The film Andromeda describes itself thusly “A young man must travel to the furthest reaches of the universe to find his long-lost father.”. The poster shows what looks like a Terminator skeleton and some armoured figures doing battle. Sounds a bit like Ad Astra meets Star Wars doesn’t it? If you decide to watch Andromeda expecting that you’re going to be disappointed. Even if you don’t expect that you’re likely to be disappointed. But we’ll get to that in a minute.
Aiden Crawford (Tim Llewellyn, The Starter Marriage, Fustercluck) is a troubled man, much of that trouble seeming to stem from the disappearance and death of his astronaut father (Paul T. Taylor, Hellraiser: Judgment, Road Head). Then his phone rings, the caller ID telling him it’s from “Dad’s Office”. A brief cutaway tells us that office is at NASA headquarters, and he hops on his motorcycle and drives over for a meeting with Joseph Sharp (Tom Zembrod, High Moon, The Harrowing) and Robert McGrady (Michael Dooley, 2020 Sucks, Bull Shark), two of his father’s colleagues who have quite the story for him.
It seems his father isn’t really dead. Or maybe he is, but his consciousness is alive in a world he created in his mind with the help of alien technology. Or he might be dead there too. But in any case, Aiden’s father had one of the microchips needed to power the equipment implanted in his son’s neck when he was a child and they need him to go in and take a look around.
Writer/director Brett Bentman (The Bounty Men, Apocalypse Road) starts running into problems here. The scene, which for some reason takes place in an empty auditorium rather than an office, is incredibly confusing. Part conspiracy theory including a deliberately faked funeral and part technobabble it’s almost impossible to figure out just what’s going on. But apparently NB22, the world he created using this equipment is real, or at least “As real as you want it to be” as they tell Aiden. It may also be the only hope for saving mankind from the effects of climate change.
Andromeda’s other big problem is that this actually isn’t the film’s main focus until close to the end. A large part of the film’s first hour consists of Aiden talking to his therapist (Genine Ware, Battlegrounds, Ghost Note) about his issues, recalling the last time he saw his father and arguing with Sharp and McGrady about his father and his work. Then he goes back to the therapist with new issues.
Now you get what I meant when I said about being disappointed? Rather than a science fiction film, Andromeda is mostly a drama about a guy in therapy trying to work through issues from his childhood. It’s not what anyone would expect from the poster or the plot description, and it’s not a particularly interesting substitution either.
Eventually, Aiden uses the machine to go into the past and revisit the last time he saw his father and the two have a conversation that convinces him to venture to NB22 and find out what happened. And at this point, Andromeda moves from science fiction to fantasy because it appears his father found or maybe created, Heaven. After he died he was “reconstructed” on a planet that’s paradise just waiting for humanity to colonize it. Of course, those that equate microchipping with the biblical “Mark of the Beast” may come to a different conclusion.
What might have been an interesting low-budget science fiction film ends up being a dull mess that mostly ignores those elements in order to focus on a dull story of childhood trauma. And when it does bring more interesting material to the foreground it can’t coherently articulate or explain them before ultimately discarding them for what feels like a religious revelation.
Andromeda premiered as a Xumo exclusive which may or may not be available where you are. If it isn’t, you’re one of the lucky ones.