Ad Astra

I went to the cinema. I feel bad writing this. I didn’t enjoy it. But let’s get the formalities out of the way first.

I went to the Cineworld cinema at Rochester. I went to an 18:00 showing and I was a little surprised at how empty the lobby was, normally on Saturdays it’s very busy. Maybe I was at that “just before” time when many are still thinking of going out. It was lovely and sunny and I made a mental note to check the state of the tide. It was high, nearly full. This pleased me as earlier in the day I had run by the river slightly further upstream and the river was low. I run pass the navigational section and then along the tidal section by Allington lock. Given I was running at around 11:00 and went to the cinema around seven hours later I expected a high tide.

As is also customary I rated the film on IMDB and then tweet the result. I pondered this for a long time and even had to check my own rating system which is explained within this communication. It’s weird looking things up on your own website. I often do it to remind myself what I thought of a film at the time or which bands I have seen and what I thought of them. Somewhere within these communications I mention that this might be a kind of diary.

So, here’s the rating:

I wanted to like this film, I like space films. But, I had to score the film 4 as I hated a lot of it and didn’t really care about anyone in the film. I stayed until the end but only to see what happened. I wasn’t fussed about it. It was more annoying than anything else. I don’t know anyone who takes my reviews seriously. I’m there as a curiosity, a method for people to know me better rather than expect followers to take me seriously. If you read this website’s homepage you will see this is really a vanity project. A thing I do for fun. I am going to explain some of my criticisms but I should warn you:


The space scenes looked amazing and I was really impressed with the quality of the graphics. This is possibly the only good comment I have about the film.

The entire voice-over on this film was shit. It was annoying and the film would have been better without it. It didn’t add anything to the film and it didn’t explain anything that a vaguely intelligent person couldn’t figure out. One day the director might come out with a version and remove the voice over, explaining it was put there for stupid people. I hated it.

WHAT WAS WITH THE PSYCH EVALS? I don’t understand what shit this was. You say a few sentences into a microphone and record your pulse and something somewhere declares you fit for spaceflight? I don’t think the writers understood humans for this part of the film. It was interesting that McBride was clearly fucking insane from the beginning. If you fall off a space tower and tumble to the point that you might die but your heart rate doesn’t go above 80bpm then you are a psychopath. I hated these parts of the film more than anything else. It was terrible.

I liked the [impossible] tower at the beginning. It looked pretty good. I liked part of the background stuff to do with space flight like the med centres and technicians everywhere. If Earth has a tower up to space then why are they still launching people into space using chemical rockets? I know rockets look cool but SPACE ELEVATOR. If the technology exists to build a fucking massive tower [searching for intelligence??] then it exists to build a space elevator.

The unintentional sky diving scene could have been better. If there was so much stuff falling from the space tower then the main character, called ROY ffs, would have been ripped to shreds during the fall. We didn’t see him steering away from the tower. We didn’t see him try to get away. What happened to the rest of the tower? Did the single switch Roy flipped save everything?

How do you go from being an outdoors technician on the space tower to being an expert in flight of every type of rocket later in the film? This man was essentially a “chap who fixes the tower”, even though they had robots doing this, and he was also someone who was a miracle worker with flying rockets and knew all the systems in every space craft. What shit.

We can’t send a secure comms link to Neptune from Earth? Why Mars? Just because I think. The director wanted to show spaceflight. I think he failed quite dramatically. I think it was meant to take nineteen days to get to Mars and yet the film was meant to show action. I don’t think he concentrated on creating the right things. Yes, I am being critical of an action film, No I am not a film maker. On the journey to Neptune we see the loneliness of space flight after Roy manages to kill everyone but that could have been built up all the way. It was all annoying.

The first time I got my phone out to make a particular note was when Roy was on the moon. Someone said something like:

“We need to get going soon because it’s nearly a full moon.”

Boring military person on moon.

Unless there is a lunar eclipse it is ALWAYS a full moon on the moon. The sun ALWAYS lights half the moon you stupid writers.

