What an intriguing trailer! Brad Pitt starring in a Solaris/2001 rescue mission for Tommy Lee-Jones, don't mind if I do. Granted, I was still riding the homoerotic Pitt wave from OUATIH, which would've had a profound effect on my initial trailer reaction, yet the potential still stood strong.
The cinematography was fantastic, as one would expect. All digital effects were fantastic and, at points, there were moments of tension. Notably, a conversation between Pitt and a woman who shows him around the SpaceCom base on Mars, assisted by Hoyte van Hoytema's cinematography.
Those were the elements I enjoyed. My main concern began with the film's inner-monologues. When hearing the first, I began to get excited. Pitt's existentialism combined with inner-dialogue could mean Taxi Driver in space, something I didn't know I needed until right then. Sadly, I was met with fluff; The kind of fluff that gets into your phone's aux port, stopping any form of audible value. This does not assist the plot, which, to me, seems disparate. Interspersed with action scenes which add no value whatsoever (Space Chimps vs Brad Pitt? I'll pass), I remained focused on the run time, rather than the film itself.
Honestly, the film isn't as bad as I say it is. If you just look above, many have praised its cinematography and performances, but I just felt so underwhelmed. A combination of the interesting trailer, the approving Sight&Sound article, and many positive reviews, built an expectation perhaps too high to reach.
Personally, Ad Astra wasn't quite James Gray's moon-landing but certainly one small step for Gray; just not a giant leap from me.