Director James Gray recently conducted an Instagram live interview with his producer Rodrigo Teixeira (see the video below) defending his decisions making “Ad Astra,” particularly the parts where his film flies in the face of common sense or any basic understanding of physics.
Gray admitted that the overwhelming amount of flak his movie received as a result of scientific inaccuracies troubled him, while arguing that issuing such criticisms was missing the point since “Ad Astra” wasn’t meant to be a scientifically accurate portrayal of space that films like “The Martian” or “Interstellar” tried to be. Gray even goes so far as to call the criticisms “a very fatuous level of critique.”
Fatuous? Fatuous? I’ll you YOU what’s fatuous, Mister Man! FATUOUS is making a movie based in a somewhat real world while including SPACE WOLVES attacking people. FATUOUS is making a movie where Brad Pitt just barges his way through the rings of Neptune. FATUOUS is making a movie where Pitt uses a spinning radar wing to launch himself from one spaceship through deep space right back to another spaceship!
This isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking, either. My contemporary film review of “Ad Astra” was titled in part, “Drastically Lower Your Expectations (and I.Q.).
Among the things I said was “To say that ‘Ad Astra’ failed to meet our astronomically high expectations would be a cosmically vast understatement” and “‘Ad Astra’ has some of the most absurdly unrealistic scenes of any space movie we’ve seen. If you know anything about physics, botany, nutrition, astronomy, or just about any other branch of science, ‘Ad Astra’ will make your brain hurt.”
The review ended with a rating of 5.5 out of 10, one that now feels generous in hindsight.
Sorry, James Gray, but there are certain tenets to filmmaking. Even when creating a fantasy world, the stuff happening on screen still has to make sense. And when making a film such as “Ad Astra,” one that is presented as our own world but in the near future, you especially need to cut a hell of a lot closer to reality than Space Wolves and the Mother of All Yeets.