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I watched this movie yesterday, and I was hooked to its haunting story till
First I have to say the performances were excellent, Johnny Depp still
surprises me with his variety of roles, I can't imagine he could have done
the hilarious role of Captain Jack Sparrow after this scary
His eyes were acting more than any part of his body and you could feel the slight change in his character through the stillness of his eyes. Charlize Theron gave a better performance than her Devil's advocate role although they had the same criteria, the disturbed wife. But her genuine agonizing performance distinguished her in this movie.
I noticed the music was a major pillar in this movie, it was like another main character in this movie, the editing was great also especially the scene in the subway. The story was an original also, it had good turn ups and twists.
The movie had all the right elements in general and it certainly doesn't deserve a 4.7 on the imdb. I think the voters were greatly disappointed after seeing all those good elements destroyed by the cheesy and typical ending that only producers could have had a part with, in order to make another sequel.
The ending by all means was bad, it destroyed the originality of the story and the tension build up. I give it an 7.5 for all the good elements, it would reached a 9.0 if the ending was different.
There is scene in this movie in which a stroke is medically referred to
as "a severe insult to the brain". A line which describes this entire
film far better than any reviewer possibly could.
Obviously influenced by The X-Files, the first thing that strikes the viewer is the invasive use of tense mood music. If the Astronaut's Wife is opening a fridge there is a string quartet behind anxiously heralding a danger which subsequently doesn't exist. In a TV show like The X-Files it's a trick used to great affect because it's stylistic and the shows exhibit a degree of wit and imagination that relieve us from the pointless tension. Neither of those saving graces feature in this film.
The characters are poorly drawn, we're constantly told Spencer (The Astronaut) has changed since his last mission into space. We need to be told this so often because we're deprived of witnessing very much of his prior personality. And throughout the story Jillian (The Wife) never functions as anything more than a paranoid wreck, even before she suspects that something is really wrong.
Fans of Depp and Theron will be as disappointed as the rest of us. Johnny's flyboy astronaut is utterly out of place since we all know true spacemen are stiff and boring scientists, yet this guy is exhuberant like the barnstorming 1950's test pilots that never really existed. God only knows what hewas thinking with this part. And Charlize, throughout she never lifts above the catatonic. Literally, and I mean this folks, there is nothing more to her performance than the bags under her eyes and hers is the lead character, our heroine for crying out loud! That's beyond appalling.
As a thriller there is never a comfort break in this pretentious sci-fi flick that asks us to care for a character it's impossible engage with. It's non-stop, we're expected to be in the edge of our seat with every single scene, and if the plot doesn't supply the drama a 'bus' (that's the Hollywood term for a false shock) will. They are countless, and soon annoying. The same can be said for the way The Wife is mysteriously at the front of every crowd during key moments of action, which is one of the other cheap dramatic tricks overused by a really really bad director.
Until recently writer/director Rand Ravich hadn't been in charge of a film since this 1999 failure, you'll know why.
Fifteen years ago this was the kind of film that made a frustrated Quentin Tarantino decide he really needed to begin making his own.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What do you get when you mix six parts "I Married a Monster From Outer
Space" with four parts "Rosemary's Baby," "The Omen" and "Village of the
Damned," shake it and stir it, then add "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and
the "Alien" movies as chasers? You end up with "The Astronaut's Wife," a
film cobbled together from so many disparate and familiar sources that the
audience is always ten giant steps ahead of both the plot and the
This shamelessly derivative film, essentially an unattributed remake of "I Married a Monster From Outer Space," stars Johnny Depp, taking one of his rare side forays into straight commercial moviemaking, as an astronaut who experiences a strange, inexplicable two-minute long phenomenon while outside his space capsule and who returns an oddly changed man - though Depp plays both the before and after roles in so similarly deadpan and lowkeyed a style that we frankly cannot see too much of a difference. Charlize Theron portrays Spencer's wife, Jillian, who slowly comes to perceive that all is not true blue with her hero husband.
"The Astronaut's Wife" suffers so fatally from a sense of deja vu that it becomes almost impossible to stay interested despite a yeomanlike performance by Theron who even sports the shorn pixie hairstyle made famous by Mia Farrow, thirty-two long years ago, as she too ran around New York City, desperately searching for answers as to just what diabolical force was incubating deep inside her womb.
