Movies and More reviewer John Gillispie shares his thoughts on the film “Ad Astra,” which is rated PG-13 and currently playing in theaters. The title of this film, which stars Brad Pitt, is Latin for “to the stars.”
Brad Pitt gives a solid and understated performance as astronaut Roy McBride on a difficult mission to save life on Earth in “Ad Astra.”
The mission is challenging for two reasons. First, a spaceship near Neptune is sending out strong electrical impulses causing havoc on Earth. The second reason is that McBride’s father is the commander of the ship near Neptune.
Pitt’s father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), is considered a space hero and was thought lost on his mission to the distant areas of our solar system. Roy learns early in the film that his father may be alive and responsible in some way for the electrical issues affecting the Earth and killing many people.
“Ad Astra” is set in what we are told is the “near future” at a time when space travel to the moon has become both commonplace and commercial. Roy travels to the moon with his father’s friend (Donald Sutherland) with the goal of then going on to Mars to attempt to contact his father.
“Ad Astra” is a serious film in which humans have brought their conflicts to outer space having not learned the important lesson to work together on Earth. The film has some action sequences and special effects in addition to plenty of drama. However, the spacecraft and technological gadgetry all seem realistic to the timeframe in which the movie is supposed to be taking place. Yet, it is still difficult to fathom traveling billions of miles in space.
Despite the feelings of abandonment and emotional scars brought on by his father choosing space travel over him and his mother, Roy still loves his dad and wants to help him if possible. “Ad Astra” succeeds in showing viewers the loneliness and challenges of space travel while anchoring itself in the humanity of Pitt’s character.