If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact

Asteroid City (Wes Anderson)

  • 29-03-2023 5:23pm
    Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭

    I mean, one would presume we all know now what to expect with Anderson's latter-day work, his style basically perfected into something unmistakably his. At this stage minds should be made up, though I'd be lying if I didn't find he has disappeared a little to into the artifice of his little toyboxes.

    As ever, the cast is insanely stacked, with Tom Hanks making his first appearance in one of these films.

    If Jeff Goldblum isn't the alien, I'll be shocked.



  • Registered Users Posts: 31,807 ✭✭✭✭gmisk

    That is definitely the most Wes Anderson-y Wes Anderson trailer I have seen...

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,659 ✭✭✭buried

    Ugggh totally done with this lads incessant central framing gimmick shyte. It's gone to ultra headache stage.

    "You have disgraced yourselves again" - W. B. Yeats

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,667 ✭✭✭✭~Rebel~

    He's nearly becoming a parady of himself now... feels like the humanity that was there (and great) in his earlier films has kinda just been usurped by all the visual and performance rules he's created for himself.

    That does still look an interesting watch though, and a step up from The French Dispatch... I liked parts of dispatch, but as a whole, it was just a bit overly wanky.

  • Registered Users Posts: 84,766 ✭✭✭✭JP Liz V1

    No Bill Murray even in a cameo

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,659 ✭✭✭buried

    Just imagine him dressed in a khaki shirt with blue shorts centrally framed either on a telephone or at some sort of reception desk for two seconds while you watch this thing.

    "You have disgraced yourselves again" - W. B. Yeats

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    Anderson's films have become these gorgeous frosted cakes; really beautiful constructions and each frame legitimately arresting, but increasingly bereft of any pulse or humanity; just all empty calories. Just pure affectation these days. But I'll still watch this cos there are no directors like him either.

    You watch his earlier work and you can just see how despite the framing et al, he still retained a proper sense of character. Fantastic Mister Fox, The Royal Tenenbaums or The Darjeeling Limited still had these strong, emotional characters you were interested in, floating within the whimsy.

    Post edited by pixelburp on

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,047 ✭✭✭HalloweenJack

    I'll be interested, of course, but I struggled with the French Dispatch. I had to remind myself by reading the Wiki entry and I'd completely forgotten whole chunks of it whereas I could probably quote Rushmore, Fantastic Mr. Fox and Grand Hotel Budapest if I thought hard enough.

    My problem with The French Dispatch was that there was just too much crammed in there so if he's going back to focusing on a single story, I'm all for it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,299 ✭✭✭santana75

    He tends to make a belter followed by a couple of mid table efforts then pulling another doozey out of the bag. I suspect this could be a mid tabler

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 29,077 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

    Saw a preview of this tonight. For the record: I'm as unashamedly 'team Wes' as they come, and the deeper he goes into his bullshit the more onboard I tend to be. So keep that in mind when I say: this is **** magnificent.

    I feel like I say it every time an Anderson film comes out, but I love how almost every composition, every whip pan, every aspect ratio change is a little joke or visual pun or running gag. No filmmaker since Tati has made such wonderful comedy out of cinematic language itself. And this is really bloody funny at times, including what may be IMO the funniest sequence in the Anderson filmography (you'll know the one when you see it). Also, I adore the setting, and how unabashedly Anderson embraces the theatricality of the piece - right up to framing it all as a 'play within a film'.

    Was initially not sure about the framing story here, but I think as it progresses it becomes a genuinely moving and uplifting story about the collaborative nature of art and storytelling, and how something special can emerge out of all these people coming together almost by fluke. It also feels like a post-pandemic movie, in the sense of quarantine being such a central part of the 'a-plot', but also that sense of bringing all these amazing people together to just, well, make something. There's also a lot of heart in that 'a-plot' - it's as utterly deadpan and surface-level chilly as any Anderson film, but as it goes on it becomes full of burgeoning romance, surprising kinships, and even a look at people overcoming grief. If you thought French Dispatch was too clinical, there's probably more for you here.

    That said, I'm not sure it'll have the extra-wide appeal of Grand Budapest, and it's an insular-looking film in some ways - there's certainly a sense of Anderson looking at and reflecting on his own creative process, and going deeper than ever on his stylistic eccentricities (it's a cliche to say it's the most Wes Anderson Wes Anderson has ever been... but the man only ever doubles down). There's a lot of film here to chew on, and it's a movie where some a-listers and brilliant character actors get only a scene (maybe even a shot) or two. Like every Anderson film, there's the sense that a rewatch is needed to full process the sheer volume of imagery and gags and - in this case - themes on display. But I for one couldn't get enough of it, and I'd easily put it in my top 3-5 Anderson joints.

    Post edited by johnny_ultimate on

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    I was a bit disillusioned by The French Dispatch and its loose, short story structure; is this a more traditional narrative then in comparison? It sure looks it but I have been a bit slow to jump to see this - purely because Dispatch was a bit of a chore for me.