This film does provide an admirably dark finale as well as art direction, cinematography and music that create a spare, almost hermetically sealed world, devoid of sunshine and life. Too bad these quality elements are placed into the service of such completely unimaginative material.
THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE / (1999) **
Johnny Depp plays a NASA astronaut named Spencer Armacost who, while on a space mission, losses contact with Earth for two minutes. He and his colleague, Alex Streck (Nick Cassavetes), return home to their spouses, Jillian Armacost (Charlize Theron) and Natalie Streck (Donna Murphy). Bizarre episodes begin to occur with Alex, leaving Jillian suspicious of her husband's condition. As her husband's strange behavior increases, Jillian begins to question what really happened in those 120 seconds.
"The Astronaut's Wife," written and directed by Rand Ravich, poorly executes good ideas. We have imaginative and potentially suspenseful ideas with this film's concepts behind such happenings in two minutes as Spencer and Alex are in galactic boundaries. The gradual increase in Spencer's unusual behavior depicts effective suspense-but thorough introduction of the characters does not take place, nor do we witness the key events in which the rest of the move hinges upon. Consequently, "The Astronaut's Wife" does not work.
The film's first act is full of incidences, characters, and subplots. Clearly too many things happen too early in the story. Within the first thirty minutes the production attempts to develop two separate relationships, shows us the atmosphere of a teacher's workplace, something bizarre transpires out of earth's orbit, a decision is made to resign and move to New York, a suicide takes place, a character mysteriously dies, and probably more. I just couldn't follow the plot.
I liked the eerie, supernatural overtones located throughout the production. The film is smart to reveal the right amounts of information at the precise time. There is also a certain style to "The Astronaut's Wife," containing an elusive mood, a weirdly intriguing design, and some tense and unusual camera angles. The movie becomes more interesting as we reach the closing.
Charlize Theron has been in a lot of movies lately, but "The Astronaut's Wife" is her first leading role. She seems to have come out of left field in 1997 with the comedy "Trail and Error." Afterwards, she contributed larger performances in "The Devil's Advocate," "Celebrity," "Mighty Joe Young," and most recently "The Cider House Rules," and "Reindeer Games." Her role in "The Astronaut's Wife" is a little more complex than her past credits, excluding her enticing and believable acting job in "The Devil's Advocate." She presents the traumatized Jillian Armacost with the perfect blend of zest and tragic confusion.
Depp and Theron conjure a chemistry-rich couple. The movie very clearly takes Jillian's point of view instead of allowing us to know mysteries with Spencer. This stays consistent and focused, but sometimes leaves us pondering about unexplained events.
"The Astronaut's Wife" builds for an awe-inducing conclusion through revealing and intriguing dialogue and an omnipresent undertone. The film suggests a form of extraterrestrial is behind the deaths of several characters as well as the strange behavior of Spencer, but we learn the truth only in the end. Call "The Astronaut's Wife" an unusual "The X Files" episode featuring a cliffhanger conclusion and a supernatural climax. The movie must have appeared really exciting on script. If only more capable filmmakers would have claimed this production we may have had a real winner. Instead audiences feel disappointment and failure, potential is wasted and originality is underscored
Two minutes of lost communication between a space shuttle and home. What went on? The astronaut involved returns, but his wife finds he is not quite the same... This film can be considered a serious blight on the resumes of Charlize Theron and Johnny Depp. I found the film a terrible mess,mostly because a slightly interesting premise, (which had tricked me into watching) disintegrated into adisjointed, incoherent plot and the final blow, horrific special effects. The cast seems to struggle with the script and the scenes of violence and sex are awful and unnecessary. Even the combined talents of Theron and Depp cannot save this bombshell from outer space.