The Moon. Let’s talk a little about that. Roy takes a rocket trip to the moon like the Pan-Am flight in the film 2001. He launches using a chemical rocket and heads to the moon. I don’t know how long it took them but it is implied that is was less than three days, which was fine. But, when he gets to the moon it’s a major city with tourists and stupid shops etc. If everybody on the moon got there by chemical rocket then it would need thousands of rockets taking off all the time. The expense of getting that many people ot the moon would be prohibitive. I hated this part of the film. The journey for Roy looked exclusive but the moon was just a crowded holiday resort.

On the moon they make the first car chase explosion make a boom noise and then none of the others. Annoying.

On the moon the moon-car, which looks like the lunar rover from fifty years ago FFS, leaps over the edge of a crater and still lands safely. Gravity still accelerates objects on the moon and the buggy would have broken/spun/killed everyone. Annoying.

In the moon city everyone walked around like the gravity was a standard Earth Gravity but then outside everyone acted as though they were on the moon. WHICH IS IT?

I have one word for the space station rescue on the way to Mars. Shit.

Let’s blame the Norwegians for doing naughty animal based research on a space station. Really? I’m not sure the director or writer understands other countries.

Landing on Mars using a shitty bad graphic of a space ship leaned over at an angle. Terrible. It denies the complexity of landing anything. It was annoying. No one on Mars walked like there was a limited amount of gravity. Everyone walked like they were in a standard Earth gravity. Annoying.

Mars city had the same problem as the Moon city. Where did all those people come from? Why were they all there. How large was the infrastructure of the Mars city? It seemed full of empty spaces and large corridors. This is not how you build things in space, especially if you only have CHEMICAL ROCKETS.

Here’s an idea lads. Once we’ve built our expensive base on Mars why don’t we include a perfect sound-room for recording messages to space? We could really make a proper sound booth with egg boxes and everything. Who knows when we will need it? especially if we can’t record someone and use that recorded message as we’ve already scripted it. My desperation was high by this point. I hated a lot of this film.

It’s probably worth pointing out that if someone dies on a spaceship you wouldn’t push their body out of the airlock. This would put them into pretty much the same orbit as you and the body would come back eventually to hit you or another spaceship. It is a bad thing to have extra stuff floating around in space. You wouldn’t do it.

I have no idea how ROY manages to get into the spaceship on Mars. It isn’t really covered. I mean somehow he opened an external door just at lift off and then climbed UP into the ship while it was launching and accelerating UPWARDS. If the spaceshit accelerated at three g then Roy would need to lift three times his own weight up into the rest of the spaceship. Of course he manages to get on board but in the process the others are killed when the film gets the physics wrong again. The rocket stage gets ejected and so the spaceship would have gone from acceleration to zero g. The astronauts would have flown the other way in the spaceship because of their inertia. It was established that up was up when Roy landed the ship on Mars.

I honestly didn’t give a shit about the journey to Neptune or what happened when Roy got there. It was all pretty bad. Poor writing and lazy filming. Most of it had been done before but in a far better way. I mean, if you have to kill your father just to get over the feelings of abandonment then I guess you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.

So, WHERE WERE THE SURGES COMING FROM? What about the inverse square law. What? How was this all happening? Why was there so much data on other worlds? Were these worlds within the solar system? Couldn’t the data be sent by comms link? Why didn’t we see any film of people shaving in space? How do you have enough food for eighteen years in space? How do you keep warm around Neptune?

Oh god this film got worse towards the end. I wasn’t sure that was possible but it did.

My last comment for now, I’ll probably think of more things during the day and I’ll add them to this page: It was fucking stupid to launch yourself from a radar spinning thing at a spaceship miles away and ACTUALLY MAKE THE SHOT, then when shielding yourself from the rings of Neptune with a shitty bit of metal the film fails to understand impulse and momentum. Every time a rock or thing hit the shield Roy would have slowed down. He wouldn’t have made it as far as his ship anyway. He would have died in orbit of Neptune. It would have made a better film.

Oh, the older couple next to me opening individually wrapped sweets slowly so the crackling noise was spread out over a long period of time, fuck off.

I feel slightly bad that I hated this film as much as I did. Just sitting here writing this stuff is making me remember more and more about the terrible bits of this film. I am going to read some positive reviews now to see if my mind can change. Anything written after this point is extra from later today.