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Old 06-27-2004, 03:39 AM
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Default Astronaut's Wife, The




Reviewer: Dave
Review Date: February 12, 2000

Released by: New Line
Release date: 2/8/2000
MSRP: $24.98
Region 1, NTSC
Widescreen 1.85:1 | 16x9: Yes



The Story

inline Image Commander Spencer Armacost (Johnny Depp) is an astronaut for NASA. During his most recent mission contact is lost between the astronauts and NASA for two minutes. When the astronauts arrive back to earth they are immediately rushed to the hospital for numerous tests. Alex Streck, the astronaut who was up in space with Spencer, barely survived the ordeal and space and has to be recessitated by doctors. Both Commander Spencer Armacost and Alex Streck come pass all test performed on them and come through with a clean bill of health. They are sent home with their wives to continue living their lives. Both tell their wives they remember nothing from the ordeal.

inline Image Things begin to get strange. Spencer informs his wife Jillian (Charlize Theron) that he has accepted a job in New York as an executive at a jet design company. Jillian is perplexed by this since Spencer has always said he'd fly forever. Being the loving wife she is, Jillian quits her job in order to move to New York with Spencer. At Spencer's farewell party Jillian observes Natalie and Alex Streck arguing at their table. Soon Alex collapses and ultimately dies. Days later Jillian discovers Natalie in the shower, she commited suicide by taking a radio into the bath.

inline Image Jillian discovers she is pregnant and shortly after discovers she is pregnant with twins. What first turns out to be happy news becomes a nightmare. Jillian begins to see the changes in her Spencer, from his not wanting to fly anymore, his rough sex with her and the distanceness about him. Soon Jillian is approached by NASA scientist Sherman Reese (Joe Morton). Sherman tells Jillian something she already knows, that Spencer has changed and something is very different about him. He tells her that the autopsy on Natalie Streck reveals that he was pregnant with twins as well. Something happened up there that changed Spencer and Alex, and both Jillian and Sherman know this. Before Jillian and Sherman can meet again to discuss what actions to take, Spencer meets up with Sherman to take him to lunch and after that Jillian never sees him again. Having only a video left by Sherman, Jillian must decide whether to kill her babies, herself, or battle the possessed Spencer.

I've become a big fan of Johnnpy Depp recently. He's been in so many great movies and has given us a lot of great performances. While he does fairly well in The Astronaut's Wife, a weak script and a poor performance by leading lady Charlize Theron (Jillian Armacost) really bring the movie down. Too much time was wasted on watching Charlize's character wrestle with her emotions and struggle with the environment around her. I suppose given the title of the movie this is to be expected, but as mentioned earlier Charlize doesn't give a great performance here. Her character isn't very convincing and I believe a better actress would've really helped make the movie more enjoyable. More time should've been spent in some of the outer space scenes and developing Johnny Depp's character. And I sure wished they would've shown whatever possessed the astronaut's in its native form, which unfortunately never happens. Special effects were basically zero in this film, and I had hoped for more.

Image Quality

inline Image New Line Cinema presents The Astronaut's Wife letterboxed at 1.85:1 in a 16x9 enhanced transfer (packaging indicates 2.35:1 but that is an error). An extremely clean transfer from New Line, which we've all come to expect from them. Grain and blemish free, this tranfer boasts sharpness and accurate colors through the entire film. The blacks in the few outer space scenes were clear and solid.

Sound

The sound on The Astronaut's Wife is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1. Rears don't get much use as there are few action scenes, but during the action scenes there's definitely activity from all speakers. Sound was crisp, clear and distortion free through the entire film.

Supplemental Material

inline Image Not much here. Just a trailer along with cast and crew filmographies. DVD-ROM users will find the screenplay with scene access, web links and a "Lord of the Rings" web browser.

Final Thoughts

Beautiful audio/video presentation to a fairly poor movie. Perhaps worth a rental for some as long as you go in knowing what to expect (i.e. no special effects, poor character development), but I think most people will agree this one isn't going to fall into many of our collections, especially at an MSRP of $24.98 with basically no extras

Rating

Movie - C
Image Quality - A
Sound - A-
Supplements - C

Technical Info.
  • Color
  • Rated R
  • 1 Disc
  • 19 Chapter Stops
  • English Dolby Digital 5.1

Supplements
  • Original theatrical trailer
  • Cast and crew filmographies
  • DVD-ROM: Screenplay with scene access
  • DVD-ROM: Web links
  • DVD-ROM: "Lord of the Rings" web browser

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