Saturday, February 24, 2007

Astronaut Farmer Review

It took me a while to assimilate just how I felt after the closing credits rolled up the screen for this film. I went into the movie with high hopes and sort of left feeling more... refreshed than exhilarated.

The plot: An X-astronaut (almost astronaut I should say) builds a rocket for space travel then gets in trouble with the government, understandably. Everyone thinks he is nuts and sort of a danger to his family, and sadly, no matter how much we like him, he IS building a huge rocket in his barn 35 feet from his house. So, a dangerous man that makes him. He is about to lose his BEAUTIFUL ranch because he has spent all of his money building his rocket. He can't get the fuel he needs so he concocts some kind of pseudo-jet fuel, tries to launch and fails. Dummy. He almost breaks every bone in his body, nearly kills his family and a few of the press. He survives, goes to the hospital, gets well. Meanwhile, his wife's dad dies and leaves them a bunch of cash. She pays of the debt, sees the light and gives him the money to build another rocket, even though this could leave her a widow and her two girls fatherless, not to mention kill them and others if it crashes into a nearby city... or far off city.

Now, I am no scardy cat. I know life is full of danger. It is dangerous to drive to work every day. It can certainly be risky to follow your dreams but we are talking a man and his son building a rocket out of spare rocket parts... I think after one launch that nearly kills me and everyone I love, I might be tempted to hang up the ratchet and buy a ticket on a Russian spacecraft. Honestly, if the dream becomes a SERIOUS bodily threat to your family and others, I am thinking I might find another dream. No matter how much I just LOVE to juggle nitroglycerin, it’s just not worth the risk. But that kind of realism is not what this movie is about. It is about not giving up on your dreams no matter how absurd. So grandpa's croak-money makes it possible and he launches again, makes it to space, has complications when he flies under a satellite -which would be the equivalent of me driving through the desert and passing by a concession stand (its a mighty big space of there)- drops to the ground somewhere in the middle of the Arizona desert and his wife and kids come to pick him up like he had been out for a stroll and he got lost.

Other things made this movie a tad bit boring for me. The dialogue scenes with the family, while endearing, were about the same kind of things. Cute girls laughing at their sweet dad, mom gazing at Astronaut hubby, and an "I am going to the moon and I am taking..." game. (which is a cool game btw) Not even a surprise appearance from Bruce Willis could spark the fire in the family dialogue, which was like drinking milk when you want a margarita. The one family fight scene actually seemed more like a relief than a stress.

So for all its good ideas and good story line, it was a little.... boring. I would still recommend it for anyone who wants to take the entire family to a movie. Good wholesome story-telling that was a little.... boring. I said that already, but I felt the warning must be double-dosed here.

Astronaut Farmer B-


Stephen said...

A B-? Wow, that's generous. I'm giving it two out of five stars. I thought it was really bad. There were so many things in the story that didn't make sense at all. It seemed like it would be a halfway decent first draft of a script, but would take a lot of work to get to a final draft. But it is what I expected.

I saw it for one reason: Rob Mathes. Rob is a brillant arranger and composer (that I've been in the studio with once, working on Natalie Grant's Christmas CD). His knowledge of classical literature is amazing, and he's a huge fan of Mahler (to the point of always having a Mahler score with him to study when he travels). He mentioned on his website a while back about orchestrating this movie, and writing some additional music for it. So that's why I saw it, and that's the part I thought was great.

Seth Ward said...

I have to say, I was feeling nice reviewing this film. I had just checked my comments and a few of the competing film makers have been creating accounts, logging in, and leaving nasty comments over at my film. So... my perspective was softened. Another day and this sucker would have landed a solid C to C-. I did like the score however. One part with the steel drums was pretty cool. Lovely score for sure.

Thanks for stopping by and reviewing my film btw!

Chaotic Hammer said...

I wonder if anyone else has noticed that when you go to see a movie now and they play all the previews for upcoming movies (which seem to go on and on), it seems like the people who make those previews are better than the people actually making most of the movies, or something.

Meaning, you can pretty much tell what the movie is about, and see many of the best scenes during the previews. Something about how they frame the story makes it seem really exciting, mysterious, must-see. But the movies themselves seem like they are frequently somewhat disappointing. I don't know. Maybe it's just me. Maybe I'm bored with everything they've done, and there isn't any originality.