Pastel colors and cartoon characters in Wes Anderson's 'Asteroid City'

Wes Andersson's Asteroid City premiered at Cannes to a standing ovation on May 23 at the the Grand Théatre Lumière. Featuring an ensemble cast shot during August and October 2021, the film is set in 1955 where 3070 years ago  an asteroid fell to earth in the US southwest desert populated by saguara and mesas. To commemorate this landing, Asteroid City is home to the national Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention attended by parents and students on annual Asteroid Day. It is also the site of a US government astronomical observatory.

As a huge dark grey mushroom cloud appears in the horizon, the visitors to Asteroid City become subject to a lockdown.  The threat of an event eclipsing the atomic testing of the 1950's sends the guests into panic.  

The look and feel of the film is almost cartoon like bleeding the faces and clothing of the actors into soft pastels. The aesthetically pleasing aspect of the film also features visual effects by CG artist Tharun Joseph Abraham. Asteroid City is a live action film with animated aspects. The stars serve as cartoon caricatures unlike the animated characters of Isle of Dogs. Scarlett Johansson found the space of the film set theatrical and other actors compare it to a stage play. Brian Cranston likens it to a symphony and such references may come to mind because of the ensemble cast of A list actors some of which have parts playing actors.
Unlike many of the films that you will never be able to see in a theater near you at Cannes , the pull of major actors in one place in Wes Anderson's new film created  a vortex of instantaneous applause and star-frenzy on its debut May 23. You won't have to wait long to see Asteroid City.  Star wattage drives the film along the tracks like the cover of Freight Train sung by Elizabeth Cotton accompanying the trailer. The  film was shot during the pandemic in 2021. It meant losing a Wes Anderson regular Bill Murray who contracted the virus during the shoot.

© 2023 - Moira Jean Sullivan -  Date: 05/24/23
Movie Magazine International