Ad Astra - Brad Pitt, Astronaut

Just bought my ticket. I’ve avoided all trailers and reviews, but the headlines alone have me hyped.

Brad Pitt doing a space movie? SO IN.

I dug this movie enormously. My friend hated it.

It’s an arthouse movie as well as sci-fi. I’m not sure it has mass appeal.

It’s an experience with highs and lows, both busy and slow, intense and serene, hits and misses, pretentious and genuine, realistic and unrealistic.

I can understand either digging or not digging it, but I admire the effort in pursuit of a vision and it’s subjective whether or not it was reached and delivered. Anyone who thinks they might like it should give it a try.

Thematic spoilers (might also indicate whether or not the movie is for you, but it’s best seen blind):

Someone on Reddit said the movie should have been named “Dad Astra”, which is hilarious and true. The themes of the movie are about isolation and abandonment and even parental absence or how to live on after the pursuit of something, which is perhaps not what you are expecting out of your sci-fi. It’s also hard sci-fi with a side dose of dystopia on top of all that, too, though.

Sounds like interstellar with Pitt replacing mcconaughey.

Interstellar was an awesome movie.

Hated Interstellar…just was expecting more I guess after Inception.

I was going to take my kid to this as he loves Sci Fi but seems like it would be more thought provoking than action-y so maybe not.

It’s definitely further along the “art house” scale than Interstellar.

The ads for this seem all over the place. Showing action scenes but then there are scenes that don’t seem to fit the action movie angle. It also looks like it would be tough to fit what they are showing ad wise into a 2 hour movie. Looks like several themes.

I would like to see this though.

One of the reviews I read compared it to a Terrence Malick flick and suddenly all the disparate ads made sense to me. I’m not a fan of that type of movie so I’ll avoid for now.

Thin Red Line is one of my top 10’s and I enjoyed The New World but the rest of them not so much…and no way will the kid like these kinds of movies.

It is hard to overstate just how stupid this movie is. Everything about it, from the characters to the plot to the sci-fi is just utterly moronic. And it’s kind of fractal stupidity. The whole movie was stupid, but zoom in on any part and that part alone will appear just as stupid as the film as a whole.

That might sound like a stealth recommendation. No. This is not fun stupid. It’s lazy and sloppy stupid.

Brad Pitt: I’m going to have to use the explosion as my primary propulsion mechanism for getting back to earth.
Audience member at the end of their rope: Of course. Why the fuck not.

There is a lot about this movie that didn’t work for me (at least upon first viewing) and I feel like, on paper, I shouldn’t like it. Yet it has been ricocheting around in my brain ever since I walked out of the screening. My first impression though is that this needed to be a languid, expansive three hours.

I may need to see this a second time.

I loved watching it in fake IMAX last night. There’s so much I don’t understand about it, like what exactly did Brad Pitt overcome? He was planning to bury himself in space work until he had an opportunity to resolve the way his absent father hurt him? And SpaceCom’s psychological profiler was a way to compel obedience that didn’t actually help him do that? At the end, destroying his father’s work and using it to make it home was an act of letting his father’s attitude go as well as overcoming his father’s and spacecom’s discarding of life, and obsession with public image, by turning a one way mission into a round trip? I’m not sure yet if any of that is accurate and if so, how well the movie told it and how much time it wasted getting there, but it was really fun to watch an original sci-fi script with a great cast, giant rockets, Hoytema’s eye, and Neptune as a setting! We don’t get a lot of that.

At the end, destroying his father’s work and

Just a correction, unless I really missed something the movie made it clear that he saved his father’s findings. Two scenes: One where he and his father are talking as he downloads the findings to a black box / transponder looking device, second when he is doing a radio transmission just before his “ride the explosion home” flight he says something like “and if I don’t make it home make every effort to find my craft, it has important results from the Lima project” (paraphrased)

I completely agree with this. I think it’s kind of shitty Terrence Malick but it’s of that very hard to describe ilk of filmmaking and it’s sci-fi. I enjoyed it but at the same time can understand the dislike, mainly with the screenplay and the pacing (even though I think the uneven pacing was kind of magical at times, e.g. the way it has such slow periods like Pitt dragging himself through the underground lake and then (preposterously) up the rocket vent, but then things go from “too slow” to “too fast” when he kills the crew – I’ve heard war described as long periods of nothing interspersed with short traumatic periods of too much, and it felt like that). It’s a divisive movie.

Good point, but then what was the significance of saving the work? It sort of validated what his father did unless the data was collected before he put down the mutiny.

What if Terence Malick had directed Event Horizon? This is that movie. But stupider.

So bummed about this! The visuals looked like just my type of movie, but I detest those slow navel-gazing films.

Wow. Stupider than Event Horizon? That must be some kind of achievement by itself.

This did nothing for me at all.

It looks nice: the cinematography by Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar, Dunkirk) is excellent. But the rest of it does not inspire.

The script is full of leaden, lifeless VO that is the epitome of “tell, don’t show.” (In one spot the narration clumsily spells out something Kubrick and Clarke already showed simply, elegantly and more effectively without VO more than 50 years ago - namely that man will take his problems and weaknesses with him into space.) The movie’s thematic twist is that in the end it’s really about the characters, not cosmic ideas - but the characters are flat and uninteresting, and I never gave a damn what happened to any of them. (The characters in Arrival and Annihilation were way more memorable, even though they played second fiddle to cosmic themes.) The central conceit of the story is that mankind is willing to spend hundreds of trillions of dollars to find extraterrestrial life - but while we’re shown this, and told our two main characters have devoted their lives to it, we never for an instant feel the passion and excitement the project must inspire to make it mankind’s priority. Instead, the search for extraterrestrial life feels more like some boring people’s boring hobby - like stamp collecting. And the science fiction whiplashes between show-the-math hard sci-fi and Moonraker-level “it’s just a movie” handwaving.

In fact, I spend pretty much every minute watching this movie thinking of other, better movies. I would recommend watching (or re-watching) 2001, Apocalypse Now, Interstellar, Gravity, Arrival, either Blade Runner, Annihilation, or The Martian instead of this. They’re all better, and in many cases are where the ideas, themes, and visuals for this were cribbed from.

Hell, for that matter throw in Mad Max: Fury Road and System Shock 2, which have better dune buggy fights and killer space monkeys.

Blech. Cool solar system squandered on a tedious non story.

Sure, but what if I’ve seen all those and want more?