Australian Council on Children and the Media

Ad Astra

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Not suitable under 12, Parental guidance recommended to 13; Suitable for 13+ (some violence and scary scenes and lack of interest for younger viewers)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Ad Astra
  • a review of Ad Astra completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 24 September 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 12 Not suitable due to violence and scary scenes
Children aged 12-13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence, scary scenes and possible lack of interest
Children over the age of 13 Ok for this age group

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Ad Astra
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Science fiction themes, violence and coarse language
Length 123 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Set in the near future, a global power surge on Earth causes over 43,000 deaths and the military suspect an extra-terrestrial attack. Astronaut Roy McBride (Brad Pitt) is therefore sent on a mission to find his missing father, Dr Clifford McBride (Tommy Lee Jones). 30 years earlier Clifford McBride had led a team to search for life near Neptune and hadn’t been heard from since. Actually suspecting Clifford might be responsible for the attack, the military want him dead.

Roy’s mission first lands on the Moon where Roy undergoes a psychological examination to see whether he is fit for the task. The decision is made that Roy is too emotionally attached to his father and the authorities plan to send him home. Roy, however, manages to smuggle onto the spacecraft that’s heading for Saturn to find Clifford. In doing so, Roy breaches the oxygen supply and accidentally kills all the crew on board. Roy finally reaches his destination and finds his father. Roy’s intention is to take his father home but things do not turn out as planned.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Science Fiction; Absent parent; Father/son relationships.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • On the moon, bandits in space buggies attack Roy and the Colonel. Shots are fired and an oxygen tube gets punctured. The buggies try to push the vehicle that Roy is in and it eventually goes over the edge of a cliff.
  • Some apes are found on a space station that the crew attend having received a Mayday call. It is apparent that the apes have killed all of the men on the space station. The apes viciously attack the rescue team and a man is seen with blood on his face. Blood is spattered on the window.
  • As Roy enters the spacecraft, another crew member confronts him with a gun. Shots are fired and they fight causing the oxygen supply to get cut off. All of the crew members die.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

  • An explosion occurs on a space station and an astronaut falls from the tower.
  • There are some very scary apes found on a space station.
  • The apes try to break through glass to reach the men. They screech and bang on the glass.
  • At another space station there are a lot of dead bodies with their faces covered in plastic floating in the air.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • An astronaut spins and tumbles through space before finally opening his parachute and landing on the ground.
  • The landing on Mars goes wrong and the captain loses control of the spaceship. The spaceship shudders and the crew are all shaking from the powerful movement.
  • One of the officers on Mars helps to smuggle Roy onto the spacecraft. He must enter a subterranean chamber and swim through the water before entering the spacecraft. As he enters there are sparks flying all around him.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • The buggy that Roy is in, tumbles over sand dunes for some distance before finally landing heavily. The Colonel is injured in this event and must have emergency surgery. (not shown).
  • An astronaut is seen floating in the air on a space station. He has blood on his face. The crew take him back to their spaceship but are unable to save him. They send him out into space.
  • Roy discovers that his father killed all the crew members in his team on the Lima project.
  • Roy attaches electrodes and an intravenous drip to himself.
  • Clifford tells Roy that he never cared for him or his mother or their small ideas.
  • Roy re-enters the Earth’s atmosphere having taken off in a huge blast. His craft is shaking violently when he lands.

Product placement

  • None noted.

Sexual references

  • None noted.

Nudity and sexual activity

  • None noted.

Use of substances

  • None noted.

Coarse language

There is some infrequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Goddamn
  • Hell

In a nutshell

Ad Astra is a fantasy/science fiction movie set in the near future. Much of the dialogue is muted by the spacesuits and Roy narrates a lot of the story as it goes along. It is very slow moving and doesn’t have much of a plot. The movie mainly centres on the relationship between Roy and his missing father, therefore, it isn’t recommended for under 13’s and the violence and scary scenes render it unsuitable to 12.

The main message from this movie is the need for a strong bond between parent and child.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Courage
  • Bravery

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as:

  • Why a man would choose his career above his family.

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