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Arts Moderators, Computer Games Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 29,077 CMod ✭✭✭✭johnny_ultimate

    Yep, a lot more traditional, albeit with a very large ensemble as well as a framing story that’s running alongside the ‘a plot’. French Dispatch was more an anthology film - this definitely isn’t that, despite dozens of characters needing screen time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,531 ✭✭✭✭OwaynOTT

    Great review Johnny, you have me really looking forward to this now.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,299 ✭✭✭santana75

    Yeah I had the same thoughts on The french dispatch so Im wary of this, as the trailer seemed very "Dispatch-y" so to speak. Anyway I'm going to see it tomorrow so hopefully this'll be less The french dispatch and more Rushmore

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,299 ✭✭✭santana75

    This was Awful. I dont say that lightly as I was a huge Wes Anderson fan, Rushmore being my favorite film of his. But he's Jumped the shark, his films have lost the strong sense of narrative his early films had. The dialogue and pacing were off and the whole thing was just plain boring. The cast is amazing and it looks great but its a strangely hollow film. I Saw Transformers Rise of the beasts a couple of weeks ago and honestly I think that was a better film than Asteroid city. Btw was Jason Swartzman meant to be Stanley Kubrick?

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,034 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I'm not sure whether or not to bother with this. I've some free Vue tickets but I'd some fool sat in front of me for The French Dispatch who couldn't get off her phone. I moved seat after but I still didn't really enjoy TFD. I adored the Grand Budapest Hotel though. The only other film of his is Fantastic Mr Fox which I found quite meh.

    I could see it at the much nicer PictureHouse but they're quite pricey and harder to get to.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Social & Fun Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 37,034 CMod ✭✭✭✭ancapailldorcha

    I didn't enjoy it at all to be honest. I was checking my watch an hour in. Dreary stuff focused entirely on presentation and little else.

    We sat again for an hour and a half discussing maps and figures and always getting back to that most damnable creation of the perverted ingenuity of man - the County of Tyrone.

    H. H. Asquith

  • Registered Users, Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 2,171 Mod ✭✭✭✭Nigel Fairservice

    I've mixed feelings on it. It looked great visually and the performances were good, especially those of Schwartzman and Johansson. Their scenes were beautifully shot as well. Mars Attacks kept running through my head when I was watching this for some reason.

  • Registered Users Posts: 15,504 ✭✭✭✭AMKC

    Transformers Rise of the beasts. Such an underrated film. I seen it last week and honestly it was way better than "Fast X" which was just rubbish and way better and much more enjoyable the "The Flash" which was just boring and predictable.

    Live long and Prosper

    Peace and long life.

  • Registered Users Posts: 14,311 ✭✭✭✭Arghus

    I'm not a major Wes Anderson fan, but I gave this a go.

    It seemed to have all the typical issues I find with his movies: all surface, no depth. Except even more so. A really average film, which might appeal to people who love his aesthetic, but I thought it was totally forgettable. As distinctly average as it was, The Dial of Destiny was a far better cinemagoing experience than this.

    I do appreciate his craftmanship on a technical level, I always have, but I feel that underneath it all there's very little there. It flirts with emotional depth, but that's all it does - nothing really penetrates.

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 11,009 Mod ✭✭✭✭Fysh

    I caught this over the weekend, and enjoyed it a lot. As indicated by some of the posts upthread, it's very much A Wes Anderson Film in style and presentation, so if that aesthetic or general approach to writing and character doesn't appeal to you, this will do nothing to change your mind.

    If you're on board with it, though, it's pretty great. Some very funny moments and good performances across the board. I don't know if I'm necessarily as impressed by the framing story as johnny_ultimate - the main thing I appreciated about it is how it allows for a conversation about a character's motivation at a specific point that we haven't yet seen - but the stories fit together neatly and are never less than entertaining to watch.

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    The more I've thought on it since belatedly watching the film, the more I think The Darjeeling Limited was the best marriage of Anderson's style & some genuine emotional core within the twee and whimsy. You actually felt it was a story about brothers, and that weird sibling-rival-enemy energy, as opposed to an elaborate diorama.

    Maybe Fantastic Mister Fox around second place, for its tale of middle age crisis and ennui - but being animated it kinda let Anderson go more hog wild with the aesthetic.

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 11,009 Mod ✭✭✭✭Fysh

    I think Isle of Dogs is my favourite of Anderson's films, but I haven't seen all of his filmography. I remember being left cold by The Life Aquatic the first time I tried to watch it, and it was The Darjeeling Limited that won me over.

    TDL is an interesting one, in that the core human drama is very foregrounded and in focus, compared to Anderson's usual reserved/WASPy characters (right down to the final scene with its "why make it subtext when you can instead make it TEXT in all caps?" approach to the film's theme).

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,723 ✭✭✭Arne_Saknussem

    105 minutes of saccharin veneered nothingness by Wes 'Quirk for quirk's sake' Anderson.

