With screenplay that is ridiculous, illogical and unsatisfying, AD ASTRA is undeniably one of the most uncool space films I have ever seen
“AD ASTRA” is a self-indulgent sci-fi film. “Aren’t most of the sci-fi films self-indulgent?” you would ask and you will be right to some extent. There is always a certain snobbish gratification in sci-fi. High tech equipment of the future, bleak dystopian regimes, heroes saying super-smart things, cold atmosphere of doom and loneliness in endless space, supplemented with brilliant cinematography and eerie soundtrack. What can go wrong? Story, my friends. In AD ASTRA it’s exactly what went wrong.
Screenplay is a pure ridiculousness and mishmash of random things. Our hero is an antenna repair guy who suddenly learns that his astronaut father might be alive stuck in the orbit of Neptune after losing contact for 16 years. And he might be responsible for recent power surges that threaten our Solar system. And he might be insane and trying to destroy humanity. Because, that is the most logical explanation of things, how can it be anything else?
So, overnight our hero turns into some John Wick of astronauts, single handedly landing rockets, piloting spaceships into dark vastness of space, performing orbital changes and whatnot. Oh, and also racing with lunar pirates, fighting off space monkeys (literally) and dealing with conspiracy to keep him away from flying to Neptune. And all that for our hero to overcome daddy issues.
Because, why not?
And then everything aesthetic – cinematography, music, visuals, psychology – falls apart. Acting is limited to Brad Pitt talking to the computer trying to keep himself calm and sane. Supporting actors drop in and out without any point but just to say 2 words and move along. In terms, it is even worse than cameos in 1917.
AD ASTRA tried so much to be APOCALYPSE NOW in space but failed miserably. Instead, it is undeniably one of the most uncool space films I have ever seen, and, believe me, there are a lot of those.