Rating: Rated "R"
Back in the communist-plagued and terror-haunted 1950s, a number of low-budget sci-fi films played on the public's paranoia with entertaining features including the still-notable "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" and the less-successful "I Married a Monster from Outer Space." From 1958 this second movie starred Tom Tyron and Gloria Talbott about a man possessed. It was fast, with minimal special effects and, for its time, very well done--and still entertaining today.
Now enter the end of the century with "The Astronaut's Wife," starring Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron in a slick, colorful, full-of-special-effects remake about two astronauts caught alone out in space for two minutes and being involved in an alien transmission, the results being their DNA is subtly changed.
This movie was released without critic previews so everybody thought it would walk like a duck and bark like a dog but it's a lot better than the producers thought. It's just not going to drag millions of viewers into the multiplex.
The problem is that little in the film is new or cutting-edge. Johnny Depp is good, as always, this time lending a distinct air of creepiness to his being one of the NASA men that harbors an alien presence, an entity that wants nothing better than making his/their wife, Jillian (Ms. Theron), pregnant. You should remember her in another wife role back in the terrible "Devil's Advocate."
As the story moves along, one astronaut dies a terrible death, and Depp as Spencer Armacost leaves the service and joins a multinational firm that is manufacturing a new line of ships to go off into space and, of course, you know what will be coming back in the cargo holds. And his wife is now pregnant with twins (they do so closely resemble the embryo in "2001").
It's certainly entertaining but at the end, what to do? I won't divulge the ending but believe me warnings to patrons about not giving away the surprise ending are not needed here.
"The Astronaut's Wife" is 100 minutes and rated "R" for a number of very sexy scenes.