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The Ending Of Ad Astra Explained

The Ending Of Ad Astra Explained


Ad Astra sends Brad Pitt to the far reaches
of space on a quest for his father, the truth, and a sense of deeper meaning. If you’re wondering what it all adds up to,
let’s break down the ending and major takeaways of Ad Astra. After SpaceCom determines that Clifford McBride
is likely behind the destructive antimatter pulse that kicks off the movie’s plot, his
son Roy is dispatched on a mission to Mars in an effort to establish communication with
the elder McBride. Roy ends up journeying all the way to Neptune,
where he discovers that SpaceCom was right, his father is still alive, and was at least
partly responsible for the antimatter surge. The surge came after the crew of his station
staged a deadly mutiny, irrevocably damaging the battery powering the station. But the true tragedy, at least in Clifford’s
eyes, is the result of all their research, which shows no sign of intelligent alien life
in the universe. Although the Lima Project compiled reams of
data about outlying planets and systems, it didn’t find what Clifford was really looking
for. Clifford was so determined to find new life
that he was willing to abandon his family and even kill for it. Although the information he did gather is
valuable, for him, it’s not enough. Roy McBride is uniquely qualified for the
mission to determine the fate of Project Lima. There’s his family connection to the Project’s
long-lost leader, and the fact that he is, like Neil Armstrong was described to be, an
almost supernaturally reserved man. Even working in dangerous conditions in deep
space, his pulse goes no higher than 80bpm, and he deals with the bad news about his father
with a steely calm. “Now, we’re counting on you to help us find
him. Are you with us?” “Yes I am, sir.” It’s this quality that comes in extra handy
when Roy realizes what SpaceCom is really up to, specifically, the agency is out to
double-cross him and kill Clifford. The secret plan all along is to observe Roy’s
attempt to establish communication with Clifford, using Clifford’s response to figure out where
he is, and then travel there to finish him off with a nuclear weapon. Once he figures it out, Roy proves more than
a match for the other team, successfully sabotaging their mission before journeying to Neptune
in peace. The central message of Ad Astra is best summed
up by Roy’s words to his father just before they leave Project Lima. Roy tells his father that what Cliff has proven,
that there’s no alien life to be found, is just as important as finding another world
full of intelligence. By learning there is no intelligent life in
the known universe, Cliff has shown us that, as Roy puts it, “We’re all we’ve got.” Speaking to Digital Spy, writer/director James
Gray explained that the idea of looking for answers in alien life isn’t a particularly
appealing idea to him. Gray said, “The idea that there’s these little green
men out there that’ll either save us or eat us, to me that’s more horrifying than having
to rely on other people.” With the Lima Project’s antimatter battery
damaged, the station is a lost cause, actively endangering life on other planets as it breaks
down. Clifford can’t repair it, but thankfully,
Roy has arrived with a solution of sorts: the nuclear bomb SpaceCom intended to use
on Clifford. After getting his father out of the station,
Roy uses the bomb for part of its intended purpose, blowing up the station and getting
rid of the battery. It’s an ignominious end for Lima Project,
which set out on a hopeful mission before spiraling into madness, violence, and catastrophic
loss of life. Clifford ran away from Earth hoping to find
answers, but ended up creating more problems, underlining one of the movie’s major themes:
running away from problems we’re meant to face head-on can only lead to disappointment. Somewhere between Earth and Neptune, it seems
pretty obvious that Cliff McBride has lost his freaking mind. But one of the interesting things about Ad
Astra is that with Roy’s voyage, we get to follow in Cliff’s footsteps and see exactly
how his marbles spilled out. Roy’s narration tells us there are physical
strains affecting his mental health, like the extended time spent in zero gravity. There’s also the crushing isolation of space,
something Roy commits to facing as he continues on his quest to find his father, going past
the moon, past Mars, and then all the way to Neptune. “Are you ready?” “I’m ready.” Roy’s journey mirrors what must have been
his father’s in a lot of ways, including the death toll. When Roy reaches his father, we learn the
antimatter surges aren’t something Cliff has been causing on purpose. His struggles against his crew, he says, caused
the damage that led to the antimatter instability. This is something Roy is familiar with, because
his trek through the stars has left its own trail of collateral damage; with few exceptions,
just about everyone who has been at Roy’s side throughout his journey is dead by the
end of the movie. Though he doesn’t mean for it to happen, he
indirectly causes the death of the surviving crew on the ship to Neptune, just as Cliff
indirectly unleashes the antimatter surge that threatens the solar system. After they escape Project Lima, Cliff detaches
himself from Roy, guaranteeing his own certain death. He has more than a few reasons for doing it. First, there are the consequences he might
have to face upon returning to Earth. He doesn’t know that his crimes have been
swept under the rug, and so has no reason to think he’ll be shown any mercy. Second, while he may refuse to admit it to
himself, what he calls his destiny has proven to be a sham. Considering everything he’s done for that
“destiny,” how could he not want to end things? Finally, as he tells Roy, this lonely void
has become his home. He has no desire to return to Earth. Ad Astra has been compared to a number of
classic movies, from the awe and wonder of 2001: A Space Odyssey, the character study
of First Man, and the grounded thrills of Gravity. It’s also drawn comparisons to Apocalypse
Now, in the way Roy is drawn deeper and deeper into space on his dangerous quest. But Ad Astra is fundamentally about the desire
for connection between parents and their offspring, and between people in general, and the dark
places people can be driven to when that connection is lost. “It’s a very human story dealing with our
connection to humanity.” In many ways, Roy McBride’s journey is a terribly
sad one, he’s betrayed by his employers, and faced with the reality of his father’s crimes,
potential insanity, and then death. He loses the parent he journeyed billions
of miles to save. But in spite of that loss, the movie’s message
remains hopeful. As Roy tells Clifford, we’re all we’ve got,
and those bonds are strong enough to take us all to Neptune and back. Check out one of our newest videos right here! Plus, even more Looper videos about your favorite
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48 thoughts on “The Ending Of Ad Astra Explained

