Tuesday, 1 October 2019

Ad Astra (2019)

Ad Astra
I am taking a short break from the List to post a short article (because I will not call it a review) on Ad Astra. For the past week I have been back in the Middle East on vacation and my wife and I exploited this to have a night out at the cinema. This happens all too rarely, and it is fun to go watch something not for small boys. I had my eyes set on Ad Astra because I am really into sci-fi, but just because something looks good…

Well, rather than writing a review I will ask a few questions.

1.       What exactly is the Lima project doing around Neptune if they are supposed to be at the heliosphere?

2.       Why was the Lima project equipped with antimatter? I mean, what are they using it for?

3.       Why is the antimatter sending bursts of radiation towards the inner solar system?

4.       Why does the antimatter issue not appear, even as a topic of conversation when Roy gets to meet his father at the Lima project?

5.       Why did Clifford kill everybody else? To take pictures of other planets?

6.       How did a man who can kill an entire crew to take pictures of stars get to be in charge of a long duration mission?

7.       How long can you narrate on a missing father? And why does it have to sound like something out of Blade Runner

8.       What exactly is the function of constantly getting a phycological evaluation? If this is to avoid another Clifford McBride, why is Roy taking four or five of those before they even suspect Clifford killed the crew?

On the technical side:

9.       If humanity has built a tower into space (presumably a space elevator) why do they have to fly into space in an old-school rocket? Would it not be natural to use the elevator or at least a space plane?

10.   If the transport to the moon is with a rocket carrying 5-7 passengers, why do they arrive at what looks like a busy airport terminal? It would take quite a few of those rockets to keep that terminal busy.

11.   What is the function in the movie of having a war zone between two moon terminals?

12.   Why do you have to ride in an Apollo era moon buggy to get between the two terminals? Even 2001: A space Odyssey used a shuttle to get around.

13.   Why not send the spaceship to Mars from the same terminal as is used for traffic to Earth rather than sending people out on a perilous ride?

14.   Why do you have to use a rocket shaped space craft to fly to Mars? The moon has no atmosphere.

15.   On the other hand, why are the Norwegians flying to Mars in something that looks like the ISS space station?


17.   What is floating water doing on the surface of Mars?

18.   How can you climb up the inside of a rocket engine during ignition?

19.   How can you get from Mars to Neptune in 79 days with regular reaction engines? Most spacecrafts spend at least a decade on that journey.

20.   Neptune is a fairly big planet. How can a simple radar sling you across the planet?


21.   Why is it I felt somewhat deflated leaving the cinema?



  1. I've lost faith in sci-fi cinema and Ad Astra sounds like one I could skip. In recent years, too many imitations of the classics. Inception was great but copied Paprika (2006), Interstellar looked like Kubrick's 2001, Ex Machina and BR2049 were Blade Runner clones, Annihilation repeated Stalker (1979), Force Awakens rehashed Star Wars. Not enough new, groundbreaking ideas.

    1. That is sadly true. They are mostly remakes or poor excuses for very graphic action. Arrival was one of the few exceptions. Ad Astra was a weird blend of things we a seen before and very poor science.

  2. I had a lot of the same questions you did, but I liked it anyway … up to a point. When it didn't really have an ending, I was rolling my eyes. SO HARD! I didn't realize just how hard this movie was wasting my time until he got to Project Lima. But I recommended it to my movie-buff friend because he gets really high at the movies and doesn't usually notice this stuff.

    1. I am afraid I lost it long before that point. I believe it was the inexplicable moon buggy race that did it for me. For a movie that claim to be realistic, it has a very arrogant attitude towards science and causality.