In order to truly appreciate one of Wes Anderson‘s films, I feel that I have to mentally prepare myself f. In Asteroid City, this whimsical journey to a town with folks living their life from Leave it to Beaver won’t be for everyone. When there’s some added conspiracy elements added on top, I had to make sure I was truly following along instead of watching it while doing a few other things.
There’s a lot of story going on, and I wasn’t sure where to focus my attention.
Although the concept of a theatre presentation of a story within a story is nothing new, the way this film flips back and forth between subplots was jarring. The story would’ve been better without the added framing devices. And as for when the UFOs will appear and how this township deals with alien visitation, that depends on when it’ll happen. Not even by this film’s midway point is this goal made clear, and by the climax, I’m wondering what this director was going for since the quest for a close encounter of the 5th kind wasn’t made all that clear.
Maybe that’s because I’m more deeply invested in wondering when that will happen in modern day society. Perhaps Anderson’s attempt at the same subject in the past is more revolutionary than anyone realises. Humanity is not ready. Although what’s witnessed by this town’s residents were from afar, the ramifications still speak volumes in regards to how we may react as a society. Instead of going into detail about the film, I’ll be focusing on the bonus features.
Thankfully what he reveals helps make this film a lot more enjoyable, and it’s a pleasure to put on my shelf alongside my other favourites, namely The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and (The) Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Although it took many months for me to get in the right headspace to watch this film, I’m glad I got the home video release to understand the finer points. The bonus material contains a lot more information that helped me appreciate this work more, and without it, I most likely would’ve eventually gotten around to watching this film.
On home video, the presentation is gorgeous. Asteroid City is best viewed in dynamic mode (the option may be differ, depending on manufacturer). The saturated colours look very beautiful in this mode, and the 2.39:1 presentation is superb–despite some switching to the 1.37:1 black and white moments to the theatrical show in this film, it’s not as jarring as some think. After a while, you just get used to it.
Ultimately, this film is the type of work you want to do some research on, before diving in. It’s like fine wine, and to appreciate all the notes requires spending an afternoon or evening with it, and just smile. It is more than an a piece of art when considering its visual style. It’s also a fantastic trip down memory lane.
5 Stars out of 5