Director: James Gray
Cast: Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga
Release Date: December 17, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
When a mysterious life-threatening event strikes Earth, astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) goes on a dangerous mission across an unforgiving solar system to uncover the truth about his missing father (Tommy Lee Jones) and his doomed expedition that now, 30 years later, threatens the universe.
‘Ad Astra’ accompanies astronaut Roy McBride (Pitt) in the near future who following an odd occurrence is recruited for a top secret mission across space in order to attempt contact with his father (Jones), long believed dead after a mission gone supposedly wrong thirty years prior. Desperate to discover the truth about his father as well as the true intentions of those requesting his assistance, Roy takes matters into his own hands as he makes his way through one dangerous area after another in his quest for truth; even while simultaneously afraid of just what the truth might reveal.
Directed by James Gray (The Yards, We Own the Night) from a screenplay that he additionally co-wrote with Ethan Gross (TV’s Fringe), Gray does a wonderful job at the helm of ‘Ad Astra’ carefully guiding along this heartfelt tale and its accompanying visual splendor. The film also benefits a great deal from a great cast that features a number of talented individuals and includes Brad Pitt (Once Upon A Time … in Hollywood), Tommy Lee Jones (Jason Bourne), Ruth Negga (TV’s Preacher), Liv Tyler (The Ledge) and Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games franchise) along with more, nearly all offering solid performances in each of their respective roles overall.
‘Ad Astra’ is a touching, terrifying and beautifully detailed tale occurring in a fairly plausible near future that’s carefully created and played out with a fittingly uneasy tone and plenty of tension, while always retaining a very human motive and moving aura to everything within. Following one man’s unexpected journey not only in the service of his career, but also in an attempt to complete himself by gaining answers to long lingering questions of family and the fate of those he cares for. Brad Pitt does a magnificent job in the lead and his expressions and mannerisms alone exude hope, fear and uncertainty, leading viewers to easily relate with this man and his uncertain mission and allowing us to truly care about his fate and what he may find throughout the course of his exploration. With director James Gray passionately guiding along every step with care and precision, it all forms into an impressive and engulfing journey that’s well worth taking. I would strongly encourage giving ‘Ad Astra’ a shot if the concept, trailers and/or cast have already caught your attention in the slightest. It’s a gorgeous and visually spectacular piece of filmmaking that’s almost certain to have no trouble grabbing ahold of you and pulling you and all of your emotions along for a powerful tale of one man’s quest for answers. There’s a pretty great chance that it should at least prove worthy of a couple hours of your time and the price of a rental.
Overall, ‘Ad Astra’ is a powerful, heartfelt and visually stunning tale of one astronaut’s quest for answers and clarity in the not too distant future. A moving story of one man’s journey throughout some of the most dangerous known areas in the universe as he risks his own life and struggles to find his way to the truth of his father’s fate, and perhaps even some indirect reflection on his own life and career path as a result. Beautifully guided along by director James Gray, the film also greatly benefits from a powerful and touching performance by Brad Pitt in the lead. ‘Ad Astra’ is definitely highly recommended; a gorgeous piece of filmmaking with plenty to offer both in its visual splendor and the moving story at its core.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Ad Astra’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks marvelous altogether and offers a smooth, sharp and richly detailed presentation from start to finish with no noticeable problems or issues to be uncovered throughout. It holds up beautifully even during the darkly lit, heavily populated and fast moving moments, never causing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a wonderful high definition video presentation that that looks consistently fantastic throughout and should easily please both fans and first time viewers.
The Blu-ray release features a 7.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This multichannel soundtrack delivers a crisp, clean and fairly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly takes advantage of all seven available channels in order to send music, spacecraft activity, plus bits of dialogue and more throughout the various speakers quite regularly, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that may be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a stellar 7.1 DTS-HD MA soundtrack that sounds great every step of the way and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Ad Astra’ includes a healthy collection of bonus content that fans of the film should appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director James Gray’, in addition to a couple of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie with Optional commentary by Gray. We are also treated to various Behind the Scenes Featurettes that explore the film and the process of bringing it to life, including interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘To The Stars’ (running approximately 8 minutes in length), ‘A Man Named Roy’ (running approximately 9 minutes), ‘The Crew of the Cepheus’ (approximately 9 minutes), ‘The Art of Ad Astra’ (11 minutes), and ‘Reach for the Stars’ (7 minutes). Also included are the ‘Theatrical Trailer’ (2 minutes) and ‘IMAX Trailer’ (2 minutes) for the film.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They will additionally suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.
Film Rating: 8.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
‘Ad Astra’ is Now Available to Own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD & Digital from Regency Enterprises & Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment