Tino

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Somewhere I read that the movie had a production cost of about $100 million, which probably means it needs to gross more than $300 million to break even. Right now it's uncertain if it'll get there....
It won’t.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Right, when I left the theater, I felt the film wasn't a downer at all.
I think how much of a downer the ending feels depends on your feelings about space exploration.

On the one hand, Pitt’s character is disconnected from human contact throughout the film. His realization that he wants to be with people is the conclusion of his character arc, and it’s a positive development for him to embrace his humanity. In that sense, the ending can be seen as uplifting.

But on the other hand, the ending is very pessimistic regarding space exploration. Pitt finds that his father has definitely established that humankind is alone in the universe. That’s a pessimistic postulation. Pitt further comes to the conclusion that man does not belong in the stars. That’s a very depressing conclusion if you’re a viewer who believes space is worth exploring. The movie’s ending seems to suggest, “There’s nothing out there and there’s no point in even looking.”

I’m not a genius rocket scientist, only an enthusiast. But beyond mankind’s innate desire to explore, which i think is worthy in and of itself, our population has been expanding at an exponential rate that our own planet will not be able to support one day. Ultimately if our species continues to grow at this rate, we will need more room. I’m not saying that’s happening tomorrow, but it’s not a completely bonkers thought. In the film’s world, resources on earth have been all but exhausted, leading to mining colonies on the moon and Mars. So the ending doesn’t necessarily make sense in the context of the film. Maybe humankind is alone in the universe, but that doesn’t negate the overpopulation and shortage of resources depicted in the film. The film says one of the reasons Pitt’s father hopes to make contact with intelligent life is to find out how other species handled and transcended these problems. So even if we accept that there was a way for Pitt’s father to prove there is no intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, that knowledge doesn’t solve the problems that inspired them to want to find intelligent life in the first place. So, ok, there are no aliens. Pitt discovers that he needs human contact. That still doesn’t address any of the major problems that humankind is facing in the film. And in that context, the ending can be seen as less than uplifting.
 

Robert Crawford

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Josh,

It's just a movie and has no bearing on space exploration so I don't understand it being a downer considering that topic of discussion. Furthermore, Pitt's character's sudden
enlightenment has no bearing on future space exploration in that film. He's just one astronaut, granted one that traveled farther than anybody else, but I seriously doubt his personal opinion is going to change what's going to happen in the future regarding space travel.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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I think it’s a downer in the sense that if you love space, the movie’s conclusion is “we shouldn’t go to space” so that’s a downer message. To be clear, I don’t think the movie will have any impact on real world exploration decisions.

I do believe Pitt’s character will have an impact on future space travel in the world of the film. He’s returning after visiting his father’s ship and returning with his father’s research, which in the film proves that there is no intelligent life elsewhere in the universe. Furthermore, his father’s ship had technology which nearly destroyed the entire solar system. It doesn’t seem that far fetched to me that when your best astronaut returns home from cleaning up after a mission that nearly destroyed all civilization, and said astronaut says he has scientific proof that there’s nothing out there, that such a statement would have a profound impact on future missions and plans.
 

Robert Crawford

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With that said, I'm bowing out of this thread as the opinions expressed in this film have been fully noted and though, I respect the contrary POV, I just don't agree with it. Furthermore, I see no need in pushing my POV.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Robert, I hope you don’t go too far as I appreciate having your point of view to consider when thinking about the film.

I hope this doesn’t sound like beating a dead horse, but even though I didn’t have the experience I hoped for, I find myself thinking about the movie enough. It’s odd to both have not enjoyed a movie and to still feel compelled to suggest that it’s worth seeing, but this is one of those rare films.
 

JoeStemme

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I get what Director James Gray is going for, but, the combination of Brad Pitt's sullen narration (if a good overall performance) and a poorly thought out screenplay keeps it from reaching it's goals. Good Production Design and effects.
When I say Bad Science, I mean REALLY Bad Science. The most glaring example is that the film depicts radio transmissions between distant planets like they are phone calls! Mere seconds insteads of the hours they would take.
 
