On my way out of ASTEROID CITY, I overheard a couple discussing the film.
Guy: “At first, I thought I understood it, but I realized I had no idea what was happening.”
Woman: “Yeah, but that’s so Wes Anderson. His movies are like a fever dream.”
For me, I’ve realized that I’m not smart enough to get Wes Anderson. And I’m 100% okay with that. ASTEROID CITY feels like what would happen if generative AI made a Wes Anderson film. It has every character talking the same, weird happenings, a complicated structure for a simple story, an all-star cast, and Anderon’s unique visual style. These ingredients should be enough for some to give the film a mild recommendation. However, the overly-sophisticated feature lulled me to sleep.
I’m the first to admit that I’ve enjoyed several Wes Anderson films that have whisked me away to his imaginary world-building. I love his earlier work, including BOTTLE ROCKET, RUSHMORE, AND THE ROYAL TENENBAUMS. Heck, I even liked ISLE OF THE DOGS and thought FANTASTIC MR. FOX is the best Roald Dahl adaptation of all time. Yet most of Anderson’s newer material has been more concerned with vignettes than focusing on the overall story. In ASTEROID CITY, there are some extremely clever vignettes (including “Jeff Goldblum”) and a plot revolving around a recent widow. Sadly, none of those vignettes add up to more than a “fever dream.” Something I don’t want to experience or remember once I’m awake.
ASTEROID CITY is available in theatres now.