Ad Astra, (To the Stars), is a space epic that often features Brad Pitt’s face. Unfortunately, he isn’t asked to smile much.
Two ongoing motifs are remarks about the exceptionally low heart rate of Pitt’s character and agency-required monologue psychological evaluations. Roy McBride’s remarks are used as a cue to the audience into his mental state. After all, there is little dialog to allow his character to be built up more naturally. No other character is important enough for that.
Central to the story is a classified “Lima” project. Despite the secrecy surrounding it, many people that McBride meets have more information for him. The project was led by Roy McBride’s missing father, the hero H. Clifford McBride, played by Tommy Lee Jones. This connection provides an evolving emotional impetus for the story.
Ad Astra has a dystopian projection of how terrestrial nations deal with the resources of space. On the moon, each nation has staked out a claim that leaves a dangerous no-mans-land between their territories. Space travel has become a commercial venture, but SpaceCom seems to consider it secondary to their secret intrigues.
Since it’s a Hollywood movie, I didn’t expect the science to be very hard or precise, so I was willing to suspend disbelief for a lot. Yet, one horribly weak plot point struck me. Landing on the near side of the moon and driving to a base on the far side is hard to defend. However, the situation gave some action to a story that is heavy on cerebral pursuits. (See the psychological evaluations.)
The story is straightforward to describe. It’s hard to say much about the story without dropping spoilers. With a few nodes of action with slower stretches between them, the story would need expansion to make a novel.
I’m glad I saw the film on IMAX so that I could feast my eyes on the beautiful set development. I really appreciated the sonic environment that the movie possesses as well.
I look out my window and see the rain falling. The street is wet and the winds are calm. Recent days have been gloomy, but today is a good day to spend with a friend.
The shadows that come each night are not so frightening that they keep me alone. I see the moon rise and a beautiful constellation expands above me. I have nothing to fear and it is good to be here today.
The ocean won’t wash me away today. I walk through the town and find new places to go. I’m glad that I am here today. I am glad that the sorrowful days have passed and I have much to look forward to.
Light comes down in a fabric of glistening pearls. Singing birds glow in its beauty and dance on the branches. A squirrel runs by and it is time for the roses to grow.
Although the sky is gray today, I know that I will see it’s colors soon. A blazing sun is fleeing the day and my time alone is near an end.
The land that surrounds me protects me and helps me rest. I will work in the morning and follow my path into tomorrow.
Original image: Each of them is fishing. By Corn Farmer [Image license]
I was in the neighborhood today. The trees were tall and proud. Some were revealing a hint of their autumn splendor. Their leaves were blazing from their original green into oranges and reds.
The trees’ discarded leaves will cover my home soon. The yard will need to be raked—I enjoy the exercise. A gas-powered blower only pulls me away from my beloved nature. I relish the fresh breeze and cold sky.
The shining moon has changed each day this week. I saw it once more tonight. Soon the sky will be full of its glowing orb. I love the moon’s light and the silver sheen that comes from its celestial desert.
The trees are harbingers of a new season. Soon the sky will turn gray and cold. I will explore the world less. Eventually the moon will rise over a new season again. I will be waiting for the crocuses to return.