Ad Astra

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Ad Astra
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IMDb: 6.5
In the near future, humanity begins looking  at space for alternative places to live and   the possibility of finding intelligent life, this  culminates in forming colonies both on Mars and   the Moon. Major Roy works as an astronaut, which  has been his dream since he was a little kid,   and is currently taking a psych evaluation before  accepting his next mission. He assures the doctors   that he's fine, and he keeps up an excellent  poker face, but he can't stop thinking about   the fact his wife Eve has left him because his  work takes up most of his time. Today's mission   consists of fixing a robotic arm at one of Earth's  many space antennas. Roy climbs an extremely high   ladder without any trace of fear, but things  quickly get nasty when a strange light begins   blinking. Suddenly a power surge causes part of  the antenna to explode and many astronauts begin   falling to their deaths. Roy immediately goes  looking for the power lever and shuts it down,   but another explosion hits him and he falls  as well. Surprisingly he stays very calm,   and when he's close enough to Earth, he releases  his parachute, which allows him to land safely.   Later at home, Roy thinks he should be feeling  something after such an unlikely survival,   but he only keeps remembering Eve telling him he  has a self-destructive side. He also watches the   news and learns that electrical storms have been  wreaking havoc across the globe. Sometime later,   the higher-ups from SpaceCom call Roy for  a top-secret meeting because they're very   impressed by his ability to keep calm in the worst  situations, plus the fact he has no family to hold   him back. They show him spectrogram images of  Neptune full of cosmic ray bursts, which are   causing the electrical surges. The Lima Project is  brought up, a name Roy's familiar with because the   commander behind that mission had been his father  Clifford. It was the first manned expedition to   the outer solar system, which began twenty-nine  years ago, but sixteen years into the mission the   ship disappeared and all data was lost. Deep space  missions were halted after that. As far as they   know the crew was dead, however the power surges  make them think Clifford may still be alive.   The surges seem to be caused by an anti-matter  reaction, which was the material that fueled the   mission. This may cause a potentially unstoppable  chain reaction that could threaten the stability   of the entire solar system and destroy all life in  it. Spacecom wants Roy to travel to Mars and send   a message to Clifford, perhaps hearing his son's  voice will finally make him send a sign back.   Still keeping a poker face while hearing about  his dad, Roy accepts the mission, although he   knows he has no choice and they're just using him.  Afterward Roy begins getting ready for the trip   and decides to watch the last video his father  ever sent him, which was recorded right before he   reached Neptune. The man left when Roy was still  sixteen and his message is mostly rambling about   the possibility of finding life, but at least he  ends it with an "I love you, son". At that moment   Roy is approached by Pruitt, an old friend of his  father's that will also go on this mission. Pruitt   wants to know if Roy is doing well emotionally,  and when Roy explains he still thinks his dad is   dead, Pruitt points out they need to be ready for  the possibility that Clifford is hiding from them.   The night before the mission, Roy tries to record  a message for Eve, but in the end he doesn't know   what to say and doesn't record anything. For the  next psych evaluation, he admits he hasn't slept   much but he still feels ready, so his trip is  approved. Since the mission is completely secret,   Roy will fly commercially to the Moon as a cover  and then reach Mars from there. The journey is   very calm, but all passengers are reminded that  the Moon is borderless and many mining zones are   disputed territories in a state of war. When they  make it to the colony, Roy notices it's become a   commercial recreation and thinks Clifford would've  hated it all. Roy and Pruitt take the train to the   SpaceCom base and Pruitt explains nobody here  knows about their mission either. The launchpad   is on the other side of no man's land, so they'll  have armed personnel to protect them. Roy wonders   what was the last time Pruitt talked to his dad,  and Pruitt confesses it had been a fight - since   Pruitt had thought of retiring, Clifford called  him a traitor. Pruitt wonders if Roy is worried,   but Roy admits he isn't: he thinks his dad is a  hero and is disgusted by how SpaceCom wants to   paint him as the villain. At the base, Pruitt  and Roy are assigned to rovers and they leave   surrounded by soldiers. However when they reach  an open area, they're soon ambushed by pirates,   who open fire on them. The two escorting  rovers immediately go down, and Roy's suit gets   punctured, but fortunately he manages to quickly  fix it. The driver of his rover is shot too,   and Roy pushes the body off to take over, driving  among some of the base's structures to make some   pirates crash. Then Roy tries to shoot at the  remaining pirates, but they hit his rover with   theirs and cause him to fall into a crater.  