“Ad Astra”

Catharine Richards

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Set in the future in a time when commercial flight to the moon exists and manned missions are not only being sent to Mars but to even more distant planets in our galaxy, the new film “Ad Astra” is certainly intriguing. The movie follows Roy McBride, played by Brad Pitt, a seemingly stoic and callous astronaut on a mission to find his father, who was lost in space for over 30 years, and participating in a project to find extraterrestrial life. The movie’s visuals are stunning overall and capture the beauty of space as well as the ominous looming dangers of the unknown. 

There are many twists and turns and exciting, suspenseful moments right from the beginning of the film when McBride falls from the space antenna and hurtles towards Earth. I definitely experienced a few startling jumps from the several intense fight scenes, the “space pirate” chase on the moon and the completely unexpected violent monkey on a spaceship. As chaotic as some of these elements may seem, the overall flow of the movie was, in my opinion, very good. Some may think that the flow seemed to slow around parts of McBride’s inner dialogue, but on the contrary, I think these moments were crucial to character development. As the movie goes on, we see that the stress of distancing himself from everyone in his life after the disappearance of his father takes its toll on McBride over the extended periods of solitude he experiences while traveling through space. 

The movie also represents on a Hollywood-sized scale the real-life stress experienced by astronauts, as throughout the film, McBride has to pass various psychological evaluations which are a way to track his change over time. As someone who particularly likes movies about space, I did enjoy this movie overall, although it did definitely deter me from ever wanting to travel beyond Earth.