AD ASTRA Review — We Get It, It’s Lonely Out in Space

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Ad Astra review — the tedium of space travel tests the bravest of astronauts, and audiences as well.

Ad Astra reviewThe trouble with Ad Astra is that it reflects what’s likely a depressingly accurate depiction of what we can expect space travel to be like for the next couple hundred years: boring.

Brad Pitt plays the adult son of the world’s most renown astronaut, played by Tommy Lee Jones. An accomplished flier and military man himself, he’s chosen to fly from Earth to look into a series of planet-threatening electrical pulses that seem to be coming from Neptune, where Dad happens to have taken up a peculiar residence that persistently kills his crew members over time.

That flight’s a bit of a trek, and Earth’s counting on the son to root out the problem that the father himself my be causing. Whoever wrote “Getting there is half the fun” likely didn’t consider the sober reality of barreling through space in a, well, barrel for a year or two at a time and clambering out in one mental piece.

It’s intriguing, this idea of traveling to the outermost planets of our solar system. But hard to interestingly depict, unless you figure out ways to add some of the same inconvenient problems we deal with here at home; criminals, bad behavior, malfunctions, monsters…

Director James Gray (Hitchcock/Truffaut, The Lost City of Z) was able to gamely add a few of those elements. However makeshift, there are some pretty exciting encounters.

But not enough. The reality of our foreseeable future is that a ten-month slog through space is going to be a killer, as thrilling as the prospect of arrival on a distant planet may be. Just how many Parcheesi games are you going to put up with before something snaps?

Like Pitt’s character, you’ve just gotta have the constitution to live through this kind of endurance test. I’m not sure how many film goers will.

Rated PG-13

2 Hours 4 Minutes

If, after reading this Ad Astra review, you’re ready to rocket out and see it, get times and tickets at

Ad Astra review — the tedium of space travel tests the bravest of astronauts, and audiences as well.

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James Mandell

James Mandell

James Mandell, also known as the world’s only Retro Sci-Fi Futurist, is a rockstar performer/writer/producer/composer. Find him on Cereal Atomic.


  1. Avatar on September 21, 2019 at 2:41 pm

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  2. […] hearing that Lucy in the Sky is loosely based on the real life story of Lisa Nowak, a NASA astronaut who fulfilled a mission on the Space Shuttle Discovery, then came back down to earth and landed in […]

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