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Mike Frezon

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I just watched this film for the first time today.

I really enjoyed it and thought Pitt really carried the day. His demeanor and motivations were fascinating to me. And I thought he really did a terrific job with a difficult character.

I found it quite enjoyable and felt the two hours flew by.

I questioned a good deal of the science as certain things played out in the movie...but since the world of the film seemed different enough from our real world (no Nasa, etc.) that I just rolled with it as real science fiction.
 

Walter Kittel

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I saw Ad Astra for the first time the weekend it premiered on HBO here in the U.S. Been meaning to find the thread, but Mike saved me the work (thanks! :) ) and reminded to post a little bit about the film.

It was very much a mixed bag for me and frankly I was surprised to see such a high Metascore rating (80) on Metacritic. I really enjoyed Brad Pitt's performance and enjoyed the introspective aspects (the Malicky bits) of the film. I thought most of action elements were poorly staged and belonged in an entirely different film. I guess I'll spoiler this, even though the film has been out...

The killer monkeys in space was like something out of a film one would see on MST3K. I was laughing at the absurdity. I suppose it could happen, but it felt completely 100% ridiculous to me. Just completely took me out of the film.

I also thought that the timing of some of the events was entirely too convenient. That to me is a sign of poor writing when plot elements particularly involving time stack up neatly. I understand that the filmmakers had to get McBride to Neptune space and the plot required him to confront his father with no companions, but the way that story element unfolded really felt forced and simply was not realistic to me.

Liked the acting, and the FX were what one would expect in today's production environment, the science was pretty weak, the plot felt forced at times, and the action sequences mostly belonged in another film. 2.5 stars out of 4 for me.

- Walter.
 

Jake Lipson

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I really enjoyed it and thought Pitt really carried the day. His demeanor and motivations were fascinating to me. And I thought he really did a terrific job with a difficult character.
I agree. He was tremendous. I think he should have been Oscar nominated for this role, although since he won Supporting for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, at least they still acknowledged him this year. He was so central to this thing, and gave such a nuanced performance, that I don't think the film would have worked nearly as well with another actor.

I loved the film and watched it twice in a movie theater.
Movie theaters? What are those? It's been so long since I've been to one that I barely remember them. ;)

But seriously though, this is absolutely a film that benefited enormously from being seen on the big screen. It's one of those times I made sure to go in the Cinemark XD premium format, with the largest screen and best sound system in the building, and I really felt like this film took full advantage of that. It's.a shame more people didn't discover it in the theatrical setting. At least hopefully they'll find it now at home, but even though the disc is good it won't be the same experience.
 

JohnRice

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I saw Ad Astra for the first time the weekend it premiered on HBO here in the U.S. Been meaning to find the thread, but Mike saved me the work (thanks! :) ) and reminded to post a little bit about the film.

It was very much a mixed bag for me and frankly I was surprised to see such a high Metascore rating (80) on Metacritic. I really enjoyed Brad Pitt's performance and enjoyed the introspective aspects (the Malicky bits) of the film. I thought most of action elements were poorly staged and belonged in an entirely different film. I guess I'll spoiler this, even though the film has been out...

The killer monkeys in space was like something out of a film one would see on MST3K. I was laughing at the absurdity. I suppose it could happen, but it felt completely 100% ridiculous to me. Just completely took me out of the film.

I also thought that the timing of some of the events was entirely too convenient. That to me is a sign of poor writing when plot elements particularly involving time stack up neatly. I understand that the filmmakers had to get McBride to Neptune space and the plot required him to confront his father with no companions, but the way that story element unfolded really felt forced and simply was not realistic to me.

Liked the acting, and the FX were what one would expect in today's production environment, the science was pretty weak, the plot felt forced at times, and the action sequences mostly belonged in another film. 2.5 stars out of 4 for me.

- Walter.
I'm pretty much with you on this Walter. I started off so impressed with how the story was progressing. I was engrossed with how commercial space travel seemed to be presented in a viable way, then eventually, all I could see was the mechanics of the story straining to get the movie where it needed to go.
 
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