By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
is having a banner year. There’s still buzz for his star turn in Quentin Tarantino’s movie “Once Upon A Time in Hollywood.”
Pitt also executive produced the critically acclaimed indie drama, “The Last Black Man in San Francisco” and his new space movie, “Ad Astra”
--which in Latin means “To The Stars”--is an absolute blast.
Although Pitt looks good on any screen, “Ad Astra” deserves to be seen in IMAX for an immersive and out of this world cinematic experience.
Director/writer James Gray whose woefully underappreciated movies, “The Lost City of Z” and “We Own the Night” and cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (“Dunkirk”) have created a stylish space odyssey.
While “Ad Astra” borrows a page or two from other space movies such as Stanley Kubrick’s“ 2001: A Space Odyssey,” Christopher Nolan’s “Interstellar,” “Alien,” and even “The Martian” to name a few, “Ad Astra” stands as a bold, daring and substantial film.
Brad Pitt plays Major Roy McBride, a revered pilot and astronaut. He’s a carbon copy of his pioneering, space legend father Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones, “Jason Bourne”).
When Roy was a teen, his father left to spearhead a deep space mission to Neptune known as the Lima Project. It was designed to search for extraterrestrial life in the universe. Clifford and his crew never returned from the expedition and were presumed dead.
Now years later, when bursts of electrical surges begin to reign down on Earth with dire results, U.S. space command center officials suspect Clifford is not only alive but may be intentionally causing these cosmic surges.
Of course, the big question is why?
Roy is ordered to suit up and blast off into space to find his father why he’s gone rogue. Roy reluctantly accepts the mission, not because he’s afraid to go, but because he’s been estranged from his father for so long.
His bosses at the SpaceCom government agency don’t care anything about his daddy issues. They simply want him to go the moon with Colonel Pruitt (the always reliable Donald Sutherland, “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2”)--his father’s old friend--then to Mars, Saturn and Neptune and bring Clifford back.
It becomes a perilous journey while traveling by rover on the moon’s surface. While stationed at a complex beneath Mars that’s supervised by Helen Lantos (Ruth Negga, TV’s “Preacher”), Roy is shown some alarming and classified information that reveals there’s more to this mission than he was led to believe. It also changes up his flight plan a bit.
Pitt shines throughout “Ad Astra,” but especially during the emotional and pensive moments of solitude when he reflects on his life with his father and even his ex-wife (Liv Tyler, TV’s “Harlots”).
Although few words are spoken, Pitt’s non-verbal performance is a fine combination of nuance and cool swagger that really makes “Ad Astra” soar.
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Check Out This Trailer For "AD ASTRA"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.