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The Daily Wildcat


‘Ad Astra’: Technically proficient, lacks flare

Courtesy 20th Century Fox

Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra,” the new 20th Century Fox paranoid space thriller that entered theaters Sept. 20.

“Ad Astra” stars Brad Pitt as astronaut Roy McBride, who is tasked with a mission to find his lost father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), who has been perceived dead for many years. While this film may be visually and technically astounding, the story falls flat with a basic structure.

The acting in this movie  was good, but not great from Pitt — his work in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time In Hollywood” was a far superior performance. There are supporting characters, but none of them have enough screen time to leave an impression. This is 100% Pitt’s movie to carry.

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The opening 15 minutes of this film are definitely the highlight with a gripping space sequence for the books, but if I had to describe this movie as a whole in one word, it would be “underwhelming”. 

With Pitt at the helm of a space thriller, it was inconceivable that this movie could be a let down. But, with what felt to me like an uninspired performance from Pitt, it did no favors to a preexisting lack of substance within the script.

"Ad Astra" follows Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) across space on a mission to learn the truth about his missing father.
“Ad Astra” follows Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) across space on a mission to learn the truth about his missing father.

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Going in, I was expecting an inventive and bold space thriller, but what came out of it was just a basic space exploration film lacking any kind of message.

Visually, this movie is absolutely stunning and has some of the most breathtaking space sequences I’ve ever seen. The visual effects and cinematography were out of this world and are shoe-ins for Oscar contention. 

The score from composer Max Richter was powerful and matched the tone of each scene seamlessly. James Gray’s directorial style was unique with an artsy feel to it that made for aesthetically pleasing cinematography. There were so many beautiful frames in this movie — I cannot stress that enough.

Overall, this movie is masterfully crafted with breathtaking visuals, but the basic and uninventive story weighs it down. If you see it for nothing else but the visual effects, you won’t be let down. See it on the biggest screen possible. 

I give Ad Astra a C+.

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