Author Topic: Ad Astra  (Read 107 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Ad Astra
« 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!

Teproc

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Re: Ad Astra
« Reply #1 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.
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IDrinkYourMilkshake

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Re: Ad Astra
« Reply #2 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.
« Last Edit: September 27, 2019, 12:28:59 PM by IDrinkYourMilkshake »
"What should have been an enjoyable 90 minutes of nubile, high-school flesh meeting a frenzy of blood-caked blades, becomes instead an exploitational and complex parable of the conflicting demands of agrarianism and artistry. I voted a miss."

Teproc

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Re: Ad Astra
« Reply #3 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.
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