Sunday, August 04, 2019

Astronaut (2019)

Going into space is not a cheap or easy endeavor.  It costs a lot of money just to get someone out of Earth’s gravity well.  Add to that the fact that it takes three days to get to the moon and another three days back.  (I realized once that the Apollo astronauts easily had the worst commute ever.)  Space travel has, so far, been the domain of governments.  We’re at a point now where a select few are rich enough to consider putting people into space.

In Astronaut, a billionaire by the name of Marcus has designed and nearly built a ship that could take people into space.  He’s even holding a contest to allow one lucky winner to come along.  Angus wants to be that one.  The only thing holding him back is that he’s in his late 70s and not in very good health.  That doesn’t stop him from trying.  His daughter and son-in-law have even put him in an assisted-living facility.  Angus enters the contest anyway, saying that he’s 65.  (Grandson Barney knows someone who can get him a fake ID.) 

If this were real life, Jim and Molly would have nothing to worry about.  Angus would have the nursing home and Barney to cheer him on, but the sheer number of entries would prevent Angus from actually becoming one of the 12 candidates for that seat.  This isn’t real life, though.  Angus is given the opportunity to present his case to become an astronaut.

The opportunity isn’t without setbacks, though.  He does have a medical issue while being interviewed.  He also notices an issue with the runway.  It just so happens that he’s an expert, but no one will listen.  After all, he’s just some crazy old guy who wants to go into space.  (So, here’s someone that wants to get onto a ship that may be too heavy for the ground it’s supposed to take off from.)

It’s not a very complicated movie.  The script is at the TV-movie level, and I wouldn’t even say cable TV.  This would be somewhere just above network television.  Angus isn’t overloaded with problems, but he has enough that you know he’s not going into space.  (He has two or three medical episodes during the course of the movie.)  He’s also saddled with debt from when his recently deceased wife bought a donkey farm, complete with donkeys.

So, there are really only two things going on.  Angus wants to go to space, which has one set of issues, and Angus wants to save the mission, which has a few issues of its own.  There aren’t many distractions, other than Jim being suspended from work for doing something stupid.

I wouldn’t say that the movie is depressing, but I could see where someone could make the argument.  No one likes being told that they’re too old.  Being sent to the Sundown Valley Manor probably doesn’t help matters.  The name is just depressing enough that you feel for anyone living there.  I suppose this is all the more reason for him to go.  He’s at a point where the alternative isn’t too appealing.

I can’t quite bring myself to recommend seeing the movie in theaters.  It’s good, but not good enough that I would spend $35 to take a few people with me.  For those wondering, I have AMC A-List.  I would have probably skipped this movie if not for that fact.

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