A philosophical space adventure. Opinion of Ad Astra by Romina Tibytt.
This weekend I watched Ad Astra. I had it on mind to go to the movies but, when the reviews came out, I read that it was bad, boring and long, so I got discouraged and preferred to save the dollars and see it at home. Error!! In the first 5 minutes I knew I would have enjoyed it at the movies and much better at IMax. Following next my opinion of Ad Astra (To the Stars) directed by James Gray and starring Brad Pitt, with the obligatory clarification that I am cinephile but my opinions in this field are not professional.
Since I was about 6 years old, if my memory does not fail me, and my parents took me to see E.T, science fiction cinema became one of my favorite genres. I love movies about space and extraterrestrial life. Ad Astra presents both issues and has a first level cast. Like I mentioned earlier: Brad Pitt, along with Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland and Liv Tayler. Music by Max Ritcher, directed by James Gray and cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema (Interstellar) who is for me, the one who takes all the glory. Wonderful work, again!
First, a brief synopsis: In the not too distant future, humanity has conquered space exploration and they have launched into the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Thirty years ago, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) led a trip into deep space, but never heard from the ship and the crew again. Now his son, Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), a fearless astronaut, must embark on a daring mission to Neptune to discover the truth about his missing father and a mysterious wave of energy that threatens the stability of the universe and life in Earth.
My opinion of Ad Astra: what I liked and what it didn’t convince me
Lately, films about space travel are also about parent-child ties (or perhaps an imitation after the success of Intestellar) Interstellar, First Man, Arrival and now Ad Astra. Starting with what I liked least, it was this that did not convince me. At times it seemed cliché, repetitive. I failed to connect with the characters at the level that I was really interested in the relationship between them and I really didn’t care if they solved their conflicts. I think both characters lack depth and this makes the movie look even, cheesy at times. Now. Ad Astra is not just the journey through the galaxy and the personal history of the character. Moreover, Ad Astra is undoubtedly a philosophical space adventure. If we analyze it from this point of view, then the father (lost and absent) – son (looking for answers) relationship acquires another dimension.
The two stories of Ad Astra: conflicts and communion
Ad Astra is a film outside normal and follows two lines of development. On the one hand, Roy’s space adventure in search of his father. On the other, the introspective journey of the character. Both enter into conflict and then make a communion.
Roy performs an odyssey that anyone who loves science fiction films dreams of doing. It goes from Earth to the Moon, from there to Mars and then to the beyond. At this point I want to dig a little deeper. Because the cinematography is really amazing. Impeccable shots. Wonderful. And explore many genres a bit: terror, adventure, action and even some romance. At times I found myself jumping off the couch, experiencing the suspense of the scene, or feeling dizzy. You go from laughter to melancholy and from hope to uncertainty. The shots of the ships, of the planets and the space, the colors and the dimensions, are wonderful. Stanley Kubrick has been the great teacher (2001, Space Odyssey ) and you can see the great influence. I also feel that there is a bit of Contact, Solaris, Gravity, Event Horizon and the ones we mentioned earlier. All the space travel is simply a work of art. Regardless of whether it is realistic or not.
However, while we accompany Roy in his space odyssey, we do it on his introspective journey as well. In which he analyzes common philosophical themes of humanity. The reason for existence, loneliness, the need of the other, of ties, of love, of things that are perceived as simple but at the end of the day are what define us. It also addresses rationality and mental health.
We see Roy undergoing continuous psychological tests and how as the distance from the Earth increases, mental health deteriorates (special attention to what happens in the space station during the trip to Mars, the inhabitants of Mars, the trip to Neptune and his own father). Given these elements and although my first feeling was that the film was obvious at times and that it could have left more room for interpretation without explaining everything, all the time.
Reflecting, I think I was wrong. And as is often the case with those of us who are passionate about cinema, I may be reading where there is nothing written. However, I feel that there is another discourse, the one that was written between the lines, the one that talks about our relationship with the force of creation, our roll, insignificant or not, in an infinite space.
I am sure that Ad Astra criticizes consumerism, our own superficiality. There is a phrase Roy says and that resonated with me: “We are world-eaters.” This clicked on me because I heard it with exactly the same words in another movie: The Fourth Kind. This phrase together with that of the Roman poet Virgil, who said “sic itur ad astra” or “therefore, one travels to the stars”, we get the following: “We are devourers of worlds; so we travel to the stars. »
Well, taking this into consideration, the film also makes us a point about our origin. Where we come from? and from there, where are we going?
Finally, perhaps James Gray’s approach is that taking that leap into space is necessary to discover emotional mechanisms, recognize the appreciation of time, the importance of community and human contact without going so far, right here on Earth.
Do not miss it! Try to see it without expectations and let yourself go. Ad Astra has a lot to offer but demands an open mind. So and all when it failed to convince me, it left me thinking, super hooked and I repeat, cinematographically it is beautiful. Do not do like me, do not regret not having gone to see it at the cinema, if you still have it on your billboard in your city, give yourself the ticket and better at IMax.
If you has seen it, tell me what you think. It gives a lot to talk about! Until next time!