The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
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INTERNATIONALLY FAMOUS OCENAOGRAPHER STEVE ZISSOU & HIS CREW SET SAIL ON AN EXPEDITION TO HUNT DOWN THE MYSTERIOUS, ELUSIVE - POSSIBLY NONEXISTENT - JAGUAR SHARK THAT KILLED ZISSOU'S PARTNER DURING THE DOCUMENTARY FILMING OF THEIR LATEST ADVENTURE.
"Aquatic maintains its buoyancy throughout." -- Glenn Kenny, PREMIERE MAGAZINE
"Bill Murray is a master of comedy .... a modern day Charlie Chaplin!" -- Clay Smith, ACCESS HOLLYWOOD
"The giddily unhinged black comedy can be outrageously funny." -- Thelma Adams, US WEEKLY
"The movie is easy on the eye. Its aqua-heavy in costuming and overall color scheming." -- Mike Clark, USA TODAY
"Wes Anderson is one-of-a-kind, and so is his latest film: quirky, funny, and full of surprises." -- Leonard Maltin, ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT
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I grew up on 16mm science films in grade school, loved the Jacques Cousteau TV documentaries, and later worked on sports-related 16mm documentaries myself. So...cheezy, low budget 16mm docs are in my blood. Frankly, this film nails them perfectly. And it nails the kind of people who are driven to make them as well. Every character in this film resonates with me.
Anderson has a knack for getting characters much older than himself right. (Royal in Tennebaums, the mom in Darjeeling, Steve Zissou here, etc.) I can say that with some confidence because I'm close to the age of these characters. In this film, Steve Zissou has a Don Quixote quality. The sheer force of his illusions carries him forward...while his family and co-workers recoil in horror.
I give it 5 stars, but I can't give this film a blanket recommendation. Anyone who is either too young to understand the 16mm film genre might not relate to the humor or story telling here. It's worth checking out the trailers on youtube to take your own temperature.
Bill Murray is brilliant (as usual) as the title character. A great cast that does an equally fantastic job. Angelica Houston, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Owen Wilson (as Kingsley 'Ned' Zissou),Cate Blanchett and Seymour Cassel as Esteban.
(Esteban was eaten! Esteban was BITTEN? No, eaten. Swallowed whole? No, chewed!)
Although he has only a few lines, Bud Cort as the 'Bond Company stooge' is hilarious. I've also grown to love the strange soundtrack heard in this film. It's almost an Anderson trademark.
I am taken back to the days of the old Jacques Cousteau shows of the 60's and 70's; I'd love to get my hands on the publicity posters of the 'Zissou Films' shown in the film. Plus a kind of a nod at the end to The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai; Across the Eighth Dimension.
This Blu-Ray is fantastic! The colors are as sharp, bright and clear as you get, a superior job with this one. Criterion really knows how to give these releases the full treatment.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou follows the title character, a deep-sea diver, on a revenge quest to find and kill the shark that murdered his longtime diving partner and best friend, Esteban. He decides to make his revenge scheme his next big documentary, and takes his film crew with him. Along the way, a longtime fan named Ned Plimpton (played by Owen Wilson) who believes that Zissou is his father, decides to tag along with him, hoping to get to know and become closer friends with the famed oceanographer.
There are a lot of memorable characters in The Life Aquatic, as is usually the case with Wes Anderson films. Willem Dafoe has a lovely role as Klaus, the German sailor in the crew. Also included are stellar performances from the likes of Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, and Bud Cort. There's also an awesome musician who sings Brazilian translations of David Bowie songs while playing a guitar, and a lot of awesome things happen throughout the film, not limited to being overtaken by a pirate crew.
Bill Murray is simply badass in this film. I literally can't think of any other way to describe how he is in this. I dare say that it's his best role, and I really don't know what I'm going to do with my life after he is long gone. I suppose the very foundation of cinema will crumble, wither away, and die, and we will be left with no real new films anymore. I'm being facetious of course, but you all know what I mean. Bill Murray is a delightful actor, and he has some of the most memorable roles I've seen. Steve Zissou is one of, if not his actual best role in his career thus far. An underrated masterpiece.