The Astronaut’s Wife

January 28, 2012 6 Min Read

Review by: Fusion3600

Plot: What’s it about?

Spencer Armacost (Johnny Depp) and his wife Jillian (Charlize Theron) have a dream relationship, deep in love, and always in close contact. As close as they are, just two minutes will change their lives forever. You see, Spencer is an astronaut, and during a mission, contact is lost for two minutes. It’s just two minutes, right? Sometimes lives can be changed in just 180 seconds, as Spencer and Jillian are about to find out. Soon after Spencer returns, he starts to behave in an unusual fashion, leaving Jillian wondering what is causing this behavior. Jillian, now pregnant, notices more and more strange antics from her husband, and her suspicions build. To Jillian, it’s as if her husband never came back from the mission, and a different person took his place. but is her fear just paranoia, or is did those two minutes affect Spencer more than anyone could know?

This movie was very coldly received at the theaters, so I was anxious to see how it played at home. I admit that I saw the film theatrically, and enjoyed it, but the movie is meant for home video, it’s just not a theater movie. Now, this movie seemed like sci/fi in the trailers, but it’s really not. It’s more of a thriller than anything, with great tension. While the storyline isn’t the most complex one, it’s decent enough to hold my attention. The movie has a very slow, build up, so short attention spans need not apply. The movie revolves around, as the title says, the wife, and how her life changes after the strange accident. So, while Johnny Depp is featured, Charlize Theron is the real star. This is not your average thriller in style though, the sets are excellent and the camera work is amazing. In short, this movie is visually stunning, and that alone warrants at least a rental. Need a good thriller? This is your disc!

As I mentioned above, Charlize Theron is the main focus of the cast, at least in terms of exploration. Theron (Devil’s Advocate, Trial and Error) actually does some good acting in this movie, which surprised me. I expected her to play eye candy only, but she comes through with some nice depth and skill. While I think certain areas should have been better explored in the character, that’s the script’s error, not hers. Before I discuss Depp, I must admit, I don’t care for this guy’s work. Early movies of his I liked, but as he became more dependent on dark roles as a living, I lost interest. Depp (Cry-Baby, Sleepy Hollow) gives his usual performance, passable, but lacking, or at least I think so. To me, unless his buddy Burton is directing, this guy gives paycheck performances. If you are a fan however, I’m sure you’ll be pleased with his work here. The supporting cast is quite good, featuring Tom Noonan (Heat, Phoenix), Donna Murphy (Jade), Blair Brown (Altered States), Joe Morton (Speed, Blues Brothers 2000), and Clea Duvall (She’s All That).

Video: How does it look?

As usual, New Line has issued an outstanding visual transfer, and this is one is even better than their usual output! The movie is presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, although the packaging lists the ratio as 2.35:1. So, don’t think you got a bad disc, the correct ratio is 1.85:1. The image looks excellent, crisp and sharp, one of the best overall transfers I’ve seen. Since the film was brought to home video shortly after it left theaters, the print is pristine, with few mars or nicks. As I talked about above, the movie has some great visuals, including some unique color and lighting use. As such, I expected the disc to ensure the visuals looked impressive, and believe me, they are impressive! The colors are streaming with vibrance, but even at their most colorful, remain free of bleeding or other errors. Also looking sharp in the color areas are the metallic tones, which look awesome here. Black levels are correct and sharp, detail is high as well. How about compression errors? There aren’t any.

Audio: How does it sound?

The audio on the disc is presented in 5.1 surround, and it sounds very good. Usually dialogue drives the film, although some scene show some serious activity. Also, some very eerie, more subtle effects surface, to help set the mood. The end sequence should produce some good audio for you to enjoy, although the speakers never really light up in this movie. It’s not the fault of the mix, the movie is just not focused on audio. Dialogue is excellent, always audible and consistent.

Supplements: What are the extras?

You get talent files, the theatrical trailer, and some DVD ROM features. The ROM goodies include web sites links, interactive screenplay, and a web browser themed around “The Lord of the Rings.” [Editor’s Note: There are also three or four hidden trailers in the cast and crew bios…]

Disc Scores