love letter to UFO culture
tables and chairs are established in a crater bathed in green light

A still from “Asteroid City.”
(Image credit: Focus Features)

In her opening statement, Jennifer Lawrence detailed how she auditioned for Twilight and was “immediately” turned down before securing The Hunger Games a year later.

During an appearance on The Rewatchers podcast with Bill Simmons, the No Hard Feelings actress disclosed that she didn’t even get a callback for the part of Bella Swan, which ultimately went to Kristen Stewart. She is content that she didn’t.

She stated, “My life would have been entirely different.” “I assert that the work remains unchanged since I experienced the same emotions that I did when creating Cravings Games.I need to make films in between franchises if I want to be known for more than just one. I was still fighting my franchise-ness because I was still in a franchise.

a poster revealing a long roadway next to a signboard of a big crater with the text
Marketing art for “Asteroid City.” (Image credit: Focus Features)

It’s quite energising to finally get the real deal once more instead of the digital mimicry recently widespread across YouTube, especially in light of the flood of AI-driven tribute trailers mimicking writer/director Anderson’s trademark design of ensemble casts, pastel-colored production style, balanced shot structures, mystical wit, overly-articulate kids, and deadpan discussion shipment.

This charming recreation of a 1955 desert town in the American Southwest features golden sunset vistas, sites of atomic bomb experiments, steadfast cactus, and red-rock mesa landscapes. “Asteroid City” is a beautiful dream in which a sizable meteor crater provides the town with tourists and local fame despite its isolation and distant location.

The familiar classic setting and an unsettling play within a play nonetheless provide enough for a comical play.

Individuals in pastel clothes stand in the desert
Still from “Asteroid City.” (Image credit: Focus Features)

To steal the fabled asteroid that the city of 87 inhabitants is most famous for, a flying dish with an absurd-looking extraterrestrial shows up during the contestants’ celebrations. The teenager brainiacs attempt to build engagement with the outdoors as the restrictions stretch on without an end in sight and the adults quarrel. This event prompts a quick military quarantine of the entire area, trapping all its assortment of eccentric personalities.

In terms of architecture and construction, “Asteroid City” is somewhere between “Moonrise Kingdom” and “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou,” and maybe even a touch above “The Darjeeling Limited.”

Beyond the Looney Tunes-style UFO that appears on this event of discovery to start panic in motion, its lively tiny piece of wonderful recollections that will keep certain viewers laughing do not disturb its core themes of existential anxiety and reflections on death.

individuals in white threat matches deep underground in a crater
Continuity from “Asteroid City.” (Focus Features credit for image.)

In a black-and-white synthetic documentary for an older teleplay also titled “Asteroid City,” presented by a stylish Bryan Cranston in the style of Rod Serling, the alternative story framing the main storyline discovers phase stars in these precise roles back in New York.

Longtime Anderson collaborator and Oscar-nominated cinematographer Robert Yeoman provides the recognisable structures (shot on vintage Kodak 35-mm film) that the Texas-born auteur filmmaker is remembered for. Yeoman’s work features a wealth of striking tracking shots, close-ups, and sweeping horizontal pans, all of which were managed to a moving score by Academy Award-winning composer Alexandre Desplat (“The Grand Budapest Hotel,” “The Shape of Water”).

In this dust-covered wasteland that is overflowing with Golden Age sci-fi clichés like jetpacks and ray guns, the shallow façade of post-war America with its easy country life and true values is shook to its very foundations. It’s a very dry cinematic martini that was freshly made from an automated dispenser and consumed as a soothing soother for anxiety just under the shifting sands of existence.

a guy beings in a station wagon on a lift
Continuity from “Asteroid City.” (Focus Features credit for image.)

Additionally, “Asteroid City” is just pure seductive escapism that lowers oh so effectively, much like Wes Anderson’s collage of complex personalities and their fascinating reflection on mankind’s cosmic function and their goal to leave.

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Jeff Spry is a well-known screenwriter and a seasoned freelance journalist who covers television, movies, video games, books, and comic books. His work has really been published elsewhere, including SYFY Wire, Inverse, Collider, and Bleeding Cool. Jeff lives in charming Bend, Oregon among ponderosa pines, vintage muscle cars, a crypt of creepy comic book collectors, and two devoted English Setters.

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