Ad Astra Movie Review Report Card (Making the Grade) | Fanboys Anonymous

Ad Astra Movie Review Report Card (Making the Grade)

Posted by Anthony Mango Friday, September 20, 2019
Welcome to the latest edition of Making the Grade—a review format segment here on Fanboys Anonymous where we break down the major components of something and give it a score based on the standard report card lineup: A, B, C, D, and F for a total failure.

The next report card is for the film Ad Astra.

HD Ad Astra photos screen shots poster

Ad Astra—directed by James Gray; written by James Gray and Ethan Gross; starring Brad Pitt (Roy McBride), Liv Tyler (Eve McBride), Ruth Negga (Helen Lantos), Tommy Lee Jones (Clifford McBride), Anne McDaniels (Shunga Hologram) and Donald Sutherland (Colonel Pruitt).

WARNING - SPOILERS BELOW

STORYTELLING SUBJECTS

STORY: B+

This was simple, yet effective—a three-pronged story of someone dealing with the repressed feelings of losing his father, along with the search for life to justify our existence and the secrecy that goes along with how the government would handle these major issues.

As it isn't super complicated, this isn't something that I feel needs to be broken down and studied by every angle. If you like the sound of those themes, then you get what you're looking for.

CHARACTERS: C–

There really only is one character, who is essentially devoid of emotion. It's hard to really break down the cast that are there for just a handful of scenes. I did like the transition of Roy from entirely mute to someone who can feel again, but that isn't something I can give a B or anything to.

TONE / ATMOSPHERE: A–

ACTION: The lunar chase and other moments are tense (and I'm not a big fan of tension movies). This isn't an "action film" selling itself like a new Fast and Furious film, so this suffices.

COMEDY: There aren't really any jokes here, but it's not a comedy, so...

ROMANCE: For the most part, the "romance" of the film is an underlying soft one and not a focal point the way it normally would be in some other dramas. I think it's still very effective.

Basically, this is a drama that has a bit of mystery and philosophy intertwined, which is what I was looking for, based on the trailers.

TECHNICAL SUBJECTS

ACTING: B–

I bought it. Everyone felt like real people. There are no Oscar-guaranteed performances or anything, but rock solid performances to go around.

VISUALS (FX, MAKEUP, COSTUMES, SETS): A

Wonderful scenery that showed the vast emptiness of space and really made me uncomfortable, yet at the same time, in awe of its beauty. Equal to that, every set felt real and at no point were they on a different ship or in a room that didn't seem logical and functional.

AUDIO (MUSIC / SOUND): A–

Sound design in a space movie is all about using silence. They pulled it off super well.

EXTRA CREDIT

MARKETING / TRAILERS / POLITICS / SERIES DIRECTION / ETC:

Bonus points for the overall message. We may be alone in the universe (we may not, as only part of it was explored) but even if that's the case, it's not as if love and the human condition isn't already so wonderful that it can't be celebrated. There's something to be said about missing out on what's right in front of you while searching for more.

FINAL GRADE & ASSESSMENT

GRADE: B (Pass)

This is not at all the type of movie I will be begging to sit down and watch again, but that's because of how heavy it is. It's a one-time think piece that I'm very glad to have seen and would recommend to others, but only when they're in the mood for some existential exploration. I can't imagine someone trying to decide on a Saturday night whether they want to pop on an Avengers film, a Judd Apatow movie or Ad Astra, as it's an entirely different animal. But it was certainly good and if you're on the fence about it, check it out!

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE FILM?
LEAVE YOUR THOUGHTS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!
THIS POST WRITTEN BY: ANTHONY MANGO

Tony Mango is the founder, editor-in-chief, head writer and show host of Fanboys Anonymous as well as all other A Mango Tree branches including Smark Out Moment. He is a pundit, creative director/consultant, media manager and more. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. Extended profile here.

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