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James Gray’s Ad Astra was slated to open in theaters on May 24, opposite Booksmart, Brightburn and Aladdin. But when May arrived and we still hadn’t seen a trailer, that release date began to look unlikely. And indeed, the film wound up being pushed back until September of this year. Now the first trailer has finally arrived and it looks to have been worth the wait. Check out Brad Pitt heading to space to find Tommy Lee Jones in Ad Astra:
At the beginning of the year, without a lick of footage, I had Ad Astra on my list of most intriguing under-the-radar 2019 movies and after seeing this trailer I am considerably more intrigued and don’t expect this to stay under-the-radar for long. That’s because this trailer is chock full of stunning visuals, interesting character moments, and a story that leaves you with more questions than had you not seen the trailer at all.
The most simplistic description of the story of Ad Astra is that Brad Pitt’s astronaut Roy McBride travels into space to find his missing father, but as we see here it is much, much more complicated than that. The way the trailer begins with some sort of phenomenon dubbed ‘The Surge’, which seems to be like an electromagnetic pulse, immediately lets us know that there is more going on than just a missing Tommy Lee Jones.
Brad Pitt’s character finds out that his father’s mission to search for intelligent life isn’t quite what he thought he it was. It’s unclear if they know if he is still alive (he is) or where he is, but what is known is that he was experimenting with some nasty stuff. Anyone who watches The Expanse, and if you don’t you should, probably got major protomolecule vibes here.
So Roy McBride must go find his father and save the entire Solar System. Finding out the truth, about his father, about extraterrestrial life, about what connection there is between The Surge and his father’s work (there’s gotta be right?) will be the driving questions of this space mystery.
The science fiction elements of the trailer weren’t the only intriguing parts though. The mentions of psychological evaluations and Brad Pitt reiterating his commitment to the mission are quite interesting and could foreshadow some sort of space madness for the character. I also suspect that when he finds his father and learns the truth, he will have to make a hard choice between honoring his mission and his love for his father.
It’s those human elements that make for the best sci-fi and they look to be present here. Also, to quote Armageddon, “What are you doing with a gun in space?” Engaging in a lunar rover chase/shootout, that’s what! Liv Tyler is once again back on Earth thinking about her astronaut. There looks to be some really cool action in Ad Astra and with Dunkirk and Interstellar cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema behind the lens, it all looks positively gorgeous.
James Gray’s previous efforts include We Own the Night and The Lost City of Z and although it sounds like Ad Astra was pushed back in part to finish all the effects, a September release could mean there is confidence it could compete come awards time.