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Audi pays tribute to David Bowie in Super Bowl commercial

Audi's Super Bowl 50 ad features a retired astronaut who rediscovers his lust for life. (Video: Audi)

The product: Audi R8 V10 Plus

The premise: A retired astronaut is couchbound and depressed. He once walked on the moon, but now he barely even looks at his bland dinner. His son comes to check on him, and knows exactly how to snap him out of his gloom: They hop in the son’s Audi A8, which can go up to 205 miles an hour. Cue David Bowie’s “Starman” and CUE THE FEELS. Shots of the car are interspersed with a younger version of the man boarding his rocket and taking off, and you can see the elderly astronaut coming alive again through this brief taste of speed.

The verdict: Yes, this commercial gets an extra punch from the recent death of David Bowie, but one suspects it would have been just as impactful even if Ziggy Stardust still walked this earth. The song, of course, is great, and the then-and-now scenes are perfectly edited. But there’s a real melancholy that comes from watching a man whose best days in life have already passed by, and a resolution in watching him be his younger, courageous self again. All because of a car. It’s among the most heartwarming ads of the game this year — and it doesn’t even have a puppy in it.

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Super Bowl 50: Complete coverage

Watch the 2016 Super Bowl commercials