    A director with nothing to say, and 1 way to say it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 30,667 ✭✭✭✭~Rebel~

    I got a bit more out of this I think... the first 20 minutes were very much classic Anderson, and felt a bit too over-stylized (even for him), with the camera basically working like a rubicks cube (slide down from blue frame to red frame, right from red to yellow, yellow to green, green to blue etc etc).

    But once it got into the meat of the story I actually quite liked that slightly stilted delivery in the context of loss, grief and depression. Schwartzman and Johansson felt like two lost lonely people who have just been holding themselves together for their kids with this numb melancholic resolve, and allowing themselves to get lost in work as some form of escape. Similar with Hanks character, the way the potential conflict with his son-in-law kind of just melts away to do right by his daughter. I also liked the little nod to interrogating its own behavioral ticks through the one kid who keeps asking for dares, learning that behind this quirky trait is a much more basic human need. Everything is heightened of course, 'cause that's what he does - but as long as there actually is something underneath it to heighten, I'm ok with that. And for me, there was.

    Then there's the B-theme which is kind of told across both the regular film and the film-about-the-film, which seems largely to be a version of "if you build it, they will come". To have faith in the process of collaboration, bring as many great people together (whether that's gifted kids, or gifted film creatives), and trust that the magic will happen (giving you a great film, or an encampment escape or alien encounter!).

    Post edited by ~Rebel~ on

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,985 ✭✭✭steve_r

    I like what you've written here, and I would agree for the most part.

    Anderson's style has never fully clicked with me - I love how visually distinct it is, and how his films have their own distinct personality. I think that's really important in a modern era where we have a lot of franchises and reboots.

    He also gets great performances out of his actors, I'm thinking of Ralph Fienes in Grand Budapest Hotel, and he allows his actors to show a range and a different and unique side to them that might not come across in their other roles.

    This film has a sprawling cast, and whilst some of them are amazing, like Schwartzman and Johansen, I think a lot of the cast in this are underused and wasted. I really liked the core story and I would have liked to have seen more of that, in particular Tom Hank's character. There was a real heart to that storyline.

    The rest of the story didn't do a lot for me, the braniac kids weren't given enough time for me to really get to know them, or care. I did feel that it was a waste of an actor like Jeffrey Wright to have him playing such an inconsequential character. I did however like the point about the boy doing dares and thought that was well made

    The "play within a movie" ultimately worked for me - really because of how Schwartzman and Brody sold it. I loved the scene with Margot Robbie and would have loved to see more of that.

    Overall I liked it - I do think there could have been an amazing film there if he left the story at the family dealing with grief, and left out the Asteroid City space stuff.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,256 ✭✭✭metaoblivia

    I really loved this film. I enjoy Wes Anderson's style and have a taste for weirder movies than maybe the average moviegoer. But I also think this may have been a case of the right movie at the right time. I lost a very close friend unexpectedly earlier this year, and am an artist myself, so the themes of grief and moving forward with your art even if you don't understand where it's coming from really hit home. The scene with Schwartzman and Margot Robbie was very emotional for me. I thought there was a good balance of whimsical humor and depth. And then I loved everything about the movie visually: the sets, the costumes, the back and forth between the play and movie. I thought Scarlett Johanson was a standout and wouldn't be surprised if she gets some acknowlegement during awards season.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    Finally got around to seeing this and while I slowly came to hate the whole play in a play in a documentary conceit, I actually quite liked the film overall; more than French Dispatch anyway even if this wasn't hard.

    Every time I come back to Anderson though, I always forget how deft his hand is with humour; and while not a laugh riot there were some great comedic moments between genuine character beats; he uses geography so well, has such a great sense of timing. I was expecting to get impatient with this but it won me over. As always the people had a deadened, neutered quality that can make it harder to relate - Darjeeling and Fantastic Mr Fox remain the most humane for me - but their actual problems felt authentic and bittersweet. Some beautiful reflective lines.

    And with the humour it's easy to forget with all the garbage AI generated meme videos, just how animated Anderson's films are. They're not static creatures at all, the camera constantly panning around the gorgeous sets.

  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 11,009 Mod ✭✭✭✭Fysh

    I got around to reading the Sight & Sound feature about this from the last issue over the weekend. There's an entire section around building the sets detailing how they made the mountains in the background, and detailing how the sets start out as illustrations and are then reverse engineered into full designs. Well worth a read.

  • Moderators, Category Moderators, Entertainment Moderators Posts: 35,941 CMod ✭✭✭✭pixelburp

    That's awesome. I Think the train was a big model too, with the people simply composited onto it?

    On a related note, a YouTube author I quite like, Patrick Willems, did a dive into that semirecent viral video "Star Wars by Wes Anderson", as a segue into a long defence of Anderson's misunderstood style coupled with a rant about the bullshít of AI. I hadn't realised that viral video wasn't just AI generated - but even the idea of the video itself was AI generated.

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Arts Moderators, Regional Abroad Moderators Posts: 11,009 Mod ✭✭✭✭Fysh

    Yep, I found this blog post with photos and videos by the company hired to create the model.

    As it turns out, BFI also have some of the feature from the last issue on their website here, if you're interested.