Showing posts with label Brad Pitt. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brad Pitt. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Review: Ad Astra

The beautifully crafted space drama that defines the father and son relationship between Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones) and Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is essentially a story of a workaholic father who is willing to sacrifice everything in order to pursue a goal that he deems to be his life's purpose.

The computer generated imagery is beautifully sublime, letting the audience experience the void of space in all its glory, as well as the void of a father who was never really there for his son. Make no mistake, unless you own your personal movie projection room, this one is for the theater going experience and not for the personal streaming.

The common thread throughout this space odyssey are the consistent psychological evaluations, performed by an AI computer and supplemental biosensor, of the central character played by Brad Pitt. In his desire to live up to his larger-than-life father, Brad Pitt's character is so in control of his body that his beats per minute previously never exceeded 80 in all of his missions on the International Space Antenna. He is as close to a machine as he can come, always making the logical decisions instead of emotional ones. The station, a scientific collaboration between world's nations, is designed to reach out deep into space in order to make contact with intelligent extraterrestrial life.

Beyond this point, you will find movie spoilers. If you haven't seen this movie, which I highly recommend you do, you may want to take a rain-check on reading the rest of this post.

Upon suffering a fall due to a mysterious power surge, he is summoned by the Space Command representatives on earth to embark upon a top secret mission to Mars. The Space Command believes Tommy Lee Jones' character Clifford is alive, leaving his son Roy as the best hope of communicating with him. That is in essence his task, to communicate with the Neptune vessel, which was the principal vessel of the Lima project.

The Lima Project was supposed to be the pinnacle of Tommy Lee Jones character's achievement in its attempts to make contact with intelligent alien life. But the vessel was believed to be lost with all crew aboard, up until the mysterious power surges began originating from Neptune - the final stop of the Lima project,

Brad Pitt's character soon discovers that his father is not the man he believed he was. After getting a jump drive of a classified communique from his father's former co-worker (played by Donald Sutherland), he soon learns that his father's obsession with discovering alien life drove him to do the unthinkable - murder his crew members who didn't share his passion.

On Mars, Brad Pitt's character attempts several times to send a scripted communication to Mars, but to no avail. When he finally goes off script and sends an emotional plea to his father, it appears as though the Space Command operators captured a response from Tommy Lee Jones' character, but nothing is mentioned. Instead, he gets a job well done from the officers and is told that his further involvement in this mission is terminated due to his emotional connection.

He finally fails a psychological evaluation and is sent into a comfort room to regain calm and control. Through a lower ranking Space Command official (who also had parents on the Lima project vessel), he learns that the rocket he hitched a ride on to Mars is actually meant for the final destination to Neptune and carries nuclear munitions. Connecting the dots, Brad Pitt's character realizes that this was a mission to terminate the Lima Project vessel. Furthermore, with his successful transmission exchange with Tommy Lee Jones' character, he pinpointed the target for the Space Command.

Using an underground pipeline, he is able to become a stowaway on the rocket to Neptune, but in their attempt to kill Brad Pitt's character, the rest of the crew perishes. When he finally arrives at the destination coordinates at Neptune Brad Pitt's character finally makes contact with his father, only to come to a heartbreaking realization - Tommy Lee Jones' character never really cared for his son or his wife. Clifford McBride's only purpose in life was to discover new corners of the universe and to ultimately discover intelligent alien life.

Nevertheless Roy McBride still tries to save his father, after planting nuclear bomb on the Lima space vessel. At this point, Clifford forces Roy to let go of him, as he'd rather die in space. Begrudgingly obliging him, Roy returns to his ship and sets a course back to earth - using nuclear detonation as his propellant.

The final psychological evaluation Roy goes through, shows him in touch with his emotional side. Willing to love and be loved, letting go of the void left by his father who was never there to begin with.

The movie is a wonderfully crafted tale that I give 4.5 out of 5 stars. I highly recommend this movie to anyone that loves space movies and strained father-child relationship flicks. Dating back to a movie a few years earlier, I would say if you loved "Interstellar", you will love "Ad Astra".

Until next time, grab your popcorn, milk duds, turn off the phone, and enjoy the movie. 

Follow by Email