Ad Astra is a science fiction adventure produced, co-written, and directed by James Gray. The Movie follows an astronaut who goes into space in search of his lost father, whose experiment threatens the Solar System. The trailers for Ad Astra indicated the film as a possible Oscar contender, which piqued my interest so I went to see the movie. I do not agree that Ad Astra is Oscar-worthy.
In the near future, Earth’s solar system is being struck by a series of mysterious power surges, threatening human life. After surviving an incident caused by a surge, Major Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), son of famed astronaut H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), is informed by U.S. Space Command (SpaceCom) that the surges have been traced to the “Lima Project” – created to search the farthest Solar System for intelligent life, under Clifford’s leadership – from whom nothing has been heard for sixteen years after reaching Neptune. Informed that Clifford may still be alive, Roy accepts a mission to travel to Mars to try to establish communication with him, joined by his father’s old associate Colonel Pruitt (Donald Sutherland).
**** SOME SPOILERS BELOW ****
Once on the moon, Roy transfers to the ship, Cepheus, that takes him to Mars. The ship receives a distress signal from a Norwegian biomedical research space station that seems abandoned, but a baboon test subject escaped, killing the captain of the Cepheus before being neutralized by Roy. Another baboon attacks, but Roy locks it in a module and depressurizes the chamber, killing it instantly. The Cepheus lands on Mars as a surge hits, forcing manual intervention. The interim captain is too afraid to fly, leaving Roy to land the ship. Upon landing, Roy is taken to the underground SpaceCom base where he meets facility director Helen Lantos (Ruth Negga) and is tasked with recording voice messages to send to the Lima Project, in hopes Clifford will respond. During a recording, Roy goes off-script with an emotional appeal to his father and is abruptly taken off the mission, presuming a response has been heard and his personal connection poses a risk to himself and the mission’s success.
Kept in a “comfort room”, awaiting expedition back to Earth, Roy is visited by Helen, who reveals she was born on Mars and the daughter of Lima Project crew-members. She shows Roy classified footage revealing that Clifford’s crew mutinied by trying to return to Earth, leading him to turn off their life-support systems and that her parents were among the crew killed. She tells Roy that the crew that brought him to Mars are leaving to destroy the Lima Project base with a nuclear payload. The two decide that Roy should confront Clifford himself, and Helen sneaks Roy to an underground lake beneath the rocket launch site. From this point, Ad Astra gets somewhat interesting. I’m stopping here as not to spoil any more of the movie.
Ad Astra made me feel tired and a little bored. It is as though the movie was filmed in slow motion. The trailer wasn’t very clear about the film’s plot but deemed Ad Astra as one of this year’s best. While I love Brad Pitt, I didn’t love Ad Astra. It was too slow and too stretched out. The movie showed an old concept from a different perspective. Son follows in dad’s footsteps with a huge twist. There’s no relationship between them, plus a 16-year gap as dad was presumed dead after being trapped on Neptune during a failed mission. New evidence indicated life combined with a mental challenge, dad lives. Interesting but not a lot of substance causing technical fill-ins that make great special effects but little interest or excitement. Well done but boring with a predictable outcome. Considered a box office underperformer, Ad Astra has only grossed $111M to date. Skip this one or see it on DVD/Blu-ray. If Brad holds that special place in your heart and you just have to see Ad Astra, do Check It Out!
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged Adjutant General Amelia Vogel, Bobby Nish, brad pitt, Captain Lawrence Tanner, Chip Garnes, Colonel Pruitt, Donald Stanford, donald sutherland, Donnie Keshawarz, Eve McBride, Franklin Yoshida, General Rivas, General Stroud, Greg Bryk, H. Clifford McBride, Helen Lantos, Jamie Kennedy, John Finn, john ortiz, kimberly elise, LisaGay Hamilton, Liv Tyler, loren dean, Lorraine Deavers, Major Roy McBride, Natasha Lyonne, Peter Bello, ruth negga, Tanya Pincus, tommy lee jones
I was a little disappointed in the final Hunger Games. Aside from feeling somewhat loss, I just didn’t like the way Mockingjay – Part 2 ended. There was an emptiness I felt wasn’t filled. I don’t want to reveal any spoilers, after all, we’ve survived through more than 6 hours of President Snows’ (Donald Sutherland) relentless, barbaric treatment of pain and torture to the haves and have nots to get here. Two things remained consistent throughout the entire Hunger Games series, lots of death and the bravery of Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence). I found some deaths to be senseless and others to be a welcoming feeling of healing and hope. This last installment of The Mockingjay deals with making decisions that would finalize their future, getting rid of the right people, which would deal with serious trust and sacrifice issues and the process of healing then moving on.
As usual, the acting was excellent, the effort put forward by those fighting the good fight was spot-on and the lessons learned prepared them for more than they ever through possible. Too many really horrible, traumatizing things happened, making recovery for most, nearly impossible. For me, a lot of what went on in this final installment was over the top. It took the enjoyment out of whatever good had been accomplished. I almost feel as thought I would have rather skipped the whole series because the bad weighs too heavily on my mind. I realize there are those of you who may not feel as I do, since this is only my opinion. I watched with anticipation and loved many of the scenes. Bottom line, you’ll have to judge for yourself. Does the end justify the means? Check it out. I welcome your comments, as I’d love to hear your opinion about this.
Since 2012, I get a real birthday treat because a version of The Hunger Games is released. This year, The Mockingjay debuted and I, along with millions of other fans anticipated it’s arrival. I was not disappointed. The Hunger games, all versions, are so fantastic I’d hate to see them end. We started off with the world divided into districts and governed by the evil President Snow, played by Donald Sutherland. 2 kids from each district are forced to enter a competition called the Hunger Games. It’s a fight to the finish. Only one survivor is allowed so 25 children must die each year. After 2 years, District 12 winners have caused controversy, thus shutting down the games. Many VIP followers like Woody Harrelson, who plays Haymitch Abernathy and Phillip Seymore Hoffman, who plays Plutarch Heavensbee have fallen off the President Snow bandwagon and joined the rebellion against The Capital. Julianne Moore plays President Alma Coin, who leads the districts and the rebellion. Jennifer Lawrence who plays Katniss Everdeen, is the Mockingjay that heads the rebellion and gives hope and light at the end of the tunnel for the poor and the oppressed population that remain in the districts that haven’t been attacked or destroyed. Oops, that was sort of a spoiler. At any rate, this Hunger Games is one of the best and I for one, really liked it. I can’t wait for part 2. BTW: Lenny Kravitz who plays Cinna is not in this last one, boo ho. However, Josh Hutcherson, who plays Petta Mellark and the gorgeous Liam Hemsworth, who plays Gale Hawthorne continue to be Katniss’ love interest. May the best man win. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Pt 1 is worth all your attention and most certainly, the cost of a movie ticket.
Posted in DVD MOVIE REVIEWS
Tagged districts, donald sutherland, haymitch abernathy, jennifer lawrence, josh hutcherson, julianne moore, katniss everdeen, liam hemsworth, petta mellark, phillip seamore hoffman, plutarch heavensbee, president alma coin, president snow, rebellion, the hunger games: mockingjay pt 1, woody harrelson