  1. I thought it was a beautiful close. A man abandons his humanity and everything in a search for life far away that doesn’t exist, and in turn, his son is left wanting and he travels to Neptune for a father that doesn’t exist. The father couldn’t turn back, but the son could, and stopped running from his humanity. All throughout the movie shows how dangerous and difficult space travel is. I ultimately don’t agree with the movies message about space exploration, but I do love it’s human message.

  2. Me and my parents all fell asleep 90% of this movie, the most boring thing I've ever watched accept it was cinematically pleasing

  3. This pisses me off! Contact and Interstellar were way better. All that travel for a father who didn't even want to come back to Earth, and to top it off…no alien life was found!!! Aghhh!

  4. I watched Ad Astra yesterday I thought it was a great movie.I'm a big fan of space exploration movies,I thought it was so cool Brad Pitt went from Earth to the Moon to Mars,he went pass Jupiter,he went pass Saturn,ending up at Neptune was so cool…

  5. This movie is a masterpiece. Sadly nowadays people consider this movie as “boring”. Don’t expect an action movie. It’s a bit slow, but never boring. It has very original ideas in it and it has beautiful cinematography and effects. Imagine 2001 would come out today. Everyone would call it boring….yeah well ad astra is one of these movies

  6. this film was a bore. Its not really a space film. Its a story about being apathetic about life and then realizing that life is better when u care about people. Like I said, boring. Beautifully shot film though. Otherwise, not worth 2 hours of your life. Not even better than Rocket Man, when it comes to space films.

  7. I usually eat this kind of movie up… but I just didn't give a shit about anything that was happening at all.

    also, the space baboons and things like astronauts getting out of their seats to shoot guns in the middle of a launch were just ridiculous.

  8. Is he. Is he really the most qualified as his son? Comment on nepotism.
    Or is he the most compromised.
    Also moral dilemma for viewer..is satisfying ur anger more important then if it meant ud have to kill 3 ppl?

    Should he have given in to his anger and disobeyed his order to return home….

  9. It would take more than a hundred thousand years just to get a snapshot of what our own galaxy is like today because the light from the other side would take that long to get here and most of that is blocked by other stars in the way.
    It's impossible to get a snapshot of the entire universe as light leaving the farthest galaxies will not reach us for billions of years, if at all due to expanding space time.
    Even if we were able to travel faster than light somehow and check on one star system every day on average, it would take hundreds of billions of years to eliminate every star system in just our galaxy and the universe would die of heat death before we finished checking every star in every galaxy.
    The odds there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe right now is something like 99.9999999999999999999999%, but the odds we would ever encounter an intelligent alien species is something like 0.000000000000000001% because of the shear size of the universe and the distances we'd have to cover.
    Like trying to sift through every grain of sand on every beach in the world to find the hand full of grains that have a unique color to them. You just can't search them all. There's too many.

  10. i havent seen it but i will say the explanation was boring AF so i dont want to see it, it sounds like the first film ever to go looking for aliens and not find them, wow.

  11. Just saw it last night. The impression I took away from it is a watered down version of Apocalypse Now set in space. Slow burning, beautiful cinematography. Captures the grim emptiness of space very well. Not for everyone. Would rate 7/10. Best performance I’ve ever seen of Brad Pitt by the way.

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