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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Sep 22, 2019


BRAD PITT’S new movie, “Ad Astra” (meaning: To The Stars) is a futuristic flick about advanced space travel. But don’t think it’s an exciting action-oriented moovie as it’s actually a serious drama that will remind you of similar films like “2001: Space Odyssey”, “Gravity”, and “Interstellar”.

“Ad Astra” concerns complex daddy issues concerning Brad and his dad, Tommy Lee Jones, shades of Gerard Butler and Nick Nolte in “Angel Has Fallen”, but “Ad Astra” does it on a cosmic scale. Set in what it says is not a too distant future, traveling to the moon has become so easy and man has also reached even the other planets from Mars to Jupiter.

Many countries pursue their own mineral research and exploitation projects on the moon, making it a no man’s land where there are armed pirates and unwarranted violence. Brad is Roy McBride, an astronaut major whose father (Tommy) went missing 30 years ago while on a project in the planet of Neptune.

Roy’s bosses in the Space Command believe his dad is still alive and is now causing anti-matter power surges that threaten all human life in the entire solar system. They order Roy to go to Mars and from there, make a personal laser message appealing to his renegade father to stop his dastard deed.

You know the film is serious drama because Brad’s character is so prone to endless voice over monologues whose aim is to show what outer space travel does to one’s inner space. This starts with the computer program assessing his psychological state where he says to himself: “I am focused only on the essential. I will not allow myself to be distracted.”

He also wonders about his father: “What happened to my dad? What did he find out there? Did it break him? Or was he always broken?”

Roy is emotionally disconnected and has no time for family or sentiment as his blood pressure never even goes up. He doesn’t even want to have kids, so it’s not surprising that his wife (Liv Tyler in a thankless role) splits from him.

Those looking for action and thrills will be disappointed as there’s very little of that here. It has lovely space images and stunning space walks, but what it really displays is Brad’s ability to project the profiles of his psyche, a cool, chilly reserve even when he’s under pressure.

Honestly, we prefer Brad’s performance in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” and if he’d ever get nominated for next year, we wish it would be for that movie with Leonardo.

Brad, 55 years old, is in the same league of Tom Cruise, 57, and Keanu Reeves, also 55. Aside from the fact that they’re all aging, they have something else in common. Unlike Leonardo, who’s much younger at 44, they’ve never won an Oscar for acting. Both Tom and Brad have been nominated several times and Brad has won an Oscar, but as producer of “12 Years a Slave”.

Also, Tom and Keanu have made a name for themselves as action stars with their own franchise movies, “Mission Impossible” for Tom and “The Matrix” and “John Wick” for Keanu. Maybe Brad should also start cultivating a career in the action genre.