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Ad Astra Blu-ray Review

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“Ad Astra” seems unsure of itself.

Directed and co-written by James Gray, “Ad Astra” is an original sci-fi film that revolves around a U.S. Space Command Major (Roy McBride). Roy is the son of a world famous astronaut (H. Clifford McBride) who has been missing for 16 years after working on a project dubbed The Lima Project.. Now, 26 years after the project was created, it seems The Lima Project is actually causing life threatening issues across the galaxy. Roy embarks on a mission across space to terminate the project and potentially find his father at the same time.

While it deserves points for originality, “Ad Astra” is a mixed bag. The Ethan Gross and James Gray script seems unsure of what it wants to be. Is this a heady “2001: A Space Odyssey” esque sci-fi film or is this an epic visual spectacle about a father and son? It tries to be both and therein lies the problem. A good portion of the story is a “First Man” esque introspective space exploration adventure (only not based on real events obviously), but scattered about are absurd action sequences involving a fall to Earth, an asteroid ride, moon pirates, animals, etc. Ultimately, these action sequences feel a bit out of place and don’t jive with the rest of the story being told. They feel like tacked on sequences or studio notes to liven the movie up.

Another issue with the script is with the storytelling itself. Between the voice over narration (which spells everything out), the leaps in logic (see the aforementioned action scenes), forced plot points (the Ruth Negga character), and some truly odd moments (the lack of security everywhere and the Cepheus hijack), “Ad Astra” is nothing if not clumsy. Sure, it’s well paced, visually stunning, atmospheric and engaging from start to finish, but that can only carry you so far. The movie needed something more nuanced, logical, and subtle than what we got.

In terms of the cast, this is the Brad Pitt show. The actor has had himself quite a year between this and his award worthy turn in “Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood.” Truth be told, he really carries the movie and gives a quiet, layered performance as Roy.

Video/Audio:

Presentation: 2.39:1 1080p. How does it look? From the moon dust to the shuttle interior, this is a dazzling transfer.

Audio Track: 7.1 DTS-HD MA. How does it sound? The score, sound FX, and dialogue sound great.

Extras:

* Digital copy

* Fox trailers and the theatrical and IMAX trailers for “Ad Astra.”

* 2 deleted scenes with optional commentary by James Gray

* “To The Stars”- A featurette about how the story and characters.

* “A Man Named Roy”- The cast and crew talk about Brad Pitt while Pitt talks about his character.

* “The Crew Of The Cepheus”- An extra about the cast members talking about their Cepheus crew member characters.

* “The Art Of Ad Astra”- The production design is the focus of this extra

* “Reach For The Stars”- Some of the science and technical aspects of “Ad Astra” are covered here.

* A thoughtful solo commentary by director and co-writer James Gray

December 17, 2019 - Posted by | Blu-Ray review | , , ,

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