Up to about ninety percent through the film, The Astronaut's seems to be on course to being something special. Leads Depp and Theron are very convincing in their roles and they are backed by a very competent supporting cast led by the always reliable Joe Morton (T2, Speed, Bounce, Paycheck, Smallville). The special effects and cinematography are well done and the pacing and building of suspense entice the viewer to unravel the mystery along with the protagonist. Unfortunately the revelation doesn't quite live up to the buildup leaving the viewer more than a little dissatisfied. Despite the letdown I still recommend this movie on the strength of the performances and on the fact that is a rare hybrid of the science fiction and thriller genres. 7/10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Spencer Armacost and Alex Streck are on a mission in orbit to repair a
sataleitte when NASA loses touch with them for two minutes. After this two
minutes the pair are recovered and return to earth. However Alex dies of
heart failure soon after return and his wife, Natalie, kills herself. Soon
Spencer's wife Jillian falls pregnant with twins and they move to New York
for Spencer to take up a job with a military aerospace firm. However
Jillian begins to have doubts that Spencer hasn't been changed by his
experience doubts that are backed up by NASA scientist Sherman
Playing like a cross between Rosemary's Baby and Contact, this film attracted me to it on the strength that Johnny Depp was in the lead. The plot is interesting as I quite enjoy sci-fi when it is done well, although it maybe doesn't deliver everything you'd expect in terms of thrills. It has a nice slow patient build up throughout the film, we are invited to be unsure if Jillian is losing it or if she's catching on to the reality of her situation. A great performance by Joe Morton helps this uncertainty as he plays a NASA rep who may be unhinged as much as he is informed.
The director uses various tricks to help keep the film feeling tight. Shots flash quickly around the illustrate the panic and confusion in Jillian's head, the camera spins around some key confrontations to make the movement draw out pace etc, but for the most part he has a lowkey tension playing constantly which, for me, worked better than big shocks and scares. The `truth' is revealed a little too early, leaving the film with it's wad blown with still 20 minutes to go, and the climatic confrontation would have worked better with a rant that explains everything in terms of `why' and `who' but the actual conclusion is pretty cool and maybe it's better we're left wondering.
Depp is OK in the lead but not his best work. He only has to walk round looking menacing and talking with the Texan accent and that's it! Theron is much better and she portrays Jillian so well that the audience aren't sure if she's crazy or not. Her gradual descent is well done and helped by the director. Morton is excellent in what amounts to little more than a cameo and the rest of the cast are pretty good.
Overall this is not a perfect film and is really a bit of a hybrid of genres, but it works pretty well. The slow build up of tension works well, even if it bails out before it should. The ending may be slightly unsatisfying but there's no denying it is a brave attempt. I enjoyed it even if I felt like a bigger ending was in order.
I have to say, I always enjoy Johnny Depp's work. He is a chameleon; an
actor who can take literally any role, who can step outside the
boundaries of typecasting. And, his performance in this film is in no
way weaker than any other character; it is merely a role that not many
are likely to recall when asked about him. The film builds decently
enough. Depp and Theron play a married couple, and a significant
element of stress begins to grow on Theron following Depp's events
during an orbital assignment given to his character.
I also like Charlize Theron; my one nitpick is how she seems to always find her way into these 'tormented woman' roles, like in the Devil's Advocate. Her skills are not necessarily hindered by this repetitiveness; I just find it a redundancy she needs to work beyond. Those of you watching this film for a horror-themed thriller are going to be mostly put off. This film really does not rely to such an extent the horror mechanisms; rather it builds the tension through a number of strictly dialogue scenes, using the plot to intrigue rather than scare tactics.
The ending - quite literally, the last twenty minutes, is the only place you're likely to see what may be called horror. I will not give away what happens here; you have to watch it and see. All I will say is that the ending left me anticipating more. That said, my overall opinion is this movie is satisfactory at best, not a true stand out in the annals of cinema history, but certainly not one of the poorest examples of the profession.
Is this the same Charlize Theron from Monster, Prometheus and Reindeer Games? You know, superwoman, who shows men who's boss? The movie's premise: that an energy being, that is as alien to us as energy is to matter, could live inside of a human body, parasitically, makes TRON look realistic. The biggest flaw is the eternal boredom in a putatively scary movie. This is followed by a woman who continues in the relationship apparently needing either the Deity to tell her to get the hell out of there or see the water tentacle come out of him. The latter you will have to wait the entire length of this incredibly boring movie. Yes, I concur with the above great reviewers, this really is a cheap rip off of Polanski's Rosemary's Baby with just enough changes to escape a lawsuit. Spencer is so obviously not himself, from the moment she is reunited with him, the viewer will get progressively more and more irritated with her stupidity and impotence. Then his partner buys it, his wife tells Charlize the truth, before electrocuting herself, does she run then? Nope, she stays with him. More and more disturbing things happen and are done to Theron but she continues to, insanely, stay with him.
