Get ready to take off on a trip to the stars when sci-fi drama Ad Astra launches in Cineworld on 18th September.
Over the decades, several of cinema’s most exceptional feats have involved films that take us into outer space. From Kubrick’s masterpiece 2001: A Space Odyssey and Ridley Scott’s seminal claustrophobic horror Alien, right up to modern classics like the multi-Oscar-winning Gravity and Christopher Nolan’s mind-bending Interstellar, these movies have always been – for lack of a better phrase – out of this world.
And now that Ad Astra, the odyssey of one man searching the edges of space for his father, is appearing on the horizon, we can look forward to another incredible experience. It only takes a quick glance at the film’s credentials to see why...
1. It’s both an adventure and an emotional father/son story
If there’s one thing we know cinema can do better than any other medium, it’s transport audiences to distant places they’ve never been to before. Ad Astra is set to take us on a gripping mission to the edge of our solar system to save humanity from an apocalyptic event known as ‘The Surge’.
The movie centres around an emotionally-charged journey as our astronaut hero Roy McBride (Brad Pitt – more on him later) goes on the hunt for his missing father in the process. What more could you possibly ask for in a space adventure?
2. It features a starry cast
Ad Astra may be set in space, but the brightest stars we’ll be seeing in the film are human, with the main attraction being the aforementioned Brad Pitt as astronaut McBride.
Best known for his tenure as the heartthrob action star in the likes of Mr & Mrs Smith, Troy and World War Z, the Oscar-winning actor-producer has also shown us his dramatic chops in 12 Years a Slave, The Tree of Life, and Moneyball to name just a few. And don’t forget that you can see this versatile star in Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood in August, too.
It’s not just Brad Pitt who’ll be shining either. The film also stars Liv Tyler (Lord of the Rings), the legendary Oscar-winner Tommy Lee Jones (No Country For Old Men) as Roy’s absentee father, Donald Sutherland (The Hunger Games), and Oscar-nominated Ruth Negga (Loving).
3. It’s helmed by acclaimed writer-director James Gray
It’s not just the talent in front of the camera that’s got us looking forward to Ad Astra. The talent behind it is also deliciously tantalising.
Firstly, the film is being directed and co-written by indie filmmaker James Gray. His name may not sound familiar, but with only a handful of feature films to his name, Gray has continued to impress critics with his debut feature Little Odessa, the Palm D’Or-nominated The Immigrant and, most recently, with the critically-acclaimed historical biopic The Lost City of Z.
With an impressive track record like Gray’s, we’re excited to see what he’s capable of achieving with larger projects like this one and the currently-in-development spy thriller I Am Pilgrim. Moreover, he’ll be co-writing the screenplay alongside newcomer Ethan Gross, who’s best known for his work as a writer and story editor on J.J. Abrams hit TV series Fringe.
4. Max Richter is composing the soundtrack
Another factor that helps space movies stand out from the rest is their soundtrack. From John Williams’s legendary work on Star Wars to Hans Zimmer’s breathtaking score for Interstellar, these films always sound incredible.
And Ad Astra will be no different because its ethereal tones are being composed by the always wonderful and criminally underrated Max Richter. Richter has impressed viewers with his musical creations for Perfect Sense, Miss Sloane, Taboo and recent historical epics Never Look Away, and Mary Queen of Scots – to name just a few of 75 titles he’s worked on over his 16-year-long film career.
And let's not forget his classical piece ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ was used to heart-breaking effect at the start and end of Denis Villeneuve’s critically acclaimed sci-fi drama Arrival.
5. Hoyte Van Hoytema is the cinematographer
In addition to sounding spectacular, all the aforementioned examples of astronomical space movies have looked visually stunning. From the iconic opening shots of 2001: A Space Odyssey and the various Star Wars movies to the jaw-dropping visual spectacle in the likes of Gravity, cinema has done wonders in depicting the grandeur of space.
And with Oscar-nominated cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema behind the lens, we can expect Ad Astra to look just as gorgeous. In just under two decades, Hoytema has risen to become one of the most remarkable cinematographers working today. Getting his big break with Swedish vampire chiller Let the Right One In, Hoytema has since gone on to work on huge hits including Tinker Tailor Solider Spy, Her and James Bond movie Spectre.
And if that’s not enough to impress you, it was Hoytema who worked with Christopher Nolan to make Interstellar and Dunkirk look as impressive as they did. We can’t wait to hear what he’s got in store for us in Ad Astra.
Andy Murray is a writer who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.