WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS
Set sometime in the future, AD ASTRA takes place in a world where going to the Moon is about the same as taking a trip to Disneyland, and human beings have traveled farther than ever before, searching for intelligent life.
Roy McBride works on a space station thousands of miles above the Earth’s surface. One day, as he performs routine maintenance work with a few colleagues, there’s suddenly a burst of power surging throughout the station, causing Roy and others to be thrown off the station. Roy falls hundreds of thousands of feet through the atmosphere, finally being able to stabilize himself enough to pull his parachute and crash land onto the ground.
Soon after this event, Roy’s summoned to a top secret government meeting. Being the son of the legendary astronaut Clifford McBride, he’s informed of some new information regarding these strange power surges. They’ve been happening all over the world and they are predicting that it’s only going to get worse. These officials inform Roy there’s reason to believe his father is still alive near Neptune, where he was sent 30 years ago. They think the power surges are coming from his father’s last mission, called Project Lima. Now, Roy is being sent to Mars in order to transmit a message out in hopes his father will respond. He is to fly commercially to the moon, in order to avoid any suspicion from the public or media, and then catch a ride to Mars.
The base on the Moon appears to be more of a shopping mall, complete with Applebee’s, Yoshinoya’s and costumed aliens taking pictures with people’s children. However, outside the base a war is raging. Pirates have been attacking the rovers, stealing equipment and killing the occupants. As Roy and his companions try to make their way to the Mars bound vessel, they soon find themselves with unwanted company. Shots are fired and rovers crash into each other. Roy and his fellow captain make it to the ship, but lose one of their lieutenants.
Finally on the way to Mars, Roy sneaks away from the others to listen to the classified information he was given for his top secret mission. Suddenly, they receive a mayday call from a nearby space station. After a short disagreement about whether or not to respond to this, Roy agrees to assist the captain in boarding the other vessel. This place is a station for animal research, and there is not one soul to be found on board. Separating from each other to search, Roy soon finds his comrade again being attacked by loose, rogue monkeys. Desperately trying to escape these beasts, Roy takes the captain’s helmet and returns to their ship. The crew say a prayer over the deceased captain and send him out into space.
Upon arrival to Mars, things begin to take a turn for Roy. He is placed in a recording studio and told to read a message that will be sent out, in hopes his father will respond. However, when it seems they might have received a response, Roy’s suddenly deemed unfit to continue this mission and is told he will soon return to Earth.
Later, Roy’s approached by a woman whose parents were also on the Lima project, and she tells him things that the government never would. He knows what he has to do. She helps him sneak on to the Neptune bound ship. Roy has a new personal mission: To find his father and stop these power surges from destroying life as we know it.
AD ASTRA is a movie that should be seen in a movie theater. The beauty and magnitude of this production is one that’s best experienced in the fully immersive atmosphere of a high-quality movie theater. Following the guidelines of the hero’s journey, this story is the perfect mixture of calmness and intensity, perfect for those who enjoy a complete adventure. There’s also no lack of depth to AD ASTRA, with the story paralleling many beautiful aspects of life, including the revelation of God’s presence throughout the enormous complexity of nature. There are themes of never giving up, self-sacrifice and discovering the reasons to keep going.
AD ASTRA follows an overall biblical, moral worldview, with many Christian elements, including experiencing God, prayer and sacrifice. There is, however, some strong foul language and many images that can be disturbing or unsettling for viewers. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong to extreme caution for AD ASTRA, depending on the age level and sensitivity of the viewer.