Ascension (2015)

by | Oct 25, 2015 | DVD & Blu-ray Video Reviews

Ascension (2015)

Cast: Brandon P. Bell, Brian Van Holt, Tricia Helfer, Tiffany Lonsdale, Jacqueline Byers
Video: 16:9 color
Audio: English DD 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH
Studio: Lionsgate (10/13/15)
Extras: “Ascension – a Behind-the-Scenes Look,” Previews
Length: 232 min.
Rating: ****

In 1963, at the height of the cold war, President Kennedy supposedly helped launch a huge interstallar spaceship known as Ascension with about 600 people on board to travel, using technology of the time, on a century-long journey to another supposedly liveable planet to continue the human race. Sort of the saviors of mankind. The series takes place after 51 years of the 100-year mission, when the mission is theatened by a domestic murder.

The series is divided into three parts. In the first the developer of the project is shown as being harrassed by a man who somehow knows about the project and he pretends to know nothing about it. A beautiful girl on the ship is shot and an up and coming black soldier is given the job by the captain to find the murderer. By the second part in the series, it becomes obvious that the Ascension is still on the ground on earth, space around it is projected, and the whole project is really an experiment in controlling these 600 people’s lives, but they don’t know it. The style of life in the spaceship has been characterized by one reviewer as “Mad Men in outer space.” It is never explained how the initial launch was faked to the 600 original people.

One of the young girls on the spaceship has developed amazing psychic powers and becomes the main interest of the outside experimenters. One of the dissenting workers in the hold escapes the entire ship and enters the outside world with the help of an outside woman has has been hired to find the murderer. Several violent things occur in the third part, including an attempted abduction of the girl, and explosions cause by an underground faction on the ship who believe the whole thing is a lie. It ends rather up in the air, but it is obvious that eventually the 600 people will all learn they haven’t gone anywhere at all in space. As one of the actors says in the Behind-the-Scenes documentary, you don’t know what’s going to happen next. But it seems so much more could be done with the plot and characters, and now that the DVD is out, maybe it will. What turns might the drama take with 49 years yet to go?

—John Sunier

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