The movie has perhaps one scary scene, Nan's murder, Charlize's friend, but that is really not terribly intense, frankly. If you get this expecting Rosemary's Baby, forget it, this idiot couldn't polish Polanski's shoes: he sucks as a director. There is such lack of verisimilitude in Charlize's character. She suspects Spencer's boss; yet, she goes to Baldy's wife for the abortion pills? After Spencer discovers this, gee, where could he have found it out from? She still stays with him. This is the core of why people hate the movie and it dropped like an anvil. Her stupidity is matched only by her cowardice, at the end, pulling her feet up and dooming the entire world because she is such a stupid, clueless, dependent, cowardly fool. This is your heroine? How the actress who did Monster could portray such a weak woman who ends up, theoretically, destroying the world because she is afraid of going through with it and pulls her feet up?
My theory is that the feminist Theron liked the character because she is tortured and set upon by the evil male Spencer. He is so cruel, rapes her, kills her friend and then annihilates and possesses her body at the end. Well, sorry Charlize, audiences just will not identify with the world's most clueless, retarded, cowardly heroine. Look, I am open to other interpretations, try to find one where a feminist actress that plays strong female role models, like the new Mad Max, chose the most pathetic wife in the history of films. I am sorry the only logical explanation is to delineate the horrors visited upon this sweet, clueless idiot by this evil, cruel man. Whatever the ideology, this is the most boring horror movie you will ever endure. Frankly, nothing much happens until the end of the movie. Three quarters of the movie is Spencer acting creepy, with her growing suspicions that a Down's Syndrome patient would have known within fifteen minutes and caught the next plane to Montana.
Creepy music does not substitute for actual scares and a script. Frankly, she may have made some ideological points for her cause but she did real damage to her career taking this role. The premise itself is not clever: the idea that an energy being could live both in the vacuum of space and possess a human body, I found utterly absurd. It really is just an idiot's remake of Rosemary's Baby; he changes it just enough to get away with it. Can you tell he is not Roman Polanski?
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
"The Astronaut's Cowardly, Whimpering Wife". A bland title, a very
atypically bland Johnny Depp, and a story that is too obvious and
A certain Ravich wrote/directed this unimpressive little mediocrity, and I'd be surprised if this guy is going to be making any more movies of a similar type of budget any time in the next couple of decades. What we have here is predictable situations, sudden appearances, a mysterious loss of electricity (which turns out to be nothing to do with aliens - duh!), Theron behaving like an idiot and a coward, and just generally things happening in the last moment that prevent Theron and the suffering viewer from finally finding out the bleedin' obvious: namely, that Depp is an alien.
What is apparent to even the most brain-dead viewer, very early on, is guarded as a top-secret surprise by a director who thinks that he is the only one who saw/read dozens of similar movies/novels/comics about aliens taking over human bodies.
One of the more ludicrous scenes is when Theron refuses to listen to the black ex-NASA guy; I mean, there she was wondering all the time what the hell is wrong with Depp, and when finally someone approaches her with potential answers to the Depp riddle that preoccupy her so, she decides not to listen to him. Duh. She is constantly crying, worrying, sweating with anxiety, but never really does anything intelligent to fight the alien beast. She is therefore annoying. And it's oh-so convenient of Ravich to make Theron have a mental-patient past, so that - very conveniently - no one will believe her when she expresses any kind of misgivings about Depp and his intentions. It's like the kid or the drunk whom no one believes when they see an alien UFO. What a brilliant plot device! It's straight out of the "Idiot's Guide To Making Lousy Movies With Awfully Annoying Dumb Cliché Plot Points".
Depp is neither menacing nor interesting; he is simply bland, and this is his worst role yet. Plus, I don't see why he has to talk like he just left a Tennessee farmhouse for the first time since his Maw and Paw brought him to this world. Apart from the obvious annoying things that I mentioned, the film somehow manages to be continuously irritating, and I can't quite put my finger on what it is that makes this film almost "icky"; perhaps it's Depp, or perhaps it's just bad direction - something intagible.
The ending is one big nothing; she kills Depp, and the alien enters her. How brilliant! And then we are shown Theron some years later - finally with some hair on her head - with the evil alien twins going to school, while listening to alien sounds on their walk-mans. Big deal.
Casting Charlize The(mo)ron, who once infamously said how much she enjoyed Budapest when in Turkey, is ideal for this dumb movie.
If this movie could talk, it would say that Budapest was in Turkey.
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