The 2019 sci-fi movie, was written and directed by James Gray and also written by Ethan Gross. Ad Astra takes place in “the near future”, it’s the story of astronaut Roy McBride ( Brad Pitt ), whose Father, H. Clifford McBride ( Tommy Lee Jones ) ( also an astronaut ) has been presumed dead in Neptune for 16 years. Or is he?
Warning: SPOILERS AHEAD
Roy has had an estranged relationship with his Father, due to how long he would be away for on his quest to discover alien life. He still loved him, he just wished they had more time together. Simular to how he treats his own wife. His Father was also referred to as a legend, almost like a modern day Neil Armstrong, having been the first person on two different planets.
The US governmont informs Roy that they believe his Father may still be alive. Loren Dean ( Donald Sutherland ), a former friend of his Father, acts as a guide/mentor to Roy across his journey. The plan: Go to the moon, then Mars then Neptune, it’s just not that easy. First, Roy has to take a series of psychological test, to see if he is fit for A being at space, and B the emotional connection he has, given that it’s about his Father. He passes, the two going to the Moon, which has been modernised with several bases on it’s surface. It even has a working tourism economy.
Roy is prepared for takeoff, Loren however doesn’t think he can make it, getting rushed to emergency surgery. Implying the space travel took it’s toll on him. It’s unclear if he survives. Now on a quest to Mars, a gorilla breaks out and kills several of the crew. Don’t ask. After arriving on the red planet, Roy is told to read an artificial sounding script, simular to how US military recruits would have to make a scripted call home, a week after arrival. He goes off script, talking about how he really feels about him. The governmont deems it too dangerous for him to continue the mission, deeming he would be too emotionally attatched to make proper actions.
Ignoring his orders, he sneaks onto the secret headed for Neptune. Which results in the entire crews death. He arrives at his Father’s ship. After a few minutes of exploring the ship, he finds him, fully bearded. He admits that he intentionally left his family behind, that he had nothing back on Earth. Roy opens up, TLJ staying cold, yet admitting that he admires his courage and dedication. Also, he couldn’t find any aliens.
TLJ puts on his astronaut suit, leaving the ship. Now the movie quickly shifst into a short version of Gravity. TLJ letting go, because he has no reason to live. Nearly broken, Roy returns back to Earth. Reconsiling with his wife. The end.
CONCLUSSION & THEME:
Due to it’s stunning visuals, choices of background music and admittadly ‘mixed’ performance from Brad Pitt, Ad Astra is one of the best films of 2019. ‘Mixed’ meaning how throughout the film, his acting ranges from Oscar worthy, to the reason a lot of people can’t stand the guy. The movie also did a good job at keeping Tommy Lee Jones’ fate in the dark. Never giving off so much as a subtle clue as to if he is dead or alive.
The film’s overall theme seems to be hope. Hope that Roy’s Father is still alive. Hope that intelligent life is out there, somewhere. Hope that he hasn’t wasted the last three decades of his life to a lie. I’d give this film an 8/10.
PS, happy birthday to Bob Odenkirk