Alex Billington’s review published on Letterboxd:
Huh. At least after my first viewing, this is one of my least favorite Wes Anderson films. And considering I love sci-fi and love Wes Anderson, I should've loved this?! But nope. It's an extremely strange, oddly low-key, super nerdy alien encounter parable about... I don't know what? What was that? The most confounding Wes Anderson film yet. So many characters stuffed into a film-within-a-play meta story that only makes it more confusing. That narrative structure really took me out of it, and messed with the flow of the film.
There is no energy, no real narrative, no emotions on display. It's surprisingly quite boring. What happened to the usual spunky Wes Anderson who makes great films that instantly pull you in and keep you hooked and amused throughout? Why are so many scenes in this so quiet, moving so slowly through downbeat, melancholic moments? He barely even uses a score in this one - which is not usual for Wes Anderson. I don't really know what happened. The film doesn't make any sense and there's literally even a scene where a character stops the story to say "this doesn't make sense" as they laugh and joke about it, trying to figure out what is going on in the story.
The weirdest thing about the whole film is that I kept thinking – is Wes Anderson making a film about the pandemic and how he doesn't like lockdowns and how it was all a "government conspiracy"? Don't forget, this was shot in late 2021 right in the middle of the pandemic and the entire cast was sheltered in a "bubble" hotel while filming. The plot does follow this path - they have a strange encounter and are forced into quarantine while the government tells the world nothing is going on until it is leaked to a newspaper by a young Asian reporter. Is this really what he is commenting on...? Or is it something else entirely? I don't even know... Still trying to make sense of this film. Don't know if I (or anyone) ever will make sense of it.