Deep Meaning in Deep Space
Title: Ad Astra (To the Stars)
Director: James Gray (The Lost City of Z, We Own the Night)
Writers: James Gray, Ethan Gross
Company: Twentieth Century Fox, Plan B
Stars: Brad Pitt, Donald Sutherland, Tommy Lee Jones
(Very Mild Spoilers Below)
Brad Pitt portrays Roy McBride, an astronaut on a mission to uncover the mystery of his father’s lost mission to the outer reaches of the solar system years earlier. Power surges emanating from the region are wreaking havoc on the inner planets and the stakes are enormous. As McBride’s mission continues, the body count rises, and he must surmount incredible odds to survive and expose a painful hidden truth. Included in the story are electrifying scenes unlike anything I’ve watched before, including: adventure on a massive space antenna, a moon base, a moon buggy shootout (!!!), a rescue mission in deep space, a glimpse of a Martian base, a swim through an underground Martian lake (!!!), and a climax in orbit around Neptune.
Ad Astra is a beautiful film featuring powerful performances and a deeply meaningful message about obsession and the search for extra-terrestrial life. The themes of life, death, family, and obsession resonate with tremendous force. Pitt brings a powerhouse performance to what is essentially an art film in the same genre as last year’s First Man.
At times Ad Astra dragged, but McBride’s emotional journey carried the film and the overall message of emotion over obsession powered the film to its inevitable conclusion. The effects are a marvel to look at; this is an epic ride through the solar system, but more important is McBride’s captivating character arc. Beware: this is not exactly a feel-good “popcorn” film, but it is a visceral and heart-stopping adventure though the solar system.
The voyage within is just as important as the voyage without.
Ad Astra is a powerful movie, and I loved every minute of it.
TSJ’s Review: 8.5/10
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Winner of the 2018 GLOBAL THRILLER Award for Action/Adventure, Finalist in the 2018 Silver Falchion Awards, Semi-Finalist for the 2018 CLUE Award, & Shortlisted for the 2019 CYGNUS Awards
Praise for THE WAR BENEATH
“One very riveting, intelligent read!” — Readers’ Favorite
“If you like novels like The Hunt for Red October and Red Storm Rising,
you will certainly enjoy The War Beneath.” — A Thrill A Week
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“… an engaging world that is highly believable …” — The Future Fire
“… a thrill ride from beginning to end …” — SF Crowsnest
“… if you like Clancy and le Carré with a hint of Forsyth thrown in,
you’ll love The War Beneath.” — Colonel Jonathan P. Brazee (RET),
2017 Nebula Award & 2018 Dragon Award Finalist
“Fast-paced, good old-fashioned Cold War espionage … a great escape!” — The Minerva Reader