Ad Astra starring Brad Pitt as Roy McBride is set in this dystopian future where waves coming from deep space are disrupting all the electronics across the solar system. The protagonist is set up to be this emotionless guy who split from his wife and is not even afraid of falling from the upper atmosphere.
The pacing of the movie, for the most part, is pretty slow even the action scenes feel about as slow as the last hour of work. Not that it is a bad thing at all, it is quite refreshing, especially with the oversaturation of fast-paced action movies.
There is one scene on the moon where some space pirates try to steal their little cart and equipment. The scene was much faster paced than any other part of the movie, even faster than the climax. I’m only bringing this up because it was the only scene where it felt out of pace with the rest of the movie.
I have grown quite tired of all movies, books, comics, and games doing these massive exposition dumps at the beginning of the story, where the protagonists narrate their entire life story up to the point where we come in. It just feels like lazy writing to me. I would prefer being able to piece together some of the story as it came up naturally in the film.
For Ad Astra, I appreciate that they didn’t do as much of that. The significant bits of background and story came from what was currently going on. Like when we find out that these waves are not only just affecting the earth, but they are hitting both the Moon and Mars knocking out all of their electronics as well.
What this movie does well is world-building. The world that this movie exists in is not an empty or bland one. For instance, when traveling to the moon, it was an option to go commercially, and the flight attendant mentions that it is $125 for a blanket and neck pillow. As soon as Roy stepped off the ship, you can easily spot several chain restaurants and retailers showing that not even the moon can escape capitalism.
Another stop in the movie was the dystopian surface of Mars. Mars felt more like a military base compared to the moon, where there were commercial flights to and from. There were fewer people and no mention of it being a tourist stop like the moon.
The main environment in this film was aboard spaceships, and they made it feel compact. For a good part of the movie, the protagonist is alone in a spacecraft for a few months, and the feeling of vast emptiness and isolation kicks in.
Chabot student and movie attendee, Jacob Jenkins had this to say about the movie. “I have never seen Interstellar, so I can’t make that comparison, but I really liked this one it felt super atmospheric from the environments and the world it set up was fascinating. Plus, Brad Pitt is just a solid f****** actor.”
In the end, I really enjoyed Ad Astra. I liked the world-building the shots of open space and the super chill vibe about it.