Someone once said that space is the final frontier and while it may be that for some, for me it always a setting for one hell of a movie. For as long as can remember I have orbited around films that use space as its backdrop. There is just something about the void and silence of it all that draws me in. It could also be the drama of being so far from where we came from that the further we go the further away we can get from who we are. But if I’m being honest, it’s really all of the above that does it for me. I grew up in a time where being an astronaut was a high honor but not all of us love the education required to attain it, so the next best thing is watching movies about them.
You know who did what it took to become one? Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), and not only did he become one, but he became the best there is. McBride is your hero-type astronaut and it is because of that he is asked to carry out a very important mission, one that could save all of life on earth. You might ask, is there any other kind of space mission? Which I would say when it comes to these movies, not really. Roy accepts the mission, which will take him to the moon, where people are fighting for it, then to Mars, and finally to Uranus, where he will find his true mission. There is one small detail, he is out to find his father, Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), a man Roy has believed to have been dead for most of his life. Along the way, Roy runs into some obstacles, but does eventually reach the ship that his father was on so long ago. Once there, choices have to be made as the fate of the world lies in Roy’s hands.
It seems if you want to make a movie about space these days you have to have a few things that are starting to feel like standard equipment. For one it seems while most people like the company of others, astronauts prefer to go at it alone, or at least that is what these movies lead you to believe. The other thing is, from what I can tell, there are a lot of sad astronauts out there, it seems no one can really hear you scream in space or in the case of these new movies, no one can hear you weep.
Ad Astra has both of those things in it, but it also has Brad Pitt as the focal point, who gives one of his best performances and proves that we all can get better with age. Ethan Gross and James Grey, the later also directing tell one of those stories that just sticks with you long after it is over. Pitt though drives the story and I don’t think this would be the same movie without him. Movies like Ad Astra are made to make you contemplate the meaning of life vs. just living and all that that entails, but still finds a way to entertain you. I certainly enjoyed this film as it took me on this philosophical exploration of the mind thorough its journey through space. This is a film with a beautiful soul and is the perfect kickoff for the upcoming award season.