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Filmspotting Message Boards => Movie Talk (Spoiler Edition) => Topic started by: Sam the Cinema Snob on September 20, 2019, 04:45:59 PM

Title: Ad Astra
Post by: Sam the Cinema Snob on September 20, 2019, 04:45:59 PM
I wanted to open a spoiler thread to talk a bit about this film because I think its conclusion is super interesting.

Faced with the fact that there is no alien life out there, Clifford despairs about them being alone in the universe while Roy says something along the lines of "Now we know we are with God," suggesting that perhaps the scale of the cosmos is not so much about some deep discovery about life elsewhere, but more of a theological demonstration of a God who crafts entire worlds, each beautiful and unique.

I honestly wasn't expecting the film to go this route and found it pleasantly surprising. I want more theology in my sci-fi!
Title: Re: Ad Astra
Post by: Teproc on September 20, 2019, 05:50:00 PM
I found the theological aspects of the film to be superficial at best, but I suspect this is mostly a case of me not connecting with Brad Pitt's performance and Gray's stylistic choices (the Malickian voiceover in particular) and the sledgehammer style of writing, especially in the first 20 minutes. It saddens me a bit because this is the kind of film that I should love, and I certainly recognize the ambition and the visual acumen of its director, but in the end it felt like the form and the content never quite matched up for me.
Title: Re: Ad Astra
Post by: IDrinkYourMilkshake on September 27, 2019, 12:26:25 PM
I didn't like Pitt's performance either. Pitt's a charismatic actor, and I didn't feel he was able to capture the quiet, emotionally stunted nature of his character in the same way that, say, Ryan Gosling did in First Man. Redlettermedia, in their review for Phantom Menace, made this exact point about Sam Jackson in his role as Mace Windu(I think?). Sam Jackson isn't a stoic Jedi, he's a charismatic badass! Pitt isn't necessarily a badass (though he can be), but I thought it was a mistake casting him.

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't Harvey Keitel initially intended for the role of Willard in Apocalypse Now? And then Coppola went for Martin Sheen because he had a natural reserve where Keitel has a kinetic energy? Factually incorrect or not, this is how I felt about Pitt in Ad Astra. I just couldn't take to him at all.

Nor could I take to the VO, which felt too self-consciously philosophical. Tommy Lee Jones was great, though, when he eventually turned up. Some of the close ups on his face said more than any of the VO.
Title: Re: Ad Astra
Post by: Teproc on September 27, 2019, 02:43:05 PM
I didn't like Pitt's performance either. Pitt's a charismatic actor, and I didn't feel he was able to capture the quiet, emotionally stunted nature of his character in the same way that, say, Ryan Gosling did in First Man. Redlettermedia, in their review for Phantom Menace, made this exact point about Sam Jackson in his role as Mace Windu(I think?). Sam Jackson isn't a stoic Jedi, he's a charismatic badass! Pitt isn't necessarily a badass (though he can be), but I thought it was a mistake casting him.

That's a very interesting comparison. I definitely see the similarities, though I think both Samuel L. Jackson and Brad Pitt are capable of reigning that natural charisma in, given the right direction.
Title: Re: Ad Astra
Post by: jdc on January 06, 2020, 06:49:12 AM
I wanted to open a spoiler thread to talk a bit about this film because I think its conclusion is super interesting.

Faced with the fact that there is no alien life out there, Clifford despairs about them being alone in the universe while Roy says something along the lines of "Now we know we are with God," suggesting that perhaps the scale of the cosmos is not so much about some deep discovery about life elsewhere, but more of a theological demonstration of a God who crafts entire worlds, each beautiful and unique.

I honestly wasn't expecting the film to go this route and found it pleasantly surprising. I want more theology in my sci-fi!

I was on board until that line.. now not quite certain.  Maybe I am simple to think that it is likely that there is other intelligent life is out there but the pure limits of the physical world is going to make it unlikely we ever discover it in the narrow time we are living today. 

I am not sure Clifford should despair about being alone in the universe as much as  he should disappear that he waisted his entire life and relationships with those that matter in a pursuit that he never satisfied.

Maybe the line if trying to comfort more than trying to make a statement is probably what leaves me undecided in the end. 






Title: Re: Ad Astra
Post by: Teproc on January 06, 2020, 09:29:47 AM
Yes, deducing that we are alone in the universe from our inability to detect signs of alien life is... strange, for someone with actual scientific knowledge about the subject. Going to Neptune does not change the parameters of Fermi's Paradox.