Wes Anderson: Curiosity Awakens, Exploring Asteroid City
Asteroid city, directed by Wes Anderson takes place in an eccentric and whimsical city built upon a huge asteroid that is floating through space. The inhabitants of the city are a mix of quirky characters with unique quirks. Oliver, a young artist, is on a journey to find the long-lost city treasure that’s rumored hidden deep in the core of an asteroid.
Wes Anderson’s visual style comes through in this captivating environment. The city has been meticulously created and is vibrantly colored, like a science fiction storybook from the past. The buildings, streets, and furniture are all carefully designed to reflect its eccentric inhabitants, while maintaining a retro-futuristic look. Anderson’s visual storytelling creates an engaging sense of wonder, quirkiness, and a unique dynamic of Asteroid City.
Wes Anderson’s latest film Asteroid City This sci-fi comedy follows a family of grieving people who are stranded during a rural US event to observe the stars in 1955.
It’s also the work of fictional playwright Conrad Earp, (Edward Norton), whose writing and dramatization forms the frame story of the film. You may be familiar with the hyper-saturated, expansive shots you see in the film’s promo materials. They are actually from the live, televised production of the play.
You’re right, it’s confusing.
It’s a story inside a tale within a tale where art imitates art. Anderson is obsessed by these framing devices. His last feature. The French Dispatch Each story in the anthology film 2021 represents an article published in the fictional Liberty Kansas. Evening Sun newspaper.
I’ve written about how to write about The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou The fake documentaries produced by Team Zissou (a faux oceanographic collective) often look like they could have been incorporated into the plot of 2004.
Even as far as The Royal Tenenbaums Anderson (2001), depicted his movie as a fictional novel, dividing it up into chapters with a prologue. This framing device has created a feeling of distance that is increasingly apparent, as though the director was consciously trying to separate the viewer. This means that the viewer is able to appreciate the story, but not feel fully invested.
The story is told in a similar way. Asteroid City Anderson’s latest film is his most compelling in the last decade. It is sumptuous in appearance, and a raw emotion constantly threatens to escape from its beautifully composed frontispiece.
Anderson has always had an advantage in the control of his emotions. He can switch between deadpan posturing, and moments of cathartic release. It is found in The Darjeeling Limited Scene from (2007) where the Whitman Brothers let go of luggage in order to catch a moving rail at the film’s conclusion. Steve Zissou’s tears are shed when he asks “I wonder if it remembers me?” He comes face to face with the shark in The Life Aquatic that killed his friend.
Asteroid City contains a few of these sequences at the end of the film, which I will not spoil. But they are the heart of this picture, which is otherwise filled with all the quirks and authorial flourishes you would expect of an Anderson production.
As the film follows different stories, it moves from a 1.37 aspect ratio black and white to widescreen color. These widescreen shots show the characters in a more natural way. Asteroid City Anderson’s work is characterized by pastel shades. Robert Yeoman’s cinematography brings the barren, sparse setting to life.
The small desert village resembles the live-action version a Looney Tunes animated cartoon. Anderson acknowledges this influence directly by having a roadrunner dance to the soundtrack of the film in one scene.
Even by Anderson’s standards, the film features a massive cast. Margot Robbie and Tom Hanks are among the first-timers, while familiar faces such as Willem Dafoe Tilda Swanton and Jeff Goldblum also appear.
Jason Schwartzman is in a major role 25 years after his breakthrough performance in Anderson’s Rushmore (1998). Schwartzman portrays Augie Steenbeck a war-photographer and the reluctant patriarch of the central family in the film.
Scarlett Johansson is the star of the film as Midge, an actress who has also been stranded on Asteroid City following a mysterious incident that placed the residents under a tight and indefinite quarantine. Johansson expertly toes the line between playing up the blank delivery that is often required of lines in Anderson screenplays and the lively curiosity of someone who might exist in our reality – someone interested in a life beyond her immediate surroundings.
The wheels of the film threaten to fall off as events take a cosmic twist. Steve Carell, Liev Schireiber and Richard Hawley, who also star in the film, give some wonderful, understated comic performance.
Asteroid City contemplates grief, the unknown and the way these things can be rendered meaningful through art – in photography, a play and, in a self-reflexive turn, even this film. It’s a breezy film that is full of ideas.
Asteroid City Screenshots from August 5,