The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou 2004 R CC

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(673) IMDb 7.3/10
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An oceanographer sets out after the shark that killed his partner.

Bill Murray, Owen Wilson
1 hour, 59 minutes

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Product Details

Genres Drama, Adventure, Comedy
Director Wes Anderson
Starring Bill Murray, Owen Wilson
Supporting actors Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Bud Cort, Seu Jorge, Robyn Cohen, Waris Ahluwalia, Niels Koizumi, Pawel Wdowczak, Matthew Gray Gubler, Seymour Cassel, Antonio Monda, Isabella Blow, James Hamilton, Melanie Gerren
Studio Touchstone Pictures
MPAA rating R (Restricted)
Captions and subtitles English Details
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Instant Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

206 of 230 people found the following review helpful By Craig Matteson HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 30, 2005
Format: DVD
I think if everyone would stop referring to the Wes Anderson movies as comedies we would all be better off. "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" is not about making the audience laugh. Yes, there are times you will laugh, but there are also times you will cringe, and there are other moments for just about everything else. What kind of movie is it? It really isn't something that can be given a single label. Yes, there are all kinds of jokes, but aren't they in the service of something more than simple laughs? Hearing David Bowie songs in Portuguese with an acoustic guitar is not only funny, it is kind of beautiful.

A simple joke is the name of Zissou's ship. The Belefonte is clearly a play on Cousteau's Calypso as are the crew's red knit caps. However, some of the humor is quite tough. Think of the scene with Jeff Goldblum's Alistair Hennessy playing cards with his pirate captors as Steve Zissou comes in the room. What follows is funny, but grim at the same time. Then there is the weird way the inside of the boat is portrayed in a cutaway set that looks fake and is meant to look fake. Notice that the science room is the smallest room on this research vessel. The Sauna is much bigger and all the rooms given over to film production constitute most of the ship.

This movie has a lot of fun with the artificial in documentaries and films. Even the scenes of creatures of the sea are often CGI creations that don't even try to look real. Heck, even the colors in the Zissou documentaries are supersaturated and look like they were done in different colors of ink rather than the ocean. How real is life when you are more concerned about getting everything shot with the right sound rather than living it?
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63 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Cubist on May 10, 2005
Format: DVD
There's always a certain amount of trepidation when a filmmaker like Wes Anderson, known for making intimate and personal films, starts making movies on a more ambitious scale - bigger budgets and movie stars in an attempt to appeal to larger audience - that he will lose all of the qualities that made his movies so interesting in the first place. Easily his most accomplished film, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou merges his stylized dialogue and quirky characters with elaborate sets and action set pieces in an exotic locale.

Anderson's career has been building up to this film. With The Royal Tenenbaums, Anderson was able to juggle a large cast of name stars while still maintaining his artistic integrity. With Life Aquatic, he continues to use stars but has upped the ante in production values and scope. However, he has not lost the intimate feeling that all of his movies possess. No matter how ambitious or big the scale, his films have hand-crafted feel to them. One gets the feeling that Anderson cares about every detail an every aspect and it is this personal touch that makes his movies so unique.

On the first DVD there are nine deleted scenes that feature some nice little bits of business between characters. There is nothing too significant for the most part and these were rightly cut out.

There is a theatrical trailer.

Also included is an audio commentary by Wes Anderson and co-screenwriter Noah Baumbach recorded at the restaurant in New York City where they worked on the screenplay. This is an engaging and thoughtful track as the two men touch upon the film's themes in an unpretentious way.

"Starz on the Set" is a 14-minute featurette.
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Format: DVD
Truth be told...this is NOT a film for everyone - definitely not a mainstream movie. I personally enjoy writer-director Wes Anderson's somewhat eccentric, (bizarre?), style. However, if you watched "Rushmore" and/or "The Royal Tenenbaums" and did not crack a smile, or thought about turning off the DVD player, you should stop reading here. "The Life Aquatic" is not for you. See, how helpful I have been? Now you don't need to read the entire review.

For those of you who have chosen to remain with me, Bill Murray is at his best here - wry, witty, wacky, clever, typically dead pan, totally self-absorbed, and once in a while, comedically tragic...or morosely sentimental! Think of this as a mega-fish story, with Murray as Steve Zissou, a Jacques Cousteau kinda guy. He, just like Cousteau, is an internationally famous oceanographer, who makes underwater documentaries, and wears a Cousteau-like knitted red cap - but Steve's has a pom-pom on top of his. Unlike Cousteau, however, Steve's a pothead. The ship resembles Cousteau's famous state of the art Calypso - but here it is named the Belafonte. Get it? Belafonte used to sing calypso. Hehehe. Well, that's the kind of humor you'll find with Team Zissou. I think it's hilarious...but that's me and this is just a warning. Anyway, Captain Zissou, (whose insignia looks like the Mark of Zorro), and his crew are filming a documentary about "The Life Aquatic." During the film's 1st stage, Part 1, Zissou's partner and close friend Esteban, is devoured by a Great Jaguar Shark, like Jonah and the whale. However, I think the Jaguar Shark, which makes "Jaw's" monster Great White look like a guppy, does a bit more crunching and munching. There's blood in the water! In other words, Esteban is not swallowed whole!
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