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Ad Astra (2019)

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Reggie W, Jul 31, 2018.

  1. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    I've been a fan of space/sci fi films since I was a kid, and that made the total misfire even more painful and evident.
     
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  2. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Cinematographer

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    Perhaps it's true for all genres, but good space films seem hard to pull off. I was a bit disappointed with Gravity and Intersteller and am now put off seeing Ad Astra by the mixed reviews. The only space film I've liked unreservedly over the last few years was The Martian (wonderful 4k disc).
     
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  3. Nick*Z

    Nick*Z Screenwriter

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    I'm all 'spaced out'. It just seems like sci-fi is getting old and/or tired in its premise. The 'been there/done that' ennui that's crept into a genre that was supposed to be 'cutting edge' has really weakened the core principles of truly epic sci-fi. In that category - at least for me - are films like Robert Wise's The Day the Earth Stood Still, Forbidden Planet, Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Lucas's Star Wars (the original trilogy), Ridley Scott's Alien and Blade Runner, Spielberg's E.T., Cameron's Aliens, and, Emmerich's Independence Day. There is a lot of second-tier good stuff to get through too. But I wouldn't rate either Gravity or Intersteller among these. And now, Ad Astra - another actor, on another mission wearing another space suit. Ho-hum! The beat and rocket blasters goes on.
     
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  4. Message #44 of 128 Sep 20, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2019
    benbess

    benbess Producer

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    Yeah, The Martian was really good.

    Ad Astra takes itself deadly seriously, I think in trying to be profound like 2001. This relentlessly serious tone for me eventually led to a moment of unintentional comedy, when Brad Pitt's character says something like, "What are we doing here? What is the point of all of this?"

    For a supposedly more "realistic" space movie, Ad Astra has so many cringeworthy/unrealistic/impossible things in it....

    Let's start with Donald Sutherland, who is now about 85 and looks every one of those years, blasting off for the moon. What? Tommy Lee Jones is more like 75, but looks 85. In any case, TLJ is also not a realistic age for an astronaut, esp. not for the best astronaut in history in the world of this movie.

    This is the "near future" it says in huge text at the start of the film. ??? Most of the stuff in the film will never be possible, but if possible it would take spending most of the world's gross domestic product on space exploration for a couple of hundred years to get a tenth of this stuff.

    And having a Subway on the moon base, as shown here, is not going to pay for it!

    And they've clearly spent a lot of these untold trillions of dollars on the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life? Yeah. Right. But okay, then this movie makes this folly almost the source of evil in the film. There are lots of evil things in the world, and the pathetically small search for ETs is perhaps from some people's pov silly, but it's not really evil.

    At the end Brad Pitt "surfs" a nuclear explosion from Neptune back to earth. ??? No.

    On Mars Pitt's character climb's onto a rocket that is launching, as it is launching. What?

    All the astronauts on that rocket are so stupid that they unbuckle to go and get him, and then the blast of the rocket kills them as most of them get crushed against their own ship as they fall downward. Darwin award?

    And on and on....including the attack of the killer baboons. Yeesh. And that was I guess one of the better moments of the film.
     
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  5. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    PS My guess is that when the Disney people screened this c. $100 million dollar film that they inherited, they thought to themselves, "We would not have given a green light to this screenplay."

    On the one hand, I'm worried about Disney's dominance of the film industry. On the other hand, I find most of their films from their various brands to be pretty well made.
     
  6. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    +1
     
  7. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Studio Mogul

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    Yeah, it was disappointing for the most part. Just dank and dark, rarely a glimmer of the lightness of being. Too bad.

    At least we'll still be able to eat subway subs on the moon, though....
     
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  8. Jason_V

    Jason_V Lead Actor

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    They're very hard to pull off. True science isn't sexy enough for mainstream audiences and when you start to push science to be sexy, the "that's not real" contingent sharpens their blades. It's almost a no win scenario.

    Ad Astra...visually spectacular, but really devoid of anything resembling logic and coherence. Mind you: I enjoyed the film and was never bored by it. It's only when I connect the dots the morning after seeing it, I see the flaws.

    There's an idea this is supposed to be a satire on how humanity will screw things up over and over again regardless of the planet we're on. If that's the idea for the film, it's forgotten about entirely within a half hour or so. That would be a compelling through line to follow, with Pitt's "by the book" major coming to terms with that. But it's forgotten about pretty quickly.

    There's the child abandonment story...that seems to be the driving "thing" here. But again, nothing about it makes any sense.

