You know you're heading into awards season when the dramatic space movies start coming out.
Whether it's First Man, Gravity, The Martian or even Interstellar, barely a year has gone by in recent times without a space drama throwing its hat in the ring for awards contention. This year we've been presented with the Brad Pitt vehicle Ad Astra.
It's been getting rave reviews for Brad's performance which, yes, is good and different for him in that it's quite reserved and restrained.
But overall, the movie is very slow and boring.
The plot sees Brad's astronaut Major Roy McBride -- some time in the near future -- charged with making contact with his long-lost father Clifford (Tommy Lee Jones, also acting very well).
Clifford is a pioneer in the space industry, and was lost almost 30 years previously on a deep-space mission to Neptune.
Recent devastating solar surges have been wreaking havoc throughout the solar system and these surges have been attributed to Clifford's ship, causing Roy's superiors to think McBride senior is still alive.
So Roy, whose relationship with his father was, at best, complicated, must try to make contact with him from a Mars base which has been unaffected by the solar surges.
Ad Astra moves very slowly and has very little activity to propel the story forward. There are several moments of intense action, but they're few and far between.
Most annoying is Roy's narration, which is philosophical and grating.
It boggles the mind that space movies can be so boring -- space, by its nature, is a very interesting topic to explore.
But Ad Astra, and even last year's First Man, somehow made the exciting expanse of the universe feel like reading from a textbook.
Sure, it's a character drama and it's really about how Roy deals with his personal problems and comes to terms with his feelings about his father, his wife and responsibility in general, but it's hard to care about any of that when he and his film are so uninteresting.
It will be disappointing if this is the film that finally earns Brad Pitt an acting Oscar when there have been so many better efforts throughout his career.