The New Ad Astra Trailer Amps Up Brad Pitt's Space Angst

Brad Pitt as Maj. Roy McBride.
Brad Pitt as Maj. Roy McBride.
Image: 20th Century Fox/Disney
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As Brad Pitt’s Major Roy McBride ventures into deep space in James Gray’s upcoming space thriller Ad Astra, the famed legacy astronaut’s mind is pushed to its limits both by the unknowable darkness he literally finds himself surrounded by and the metaphorical darkness about his father’s past actions that might have jeopardized all life in the galaxy.

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While earlier trailers have emphasized how McBride will have to fight for his life as he falls from space and gets into high-speed chases on the surface of far-off planets, the new IMAX trailer promoting the film’s release leans heavily on the specter of McBride’s father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones), who’d previously traveled deeper into space than any other human.

The exact nature of what the elder McBride did during his own journey is surrounded in mystery, but it’s seemingly reacted to the freak occurrences in the presence involving antimatter. Jones’ brief voice over suggests that Clifford wants his son to find something, out there. But what it is and whether it’ll lead to humanity’s destruction is anyone’s guess.

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Ad Astra hits theaters September 20th.


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io9 Culture Critic and Staff Writer. Cyclops was right.

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DISCUSSION

David-Simmons
David Simmons

This is still not working for me at all.

I feel like this trailer gives away most of the major story beats, and I’m still not curious at all about what’s missing. The music is trying its best to pound out this intense emotional atmosphere, and yet I don’t see any of that echoed in all the shots of the actors’ placid faces echo this intensity.

This makes it seem to me like the music is trying desperately to compensate for the lack of psychological resonance in the story. I know that a lot of folks out there LOVE Christopher Nolan, but I’m finding him to be quite a “cold” director. His films always have alluring ideas and epic visuals, but for me the characters feel more like plot devices than fully fledged and complicated individuals.

This film looks to me to fall right into that same zone where the story and its structure is tight and take place on a grand scale, and yet the emotional connection to the characters in thin and doesn’t invest the audience in the personal, intimate part of their struggle.

I hope I’m wrong. I would LOVE to see an intelligent and thought-provoking sci-fi movie, but I’ve been disappointed too many times by films like “Gravity”, “Inception” and yes, even “Interstellar.” All of these films promised a rousing emotional journey, and yet when they were over I was still very underwhelmed by the underdeveloped characters that I never cared about.

I hope I’m wrong.  I really do!