The Astronaut's Wife

THE ASTRONAUT'S WIFE. 1999

Director: Rand Ravich

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



The Astronaut's Wife is a dreadful movie. The preview was cruddy enough but it was way better than the film.

The Astronaut's WifeThe male & female lead seem to have taken Ken & Barbie as their ideal & have zero personality. Johnny Depp has never seemed so lifeless & dull, & Charlize Theron despite several opportunities for hysterics never overcomes empty modelishness.

The premise is the astronaut is possessed by a demon from space & impregnates his wife with twins.

We're never given any clear reason to believe the twins would be evil or ever do anything bad once they enter the world; all we know for certain is the alien father will kill anyone who would try to stop them from entering the world.

The precise danger posed by this alien & his twins is from beginning to end never once established in any comprehensible manner. There are hints that they might be forerunners of an invasion but like everything else in the film, nothing is sensibly established, it's really about the two stars posing prettily.

There are almost no special effects. While that can be a good thing if it leaves room for actors to act, or a story to be told, in the case of a science fiction film with mediocre story, mediocre performances, & no FX, it ends up pretty much with nothin'.

The Astronaut's WifeWhile the astronauts are in space we view their emergency from the point of view of the wives in a dark room together; since they can see nothing, we see nothing.

The highlight of this sequence with the worrying wives is when everyone finds out the astronauts were "completely alone" for two minutes -- oh my god completely alone for two minutes they must have been completely horrified to be completely alone for two minutes.

The script will later on repeat the idea that it was unutterably horrid to be completely alone in space for two minutes & though everyone shivers over the very thought, the audience only goes "what the hell stupid idea is that?"

In one flashback later in the tale, a brief computer-generated space sequence is less convincing than the first toaster FX in films from the early 1980s; the sequence serves only to assure us the FX are missing because they had no budget for them, not because they had a story to tell instead.

In the last few minutes of the film when you finally do see the space-monster (for about seven seconds tops, maybe less) it's rather interesting visually, but it's too little too late to save the film.

A badly played story can make up for its uninteresting acting & dumb plot with lots of visuals & surprises, providing a good carnival ride at least. Or a well-acted film with captivating characters can hold off any dumb "revelation" of horror & show nothing until the last minute or two only, & that can be pretty successful. But the filmmakers withhold both character and event, what's the purpose?

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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