Ad Astra

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Ad Astra

Postby Dai » Mon Oct 14, 2019 10:04 am

If you've overlooked Ad Astra, don't. It's a beautiful movie that deserves to be seen on the big screen.

In an increasingly loud and obnoxious industry, Ad Astra is a calming breath of rarefied air. It would feel more at home alongside contemplative hard SF of the 70s like Solaris and Silent Running. It felt especially close to Solaris in its exploration of broken family connections amplified through the alienating emptiness of space. There are a couple of action scenes, but this is certainly not an action movie. The family drama is front and centre, delivered in minimalist fashion, its stellar cast conveying more with a look than lesser actors could manage with 10 lines of dialogue. If you need a break from snarky superheroes, this is it.
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Re: Ad Astra

Postby canofhumdingers » Mon Oct 14, 2019 12:12 pm

I saw it shortly after release day. I though it was pretty good but it doesn’t quite rise to the level of greatness that it is trying to achieve. In that way it feels a bit pompous at times. Also, it has some GLARING scientific inaccuracies. Which stick out all the more when they try to make it so realistic in the vein of 2001. The one that bothered me the most was that they seemingly completely ignore the moon’s lower gravity (1/6 that of earth) and the effects it would have on the people there. Come to think of it, they also ignore Mars’ lower gravity. But the moon really stuck out. It just felt wrong having people walk around exactly the same way as if they were on earth.

But the movie is beautiful to look at. And the story, as you said, is quite good and engaging. I also really enjoyed the “future speculation”; i.e., what the filmmakers think the near future might be like. The political and economic situation on the moon was particularly interesting and one of my favorite bits of the whole movie (despite the inaccurate physics!).

I also actually liked the message of the movie and the contemplations that it implies.
Spoiler Below:
We, in fact, ARE alone! There is no one else out there waiting to visit or communicate with. *We* are all we’ve got and we need to treasure and respect each other for how intensely rare and unique that is/we are.
.

I don’t necessarily totally agree with the idea presented in reality, but I DO agree with the ideas and attitudes that it implies we should adopt.
Spoiler Below:
like, I don’t necessarily think we are truly alone in the universe, be it extraterrestrial or deity out there, but I DO agree with the idea that we should value each other and treat each other with the utmost kindness, respect, and love that the idea of being truly alone carries with it.
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Re: Ad Astra

Postby Dai » Mon Oct 14, 2019 3:59 pm

At the risk of sounding like an apologist, it may be less a case of inaccuracies, and instead just that the tech working in the background isn't explained. The movie doesn't pause to explain any of the tech in detail, even the device causing the surges, and minor things like the electrodes that Roy uses to stop his muscles atrophying are shown without explanation at all. It didn't really bother me, since it was a character drama first, and SF second.

It's conspicuous that the movie is exactly two hours long. To me, that suggests a studio-mandated length. It's possible that a lot of expository material was left on the cutting room floor to hit that length. The trailers seem to support that theory, since a lot of Earth-side scenes in those (especially Liv Tyler's scenes) were cut.

The only scene that left me scratching my head was:

Spoiler Below:
Attack of the space baboons! What the hell was that about?! I kept waiting for that to tie into the plot somehow, but I guess it was just a stepping stone on Roy's Heart of Darkness journey from the relative sanity of Earth to the realm of people losing control further out in space. There was a definite arc in that direction as Roy travelled further out into the solar system, with Mars having its haggard immigration officer and cobbled together relaxation rooms that seemed like a last desperate attempt to stop people losing their minds.
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