Ad Astra is not without merit but geez, it took me a long time to get through it. So many stops and starts of the media player that I myself might have made it to the edge of the solar system had I not been sitting in front of a TV.

This film could be summarized with a four-letter heading:

Y – A – W – N

Y – Yes, it has good points. Nice acting by Brad Pitt and several others. An imaginative look into a possible near future of Moon and Mars colonies. And a mostly understated soundtrack with ambient textures and sequencing.

A – An initially slow and for me sometimes ambiguous plot—maybe because I watched this over the holidays and, admittedly, was a bit tired and distracted here and there. I didn’t drift in space but I did drift.

W – When things finally do pick up the movie becomes undeniably gross and unpleasant to watch.

N – No, I didn’t hate it. In fact, some parts were passably interesting, especially the recasting of the age-old mythic theme where an unsuspecting hero begins life with an absent or indifferent father, is called to adventure, meets friends and foes, gains wisdom, and – SPOILER ALERT! – eventually returns triumphant.

I can just hear Carl Jung, Joseph Campbell and Mircea Eliade clapping from the cheap seats…

No fair or complete review can fit into a mere yawn, so I will add that the best scene arguably comes at the end. – SPOILER ALERT! – After an arduous journey, Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) returns to Earth entirely exhausted. He’s so weak he must be assisted by several others from his spacecraft onto terra firma.

As for the look and feel of this film, I neither liked nor entirely disliked the Kubrickesque interiors. Kubrick with more wires and cables, I thought. Nothing terribly original.

Clearly, Ad Astra owes a huge debt to 2001: A Space Odyssey.

The one is a masterpiece, the other mildly engaging.