Roy pretends he's lost control of the vehicle,   and once the pirates are gone, he begins driving  again, getting to escape through the darkness. The   base launches some missiles to kill the pirates  once they're far enough. When they finally make   it to the launchpad, Pruitt confesses he was  hurt during the attack and won't be able to   go to Mars. Roy knows he should be upset over  losing his safety blanket, but continues to   bottle up his emotions. Before Roy leaves, Pruitt  gives him a drive with confidential information,   confessing it'll put Roy in grave danger because  their higher-ups don't trust him. Roy gets in   the rocket to Mars, where he meets the crew and  Captain Tanner, who inform him Pruitt was taken   for emergency surgery. This trip will last  nineteen days, and nobody in this crew knows   Roy's real mission either. Mood stabilizers are  distributed, but Roy hides in his suit instead of   taking it. When he has a moment alone, he checks  Pruitt's drive, which shows that SpaceCom received   an SOS signal from the Lima Project crew that  indicated Clifford intentionally disabled all   external communications. If the mission isn't  successful in contacting Clifford, then they   must destroy the Lima Project and Clifford himself  to stop the surges. Roy wonders what happened to   his dad and if he really lost control, remembering  the fact Clifford had promised him they could work   together someday yet it never happened. Sometime  later, they receive a distress call from a space   station, and Tanner feels obliged to help them as  protocol dictates. Roy wants to concentrate on his   own mission but his protests are ignored. Since  the co-pilot is scared, Roy volunteers to go with   Tanner to the space station, where they split to  cover more ground. Roy finds some scratches on the   walls, and when he reunites with Tanner, he finds  him floating and shaking. When he comes closer,   Roy discovers there's a baboon feeding on Tanner.  The animal attacks as soon as it sees Roy,   but he fights it and manages to shake it off  by tasing it. Then a second baboon shows up,   so Roy grabs Tanner and takes him into another  room before closing the door hatch. Roy tries   to seal Tanner's helmet with some duct tape,  but soon he has to return to the door to keep   it closed because the baboon is trying to open  it. He finds the pressure hatch and releases it,   making the baboons explode. Moments later  Roy brings Tanner back into their ship,   but no matter how hard the doctors work, Tanner  doesn't survive and his body is thrown into space.   Later while everyone's sleeping, Roy takes another  psych evaluation and explains Tanner died without   showing any emotions. When the computer voice asks  him for details, Roy confesses he recognizes the   baboon's rage as his own, he's always had rage  in him because his dad left. However if he looks   under the rage all he finds is hurt, which is  keeping him away from relationships. The copilot   takes over captain duties and Roy becomes the  copilot in his place. When they finally approach   Mars, they're hit by a power surge and the ship  needs to be landed manually instead of using the   auto-landing sequence. The pilot is too scared to  react, so Roy takes over the controls and lands   the ship himself, promising his partner he won't  report him to SpaceCom. The crew makes it to the   Ersa Research Station, where Roy meets director  Helen. She doesn't know about the secret mission   either, so she only gets to escort him to the  building where the other employees are working in   confidence. Roy is given a very cold pre-written  message to read, promising Clifford they're here   to help and that they need any data he may have.  Unfortunately they don't get any replies and the   technicians decide to try again later. Roy spends  some time in the "comfort room", where he tries   to decide if he hopes to find his dad or wants  to be free from him. When the time comes to send   another message, Roy drops the script they gave  him and begins talking from the heart. He mentions   childhood memories and the fact he's become an  astronaut too, expressing his wish to see his   father again. Roy waits to see what happens and  notices the technicians getting excited around   the comms, meaning they got an answer. However  when Roy asks to hear the message, the higher-ups   don't give him access to it and announce he'll be  sent back to Earth because his personal connection   makes him unfit for the mission. On his way out,  Roy notices a crew is getting ready to travel,   but they ignore his questions. Before going  to Earth they put Roy through another psych   evaluation, but his desperation and anger finally  make him crack and mess with his biorhythms,   thus he's sent back to the comfort room  for the time being. Sometime later,   Helen visits Roy to get some answers. At first  Roy tries to keep the secret, but Helen changes   his mind by explaining she was born here on Mars  and that her parents died in the Lima Project. The   higher-ups made her prepare a rocket with nuclear  munitions, which will be leaving for Neptune soon,   and she wants to know why. Roy tells her the  little he knows, and