a much more realistic interpretation of life as an astronaut, with constant psychological tests, issues from zero gravity on the structure of the body, the use of feeding tubes, and a lot of political and bureaucratic hoops to go through to get anything done. Almost peaceful in its emphasis on the less desirable aspects of space travel.

While the style of the film makes it stand out compared to other modern releases, the story covers nothing new. A shiny-looking skin, but still a recycled plot that we have all seen before. For a film that seems to want to be an intellectual, contemplative piece, it fails to go deeper into any of the psychological elements that pop up during the films 123-minute runtime.

Still, this was quite an enjoyable film. Brad Pitt pulls off a Ryan Gosling-esque performance with similarities to the portrayals of Neil Armstrong and K from 'First Man' and 'Blade Runner 2049' (respectively). Tommy Lee Jones is Tommy Lee Jones; that gruff, stubborn man that looks far too close to death for comfort. 'Ad Astra' pulls off a slow burn, that despite the inconsistent tone and unoriginal plot beats, keeps you thoroughly engaged from start to finish.

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