Aasteroid City (2023)

Let’s get this out of the way upfront: If you aren’t a Wes Anderson fan, then it is recommended you stay far, far away from his latest film, Asteroid City. Similarly, if you don’t “get” his brand of filmmaking, there’s really no need to waste your time reading any further, as nothing here is going to change that. Whatever it means to you, Asteroid City is all Wes Anderson, all the time! Perhaps more so than much of his previous work.

Asteroid City takes us on a whimsical journey through a dot-on-the-map desert town in the American Southwest. With his signature visual style and meticulous attention to detail, Anderson has crafted a film that is both visually stunning and sometimes emotionally resonant.

Set in the fictional town of ‘50s-era Asteroid City, Pop. 87, the film immerses viewers in a whimsical universe filled with eccentric characters and vibrant settings. Anderson's trademark meticulous production design and painstaking attention to detail always shine through, creating a visually striking backdrop for his story to unfold. Every frame feels like a work of art.


"immerses viewers in a whimsical universe filled with eccentric characters and vibrant settings"

At the center of the tale, co-written by Anderson and Roman Coppola, is grieving young war photographer Augie Steenbeck (Jason Schwartzman) who is struggling to break the news to his kids that their mother has recently died. His family is in Asteroid City to attend the annual Stargazers’ Convention, an organization of youth science prodigies which takes place in the barren Southwest.

It’s not long before the celebration is brought to a halt by an unexpected visitor: an alien who drops from the sky and steals a prehistoric meteorite right in front of their eyes. The resulting hysteria causes the city to be placed on lockdown, backed by a cockamamie excuse contrived by the military. However, as we’ve learned from the Spielberg playbook of precocious teens, the brainiac youngsters concoct a genius plan to get the word to the outside world.

But alas, this is a Wes Anderson story, so it’s not going to be as straightforward as that. We jump to the East coast, where we see Bryan Cranston as himself in a black and white TV studio introducing stage actors who are rehearsing a play called “Asteroid City.” The events we are watching is a play-within-a-play which was never staged. Confusing? Somewhat. Anderson soaks his story in the colorful history and myths of two poles of 1950s Americana: the West and Broadway. Unnecessary? Certainly.Aasteroid City (2023)

This dual-poled story is arguably the weakest piece of this Anderson puzzle, and the entire experience is hobbled quite considerably because of it. It feels unnecessary and even annoying at times as jumping back and forth interrupts the flow at the most inopportune times and distances us from the candy-colored Americana world of the actual Asteroid City. Anderson’s desire to build these two worlds – though a sentiment deeply steeped in the plays of Tennessee Williams and by such stars as James Dean and Marlon Brando – is a failed stretch.

As always, Anderson deploys a diverse cast of characters - far too many to list here, each with their own quirks and motivations. His penchant for assembling talented ensembles, once again, takes center stage with all delivering captivating performances. The characters' interactions are filled with Anderson's trademark dry humor and moments of unexpected tenderness, creating a delightful blend of comedy and heartfelt emotion. This is a Wes Anderson movie through and through.

Another of Asteroid City’s standout aspects is the exploration of existential themes. Never one to take the easy way out, Anderson tackles the human condition in a unique way, using the backdrop of an asteroid city hurtling through space as a metaphor for the fragility of life. He poses questions about purpose, connection, and the value of human relationships, all while maintaining his trademark quirky touch. The result is a thought-provoking experience that lingers long after the credits roll.

3/5 stars

Asteroid City

Blu-ray Details

Home Video Distributor: Universal Pictures
Available on Blu-ray
- August 15, 2023
Screen Formats: 2.39:1
: English SDH, French, Spanish
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: Blu-ray Disc; DVD disc; two disc set
Region Encoding: Locked to Region A

Wes Anderson's Asteroid City lands on blu-ray in a nice little blu-ray + DVD + Digital Code edition from the fine folks over at Universal Studios. Say what you will about the film, but call us a bit disappointed that Universal didn't go to 4K UHD with this one, or at least a more robust blu-ray edition with more bonus material. If ever a film's visuals scream for a 4K treatment, this one is it.

The future certainly holds promise for an eventual bigger release, but for now, we're left to ogle over the film in 1080p. The blu-ray and DVD discs come inside a blue eco-case wrapped by a cardboard slip cover bearing the same cover artwork.

In addition to the film, collector's get a seven minute long Making of featurette. That's it.


The Blu-ray transfer of Asteroid City offers stunning video quality, showcasing intricate details of the cityscape and deep space scenes. The colors pop vibrantly, and the clarity enhances the film's futuristic aesthetic. A visual treat for sci-fi enthusiasts, though occasional graininess detracts slightly from perfection.


On the audio front, the release boasts exceptional audio quality. The dynamic soundstage immerses viewers in the bustling urban environment and the vastness of the setting's open space. From the subtle echoes in narrow alleys to the powerful rumble of asteroid engines, the audio elevates the sci-fi experience to a whole other level.


In addition to the film, collector's get a seven minute long Making of featurette. That's it.


  • None

Special Features:

  • The Making of Asteroid City
    • Desert Town (Pop. 87)
    • Doomsday Carnival
    • Montana and the Ranch Hands
    • The Players

Blu-ray Rating

  Movie 3/5 stars
  Video  4/5 stars
  Audio 5/5 stars
  Extras 2/5 stars

Composite Blu-ray Grade

3.5/5 stars


Film Details

Aasteroid City (2023)

MPAA Rating: PG-13.
104 mins
: Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson
Jason Schwartzman; Scarlett Johansson; Tom Hanks
: Comedy | Drama | Romance

Memorable Movie Quote: "I reckon that alien didn't mean no harm. No, he ain't American. No, he ain't a creature of God's Earth, but he's a creature of somewhere."
Theatrical Distributor:
Universal Studios
Official Site:
Release Date:
June 23, 2023
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
August 15, 2023
Synopsis: Following a writer on his world famous fictional play about a grieving father who travels with his tech-obsessed family to small rural Asteroid City to compete in a junior stargazing event, only to have his world view disrupted forever.


Aasteroid City (2023)