Ad Astra shoots for the stars

Brad Pitt stars as Roy McBride in the new movie Ad Astra.

Brad Pitt stars as Roy McBride in the new movie Ad Astra.

Avery Hamlin, Memorial Staff Writer

The realm of science fiction (sci-fi) movies can be commonly overlooked, and per the opinions of many who do not enjoy sci-fi, most movies could be considered virtually the same as concepts can lack in creativity. “Ad Astra,” released Sept. 20, brings something new to the table. The film, directed by James Gray, sets its scene in a futuristic world where space travel is as common as a family vacation to Florida. The film stars Brad Pitt playing Major Roy McBride, a successful astronaut dedicated to the exploration of space after his father dies while on his expedition to Neptune. 

Throughout the film, conflict and plot turns become very frequent. Ad Astra’s primary conflict that arises near the beginning is new unfamiliar power surges threatening the human race. These unknown surges put a risk on the Earth’s space travel that has become so very common. McBride spends his adulthood without his father H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) who was thought to be dead after a tragic Neptune expedition leaving the entire crew dead. McBride goes through many inner struggles as he faces a tough question: is his father really dead? 

This question takes him on a journey through space to find the answer not only he, but the rest of NASA is ready to hear. He is sent on a dangerous expedition through space to Neptune, where his father is expected to be and where the power surges seem to be linked.

The film manages to keep the viewers on their toes as it continually brings in a new conflict just after it seems to be over. Although, after the repetition of a few useless conflicts, it only dragged on the overall point of the movie and became old very quickly. The plot moved slower when pirates on the moon and monkeys in a spaceship were added to the array of hardships Major McBride had to endure. 

Sci-fi movies tend to have visuals play a large part in the production and with Pitt and Jones starring, the bar had to be raised. Action-packed and filmed almost entirely in the space setting, the visuals were breathtaking with closeups of anti-gravity combat on planets not yet explored. Although being action filled, beautiful scenes such as McBride floating through the serene blue hue of Neptune’s rings adds some new levels of sci-fi visuals.

Ad Astra holds an overall rating of 7.6/10 according to Rotten Tomatoes and holds up to that standard with the plot inconsistencies being in the way of a higher rating. As a person hardly interested in the sci-fi world, this movie has opened my eyes to the realm I once paid no attention to. Pitt’s excellent performance upheld every expectation, as he was solo in the majority of the movie, presenting difficult emotions flawlessly. Ad Astra left many questions to the viewers about the future to come and the vast space we have yet to explore.


Contact Avery Hamlin at [email protected]