Review: Ad Astra


Brad Pitt’s near future sci-fi epic introduces many interesting concepts and storylines, but lacks connection.

Ad Astra, which means “onward and upward” in latin, is a near future story that is full of good and bad. The plot revolves around Brad Pitt’s Roy Clifford, an astronaut who is sent on a secret, deep space mission to find the source of an interstellar power surge which stems from the area where his father went missing. Clifford’s journey takes him to the moon, mars, and neptune and forces him to reflect on his life and his mission. 

On the good side of things the cinematography is very good, giving the space visuals and zero gravity angels that were advertised. Pitt also delivers a very strong performance as the stoic astronaut and Tommy Lee Jones is also very good, even though he doesn’t get much screen time. The most interesting parts of the movie are the different concepts that it presents. Part of the movie takes place on the moon and it introduces the idea of moon settlement politics. The movie also has a psychological angle that adds depth too Pitt’s character and develops the theme of the story.

While the movie delivers on some things it is seriously lacking in others. The plot at its base is not very dynamic or interesting and the movie can’t make up its mind on what it really wants to be. There are some emotional scenes about the characters that connect them to the theme and help the story but there are also some action scenes that are goofy and out of place. The movie also has some major pacing issues and some decisions that leave holes in the story, like the lack of Tommy Lee Jones’s character. It would have been better off settling on a unified story and tone that keeps viewers focused on the point, rather than taking them on pointless tangents.  

Brad Pitt gets his credit for a strong and surprisingly emotional performance, but the conflict between production studios and producers leaves Ad Astra as a weird mix of disassociated plot elements that make it seem as if the characters are just being dragged from point to point. While it delivers on the space scenes it cannot decide on what it wants to be or say and makes the finished product appear to be more congealed rather than crafted. 

Final Score for: Ad Astra

2 out of 5 Stars