Ad Astra Review
So…saw Ad Astra last weekend.
Spoilers follow. You have been warned,
Ok…so we have a movie billed as “The most realistic space movie ever”. It very deliberately follows much of the structure of Apocalypse Now, with a bit of Event Horizon thrown in for good measure.
Derelict creepy spacecraft in Neptune orbit? Check.
Been missing for years? Check.
Dead people on board? Check
Radical experimental propulsion system? Check.
For Apocalypse Now…
Legendary military leader who went off the reservation? Check
Secret mIssion to go find him and terminate his command? Check
Military lying and withholding info? Check
Firefight along the way with mostly unseen adversaries? Check
Unnecessary stop to inspect ship along the way? Check
Tell crew not to stop because your mission has priority? Check
Get attacked by vicious wild animal? Check (I swear I am not making this up)
Lots of time musing in the head space of the main character? Check
Mission takes him to outer reaches of experience physically and mentally? Check
Confrontation with missing legendary military leader makes him question everything in his life and his past assumptions? Check
I know this has a really good rating on Rotten Tomatos…but I really had a hard time trying to like this movie. Trying to showhorn this into Apocalypse Now really didn’t work INHO. The firefight on the moon was…bizarre. I simply didn’t understand the need for it. If you have a pirate problem from rogue mining outfits, why are you scooting around in unarmored buggies with only handguns? Nonsense.
Next, maybe somebody can explain to me how in the world they are getting around the solar system in a matter of weeks without serious issues of accleration on the human body (being crushed flat is a bit of a bummer). Getting to Neptune orbit in 84 days?? You are doing about .002 Cee average, and that is really, really fast. The movie shows an Ares style ion drive like from The Martian, but that kind of gentle constant thrust does not get you anywhere close to Neptune in 84 days. Event Horizon was a lot more honest about that and had grav couch immersion tanks to try and protect human passengers from massive gees incurred in accleration.
Oh, that brings me to how in the hell do you slow down and check out a spacecraft that sent a distress signal?
You can’t. You simply cannot do that. Unless you dedicated your delta vee and trajectory to specifically get to that ship, there is absolutely no way in hell you are going to interecept. At the velocity they were going, you would not even be able to wave as you go by (assuming you were miraculously close enough to even see it)
As for vicious wild animals, the less said, the better.
NEVER GET OFF THE BOAT!
Don’t even get me started on how you would not use a nuclear detonation as a propulsion aid for a ship that was most definitely NOT designed for that sort of thing and does not have a massive hemispherical armored plate on the backside with hella big shock absorption mechanisms to handle the blast.
Why even send Brad Pitt to Mars in the first place to make the radio signal? Can’t he record it on Earth and then send the recording? There is simply so much of this that just amounted to WE HAVE TO GET BRAD PITT ON A SHIP TO NEPTUNE TO CONFRONT HIS LONG MISSING LEGENDARY DAD AND OH DON’T YOU THINK APOCALYPSE NOW IN SPACE WOULD BE A GREAT ART FLICK??
I will likely try it again when it comes on blu ray so I can give it a fair second chance, but the “San pan off the bow!” stopping in space incident really had me gaping in utter astonishment. Not going to tell you guys to rush out and see it for now.