July has a plethora of eagerly anticipated film productions making their way to the film circuit, from Barbie to Oppenheimer, but perhaps none more so than Asteroid City, the up-to-the-minute film production from Wes Anderson which follows the release of The French Dispatch.
An Out-Of-This-World Storyline
It's set during the 1950s inside the film’s titular, fictional desert town, where students and their parents gather for an annual stargazing convention. This being an inimitable Wes Anderson creation, there are of course, greater things at play, from the appearance of a UFO, which an alien emerges out of to purloin a piece of the meteorite which landed 3,000 years ago to a movie star getting ready to once again take to the stage after a period of personal misfortune.
"I have a funny feeling that this move might be one that benefits from seeing it twice" explained Anderson to Entertainment Weekly. “When somebody doesn’t like a movie, it isn’t exactly their first instinct to say, ‘I’ll watch it again’. But you much have to see it once just to get the whole idea of it. Then the second time, you might be able to just experience it more than the first time — if there is a second time.”
The Outlandish Costumes
For eager spectators of Wes Anderson’s film productions, the fantastically extroverted hues and symmetrical landscapes which they invoke are decisively conspicuous. With these two attributes also, perhaps slightly more inconspicuously, determining the ensembles the characters don. This time, it has materialised through, straw bowler hats, pastel shirts, electric trousers and cat eye sunglasses.
A Spectacular Cast
Another central characteristic of American filmmakers' productions, is its featuring of an impressive array of actors and actresses. When it comes to Asteroid City, they include Tom Hanks, Scarlett Johansson, Bryan Cranston, Margot Robbie, Adrien Brody, Maya Hawke, Willem Dafoe, Tilda Swinton, Matt Dillon and Jeff Goldblum. On his choice of casting, Anderson also illustrated that he carried the ambition for each of the cast’s on-screen personas to be reflections of their real-life selves, "What I intended is that the people telling the story are a part of the story, and they’re taking everything from their lives that they do and don’t understand and trying to make something out of it and find answers — or at least explore the right questions."
So far, the reception from critics and movie-goers has been varied, to say the least, American film critic Richard Brody wrote in the New Yorker, "the notion of a perfect movie is absurd, but some movies attain an ideal synths of the director’s body of work. Wes Anderson’s latest, Asteroid City is one such film. Although it reflects the same impulsive outpouring of creative energy as his other great movies, this one involves a singular balance of his prime themes, styles, ideas, and obsessions – a sense that he’s taking a few steps back from his cinematic canvas and recalibrating the relationship of his art, and of himself, to the world at large."
Whilst his English counterpart Mark Kermode explained "Big-name cameos come and go (Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Margot Robbie, a washboard-wielding Jarvis Cocker), but when Slim Whitman’s Indian Love Call popped up on the soundtrack, I felt a longing for the indulgent chaos of Tim Burton’s Mars Attacks! "You can’t wake up if you don’t fall asleep," chant the cast. For some viewers of Asteroid City, I doubt that will be much of a problem."
Wes Anderson's Asteroid City is now in cinemas.