AD ASTRA REVIEW (2019) – AN EPIC AND EMOTIONAL CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE IN A SPACE EXPLORATION SETTING

Outer space with all its mysteries will never end to discuss. The depth and breadth of this universe is the reason why many people are competing to create new narratives about the various possibilities that occur between the earth, the universe and humans as the center of all its conflicts.

At least that is what the director and writer, James Gray ( The Lost City of Z , We Own the Night ), wants to convey in providing a visualization of what has been his vision of outer space so far.

Ad Astra, which is Latin for “towards the stars” and is commonly referred to in the phrase Per Aspera Ad Astra, which means to the stars with difficulty, seems to explain a little bit about how the story of this film will be. Although the meaning of the title itself is then immersed in various philosophies of life that are embedded in the main character.

Exploration of outer space is so easy and free in the end James Gray intended to be understood as an immediate fact, not fantasy. Including how James Gray then gave a picture of human colonies on the moon that are not much different from their daily lives on earth. Namely, remain greedy for resources and self-centered, of course.

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However, the vastness of outer space and its great variety of mysteries that continue to ‘haunt’ our minds, then become a kind of metaphor through the figure of an astronaut who is arguably on his spiritual journey, who is also looking for answers to his biggest mystery so far.

He is Roy McBride (Brad Pitt), son of legendary astronaut Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones), who later becomes a central figure in this film. In a timeline not far in the future, where a trip to the moon seems as common as public aviation, Roy is then assigned by the SpaceCom organization to find his father who disappeared on a mission to The Lima Project around Planet Neptune decades ago.

The jolt of energy that often occurs and it is feared that it will be able to destroy the earth is then believed by SpaceCom to emerge from Project Five . Roy was then flown to Mars via the Moon on a secret mission. Where this is intended so that Roy can contact his father and find his whereabouts.

A message from his father’s childhood colleague, Thomas Pruitt (Donald Sutherland), and the son of one of the victims of the Five Projects in the past, Helen (Ruth Negga), when Roy was in the colony of Mars, finally solidified Roy’s heart to look for him. father.

Even though then Roy does not realize that he is faced with a big conspiracy that endangers his father’s life.

About Roy McBride who is We
Roy McBride with the aim of his journey to find his father, actually also describes us in every life journey we choose. Whether on the way to finding success, perfection, maybe even the search for the figure of God himself, which also seems to be one of the messages to be conveyed here.

Roy, in his search for his father and the puzzle that covered him when he had to leave Roy on a mission decades ago, seemed to be a philosophy of human figures who were willing to travel through space beyond their limits in search of answers to questions about the existence of God and human existence as one- the only living thing in the solar system. A view that is normal when viewed from a scientific point of view, of course.

But outside of this philosophy, the figure of McBride is also a picture of today’s humans who are more focused on the search for something that doesn’t necessarily exist but instead ignores everything that is clearly around him, including love.

Although in another sense, a journey that seems difficult, impossible and tends to sacrifice many people around us will also be very meaningful when we finally reach where we want to go. Patience is the key to this.

McBride, who appears ‘grounded’ , makes us believe that his figure is really relevant and in line with some of us who may also be in the same stage as McBride, regarding the search for answers to this universe, as well as about ourselves.

A Sci-Fi with Evocative Details
We know that every sci-fi film about space exploration must have its own characteristics that differentiate one film from another. That is why, although 2001: A Space Odyssey, Interstellar, Gravity, The Martian , and First Man all carry the theme of space exploration, they are films that carry different narratives with different details.

Here, cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema ( Interstellar, Dunkirk ) presents an unusual color palette that makes him appear futuristic and artistic on the one hand.

From the black and white landscape of the moon, to the red room when on the planet Mars, it certainly presents a unique cinematic experience and is different from other sci-fi films about space exploration.

Even so many product placements such as Yoshinoya, Virgin Atlantic and Dunkin Donuts in a depiction of a mall on the moon, are also displayed in the appropriate portion. The placement does not seem far-fetched and instead appears realistic in the atmosphere of a lunar colony which does seem to be an ambitious human project in the future.

For CGI, of course, there is no need to ask. Both the depiction of planetary landscapes , the void of outer space, to the beautiful and mysterious rings of Neptune, can be translated into magnificent and extraordinary visuals.

The visuals are so pleasing to the eye and it looks so accurate and detailed for the depiction of the cockpit of the spacecraft. Sophisticated, but not too futuristic thanks to the depiction of technology that is still close to our present era.

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