Ad Astra: A Miracle in Visual Storytelling


Gage Landauer, Editor, Staff

In the near future depicted in Ad Astra, space travel is commonplace. Roy Mcbride (Brad Pitt) is considered the calmest astronaut whose BBM has never gone above 80. Earth has been hit with an energy surge that has killed thousands of people. The source of this energy surge is a device orbiting Neptune, the last known place of a mission called the lima project. The captain of this mission was Roy’s father, H. Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), his purpose was to search for intelligent alien life. Roy believed his father was dead and now has to cope with the fact his father may not only be alive but behind the attack. Roy is sent to mars to send a message to his father with the hope that a message from his son would provoke a traceable response. Brad Pitt does an amazing job playing a fairly stoic character and can display emotion through subtle methods. Tommy Lee Jones does a good job playing a man with a prophet complex, he believes he is superior to all and is inherently right in his pursuit for intelligent alien life.

This film is visually stunning. It has some of the best special effects I have seen in a sci-fi movie. It is very colorful, fully embracing the palette of each location. Black and white on the moon, orange, and red on mars, and then a somber blue at Neptune. The movie is visually stunning and scientifically accurate with its depictions and that can be attributed to cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema who worked on Interstellar. This movie also feels a lot like 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s like 2001 if you removed the supernatural elements and replaced them with religious metaphors. The main character is literally searching for his creator and hoping to get answers.

Ad Astra tells an interesting story and is visually engaging. You can see a lot of similarities between Interstellar and 2001: A Space Odyssey but only represents the best of both of those movies. The story feels very grounded and relatable for such an epic sci-fi movie. I recommend this movie and give it an A.