Wednesday, October 02, 2019

Ad Astra (2019)

Space is boring.  It’s mind-numbingly boring.  It’s a whole lot of nothing with a little bit of stuff thrown in here and there.  You might find something worth looking at, but you’ll probably spend most of your time with little or nothing to do.  Maybe you’ll be alone.  Maybe you’ll have someone to pass the time with.  All things considered, though, you have a lot of nothing to look forward to.  Bring a book.

I’m sorry.  Did I say space?  I meant Ad Astra.  When I saw the coming attractions, I thought that it might be some big thing about how a space mission went wrong.  The movie starts with Roy McBride.  He’s supposed to be this legend.  His pulse never goes above 80, which makes him great for dangerous work.  Unfortunately, dangerous work doesn’t lend itself to things like marriage.

One day, he’s called in to a top-secret mission about the Lima Project.  What’s so special about the Lima Project?  It was headed by H. Clifford McBride, Roy’s father.  The mission was lost in the outer reaches of space.  The military thinks that the space ship might be responsible for power surges on Earth.  It’s never explained exactly why this is.  All we know is that Roy is supposed to go to Mars so that he can send a message to his father asking what’s going on.

So, Roy goes to the moon, where he’s attacked by space pirates or something.  He makes it to where he’s supposed to be so that he can get to Mars.  Along the way, the crew of the ship has to stop for another ship in distress.  It turns out that’s a lost cause, so it’s on to Mars, where Roy sends several messages to his father.

I don’t want to go much further, on the off chance that you really want to see the movie.  I will warn you that it is boring.  (Go back and read the first paragraph with Ad Astra standing in for space.)  I spent a good chunk of the movie waiting for something to happen.  It’s one of those movies where you expect some major revelation, yet get something that’s not at all that major.  I suspect it was supposed to be a big revelation, but it wasn’t.

In fact, the only good thing that I can say is that it’s a good movie to watch in IMAX.  The visuals are great, but I think we’re past going to the movies to see pretty pictures of the planets.  I would have preferred a little more substance.  It’s almost like one of those paintings where the artist has a line and a dot.  You know it’s supposed to represent something, but what?  I think the detour to help the stranded ship was supposed to mean something.  I’m not sure if it was just there to liven things up.  Maybe make sure the audience was still awake.

In the end, the movie is like Roy’s pulse.  It never gets above a certain pace.  We might get one or two exciting scenes, but there’s no thrill because we can see it coming.  I’d tell you to see it in IMAX, but I’m not sure it would be worth the extra money.

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