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Ad Astra

(14 posts)

  1. Ron
    Member

    A positive review of the movie from The Chicago Reader:

    https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/ad-astra-james-gray/Content?oid=73357865

    Posted 2 months ago #
  2. Marian
    Member

    I just saw Ad Astra. Definitely a good movie. It seems like people either love it or hate it.

    Posted 2 months ago #
  3. Chris DeVito
    Member

    Just saw it, and enjoyed it. It's the kind of story I call "Deep Lite" -- heavy themes done in a ham-handed, obvious manner, sort of a glorified comic book. Lots of nice little touches here and there, like the briefly glimpsed wall notice in the Martian colony: "Crisis Counselling -- Make the Call."

    Posted 1 month ago #
  4. CWJ
    Member

    I keep thinking to go see it, but deep down I'm afraid it will be another "Interstellar."

    Posted 1 month ago #
  5. CarlGlover
    Member

    Exactly so, CWJ. I haven't gone to see it for the same reason. "Interstellar" is on my top-ten list of the worst sf movies ever made.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  6. Mark Pontin
    Member

    I'm a sucker for 'spacesuit movies,' as Gary Wolfe calls them. But I read reviews of AD ASTRA with recaps of plot points -- such as Brad Pitt's spaceship turning off its engines, thereby stopping in space -- and decided that, alas, it sounded _worse_ than INTERSTELLAR, which at least had Kip Thorne's model of a Kerr singularity going for it. I stayed clear of it.

    Even if Hollywood were interested in doing so, I don't think it's intellectually capable of doing plausible space-set movies, (Though THE MARTIAN was pretty good, except for the dust storm in the beginning.)

    It makes the half-century-old achievement of Kubrick's 2001 all the more remarkable for remaining so convincing.

    @ CarlGlover; yes, our mileages probably vary regarding 2001's last half-hour.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  7. JohnWThiel
    Member

    What was so bad about INTERSTELLAR? From the stills I saw that were taken from the movie, it looked much better than most movies do. Good photography, unobjectionable acting, good scenic effects, dramatic space scenes. It didn't look like a bottom-rater, anyway.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  8. CWJ
    Member

    Where to begin, where to begin... basically, it was magic alleged to be science. And that was used to tell a lazy story. I am a scientist and I don't mind magic, but taking lazy magic and pretending it's rigorous science irritates me.

    Basically the climatic scene makes no sense. The hero, Cooper, goes into the black hole, and finds himself back in time and able, somehow, to send a coded message to his daughter. They use science-sounding words. I actually know what those science sounding words mean. And they did not mean the way they used it. It was just magic. And it was bad magic, narratively speaking. When magic is used in a good narrative way, the rules are laid down ahead of time. But the fact that Cooper goes back into time through a fifth dimension blah blah blah is just narrative convenience. It made no sense if you understand the science, and if you didn't understand the science it didn't make sense either. They might as well have explained it by saying supercallifragilisticexpiallidocious (sorry if I mnissplledd it).

    The rest of the movie itself is full of this kind of thing. The plague killing off crops is magical and not explained well. THe shuttle craft can rise out of a gravity well so deep you get enormous gravitational time dilation (which is a real thing, but you need a LOT of gravity to get that) but they don't work when damp. And so on. I would have forgiven any one, or maybe any two of them, but they just kept piling on. The robot (whom I liked very much, it was one of the best things in the whole movie) gathers 'data' which magically creates whole new technology. And so on.

    Actually, if the movie had just ended with him going into the black hole, I would have liked it a lot better.

    It's okay if you liked it. People like different things. I hated Titanic, which people loved. While I didn't hate Avatar, I found it trite and shallow. You can have reasons, even good reasons, for liking a movie someone else dislikes.

    But I hated, hated, hated Interstellar. I let my students write papers on it, because it's full of science narrative, but frankly, I found the story to be lazy and a cheat. The fact that they spent a lot of money on looking good, but not enough on having, you know, a plot that actually makes sense, only infuriates me more.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  9. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Here's fantasy vs. science fiction, it sounds like. People who bottom rate the movie are usually talking about its science, I notice. That can make the picture badder for a scientist than it is for others. I like a strong element of fantasy in my sf, but I don't like it competing with science or making a farce out of it.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  10. Marian
    Member

    I was totally disappointed in Interstellar. I agree with John about it making a farce out of the science. The worst of it is that it seemed obvious they thought the really bad writing was really good or would be made up for by the pretty pictures. I really wanted to like Interstellar, but alas, no.
    CWJ, the mysterious crop killing plague really offended me also. It was such a wasted opportunity to make a statement about how vulnerable our current agriculture practices are. Mono cultures grown on factory farms are just waiting for a plague that will cause the equivalent to the Irish potato famine which only occurred because they were growing only one kind of potato, the kind that turned out to be totally vulnerable. Those same potatoes also died across Europe and the USA but because those places grew dozens of varieties, it wasn't catastrophic. Or the movie could have shown it was runaway Greenhouse effect, etc. Instead it stuck a mysterious plague which was ridiculous.
    And don't get me started on all the idiot plot moments!!!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  11. Marian
    Member

    Ad Astra is not like Interstellar. It has one plot. Brad Pitt needs to get to Neptune to find out if his father is still alive. There's a lot more but that's the basic plot.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  12. JohnWThiel
    Member

    That sounds like THE STARS LIKE DUST. The young fellow took a long interstellar trip to find out what his father had in mind, and his father had been executed.

    Posted 1 month ago #
  13. CWJ
    Member

    Glad to hear Ad Astra is better than Interstellar...thanks, Marian!

    Posted 1 month ago #
  14. JohnWThiel
    Member

    Very meaningful movies in terms of concept--going out to the stars. But they didn't have what it takes to work with their inspiring concept.

    Posted 1 month ago #

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