Helen responds by sharing   a video they received some time ago. It turns out  Clifford is indeed alive, and screams can be heard   behind him in the recording. Clifford explains his  crew started to boycott the mission because they   wanted to go home, so he had no choice but to kill  them all. SpaceCom made Clifford a hero in the   public eye to cover it all. Roy wants to confront  his father, thus Helen sneaks him out of the base   in a rover and drops him by a sewer entrance so  he can gain access to the rocket in secret. After   a few minutes spent under dirty water, Roy reaches  the launchpad and manages to climb into the rocket   right before it takes off. The crew immediately  detects his presence and Roy tries to explain he   isn't a threat, but the base sends orders for him  to be neutralized. Two astronauts go after him,   but at that moment the rocket gains speed and the  force sends one of the astronauts flying against   the wall, killing her. The second astronaut  fights Roy and the captain tries to shoot him,   but he fails and hits the oxygen tanks instead.  The air begins to get poisonous and Roy tries   to help the captain by putting a mask on him,  but it's too late: both astronauts are dead.   The bodies are thrown out of the rocket and Roy  sends one last message to the base, confirming   he'll finish the mission before he turns off  all comms. The trip will last seventy-nine days,   which Roy will have to spend alone with his guilt.  He connects a feeding tube directly to his stomach   and electrodes on his body to stimulate his  muscles. Roy tries to keep himself busy by   thinking of Eve and his dad. However he makes  the mistake of watching Eve's last message when   she confessed she felt like she didn't know him  because he was always away, he also watches videos   of the time his dad was still sane and hopeful.  All these clips make his mood tank, and Roy keeps   dreaming of his childhood, his mother, his dad,  and Eve. Roy used to wish he could be alone,   but the loneliness on the ship is breaking his  sanity as well, and he realizes how many people   he's let down all these years and how selfish he's  been. By the time he finally approaches Neptune,   Roy is on the edge of losing it, but he manages  to put himself together for the mission. He takes   a shuttle to fly to the Lima station, but suddenly  he gets hit by another power surge and the shuttle   begins failing. Roy tries to dock to no avail,  and trying to contact his father gets him no   answers. He has no choice but to leave the pod and  spacewalk into the Lima station. Inside, Roy finds   the crew's bodies floating around and an old music  video playing on a screen. He also finds his dad's   room, where he can see all the signs of obsession  with finding life in space. Roy goes further   inside and begins programming the explosive when  Clifford finally finds him, and while Roy keeps   his poker face, the sadness is still clear in  his eyes. Clifford explains he's been trying   to stop the surge, which was caused by the crew's  boycott. The captain must go down with the ship,   and Clifford considers this his home. He has no  interest in returning to Earth, and he admits   never caring about his family. Roy tells him he  still loves him and reaches out to grab his hands,   which Clifford accepts after some hesitation.  While Roy helps his dad get into his suit,   Clifford says he's proud of his son for traveling  all the way here and wonders if they could've   made a better team, because his crew checked the  data and when they found no signs of life, they   immediately gave up. Roy points out this isn't a  failure because now they know they are all they   got. They activate the bomb to explode in three  hours and leave the station, but as soon as they   make it outside, Clifford tries to throw himself  into space. Roy holds onto their anchoring rope   to keep him close, but Clifford begs for freedom  and Roy decides to grant him this last wish. The   rope is unhooked and as Clifford floats away into  the abyss, Roy finally allows himself to have a   breakdown. He floats for a while, wondering if he  should give up too, but then he realizes he still   has one more chance. Using his suit's propellers,  Roy returns to the Lima station and removes a   panel door, which he uses to protect himself  from the asteroids in order to cross Neptune's   rings. As he makes his way back to the rocket,  Roy remembers the last words his father told him   while he downloaded the research data. Clifford  said that by obsessing so much on finding life,   he ignored all the beauty on the planets'  surfaces. Roy hits the side of the rocket,   and after rolling around for a bit, he manages  to hold onto the railing and get back inside.   He doesn't have enough fuel left, so he waits for  Lima to explode and uses the shock wave to propel   the rocket. Many days later, Roy lands safely  on Earth and a group of soldiers immediately   rescue him, assuring him the Lima data arrived  safely as well. During his next psych evaluation,   Roy says he's been sleeping well, and that he's  aware of his surroundings. Now he's also very   aware of his loved ones, so he's finally ready to  commit and reunite with Eve to start things over.
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