    Space Com takes McBride from the Earth to the Moon to Mars-spending a ton of time and money to do so-to get him to the laser communication system in the *hope* the son a man hasn't seen in decades can convince his father to hand over information...? Hell, even I didn't buy that when the plan was presented. I get it...it was always a lie in order to pinpoint the location around Neptune and send the nukes. And that's why, in the long run, McBride does what he does, I think. He knows he was lied to and he has a savior mentality. Maybe he's the deity being searched for...?

    Yeah, I don't need to see this again. It won't play at home and I think I'll just get more frustrated with every viewing.
     
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  9. Tino

    Tino Executive Producer
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    Gravity is a sci fi masterpiece in my opinion.

    Close is Interstellar.

    Loved The Martian.

    You guys have killed my desire to see this film. :(
     
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  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Every movie has its supporter and detractors. I'm in agreement with you regarding those three movies. Also, my desire to see this film has diminished too.
     
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  11. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    The more I think about it, the more I realize the movie felt like one of those conversations that stoned college kids have where they think they’re being really profound but in actuality they’re talking about how Cheetos get their orange hue or something inane like that.

    This film is clearly inspired by so much of what’s come out in serious sci-fi in recent years, and also nods to the classics, but it’s pulling different elements that never quite cohere.

    It begins a little like First Man, depicting our hero surviving a mishap in the upper atmosphere that would have killed a less capable person. Then it treads into “We have a secret mission only you can do, that we won’t fully tell you about and which doesn’t entirely make sense” - straight out of Solaris. The physics of space travel and distances between planets are discarded in much the way Gravity (a far better films) abandons physics and locations in order to allow its protagonists to take physically impossible journeys from one space station to another. Entire plot lines are set up and then disappear, or are immediately undercut or contradicted by new developments.

    There was a little seen space travel movie with Mark Strong called “Approaching the Unknown” and “Ad Astra” seems to be taking a lot of its cues from that. Again, as if a bunch of rich college students got stoned, watched that, and said, “what if we made that but with a budget?”
     
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  12. bujaki

    bujaki Producer

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    I'm hoping to see this Tuesday in IMAX laser projection in Dallas. We have one now!!! The movie received a Critic's Pick from the New York Times.
     
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  13. Jason_V

    Jason_V Lead Actor

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    This.

    I wonder if there is a longer cut somewhere that makes this version make more sense. I mean, I really have a hard time thinking all of these creative people who have done bang up, fantastic work in the past looked at the finished product and said "Yup, this all makes sense and tells a great story." We're missing something here, and the best I can come up with is some suit got freaked out over a three hour 2001-wannabe.
     
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  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    They gave it that checkbox, but the actual review content seems less positive than that mark might indicate. I get the sense that Dargis didn’t think it was good but admired the attempt. I’m less enthusiastic about her reviews vs A.O. Scott because she does something I dislike - she seems to review films on an absolute scale where certain genres and types of films are automatically inferior to others. I much prefer the Roger Ebert school of thought, which suggests that you rate a film based on how well it achieves the goals it sets out to achieve, regardless of genre or budget.
     
  15. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    It had one of the more interesting end credits rolls I’ve seen for a while, just in terms of who was credited for what. The film has two composers credited in the main title, and I think three more in the end title - lots of rejected cues it would seem. The film has multiple editors credited, suggesting that there was a scramble to salvage the work. There are multiple prominent cinematographers credited too, suggesting either reshoots or a failure of the crew to be on the same page. Who knows what the actual story is.
     
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  16. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    The comments in this thread have caused me to lower my expectations a bit. But I thought the trailer looks interesting. I'll be seeing it this weekend sort of by default as it is the only new release that interests me and I've already seen everything else I care about.
     
  17. Jeff Adkins

    Jeff Adkins Cinematographer

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    I loved it, but it's not for everyone. It felt very much like a Terrence Malick film. While it was made with a big budget and high-profile cast, it's very much an arthouse movie.

    4.75/5
     
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  18. Radioman970

    Radioman970 Lead Actor

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    I'm forgiving. I mean I just upgraded my copy of Creature with Klaus to the widescreen version a few weeks ago. Can't wait to watch it!!! lol I just love the description of this movie. sounds like me. but I will try to curb my expectations. I remember being too wound up for Alien 3. The longer cut sure fixed it but I was in the movie theater being disappointed first time.
     
  19. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Absolutely terrible.
    Poor pacing
    No payoffs
    No characters that you can either identify with or root for

    The last 20 minutes at my showing literally turned into a MST2000 showing with people shouting at the screen how dumb it was (Witness
    TLJ killing himself "In space nobody can hear you scream"
    )
     
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  20. benbess

    benbess Producer

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    lol!
     

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