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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou [DVD]
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Comedy adventure starring Bill Murray as internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou. Steve and his crew, Team Zissou, set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly non-existant Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou's partner during the documentary filming of their last adventure. They are joined on their voyage by a young airline co-pilot who may or may not be Zissou's son (Owen Wilson), a beautiful journalist (Cate Blanchett) assigned to write a profile of Zissou, and Zissou's estranged wife and co-producer, Eleanor (Anjelica Huston). They face overwhelming complications including pirates, kidnapping, and bankruptcy.
In The Life Aquatic, director Wes Anderson takes his familiar stable of actors on a field trip to a fantasy aquarium, complete with stop-motion, candy-striped crabs and rainbow seahorses. And though Anderson does expand his horizons in terms of retro-special effects and a whimsical use of color, fans will otherwise find themselves in well-charted waters. As The Life Aquatic opens, Zissou (Bill Murray), a self-involved, Jacques Cousteau-like filmmaker, has just released a documentary depicting the death of his best friend Esteban, who was eaten by some sort of sea creature--possibly a jaguar shark. Zissou’s troubles also include his waning popularity with the public, and a nemesis (Jeff Goldblum) who hogs up all the grant money. Hope arrives in the form of Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), an amiable Kentuckian who may be Zissou’s son. Despite his lack of enthusiasm for fatherhood, Zissou welcomes Ned--and Ned in turn saves Zissou’s new documentary (in which he seeks revenge on the jaguar shark) in more ways than one.
One of Wes Anderson’s greatest achievements as a director to date has been launching the autumnal melancholy phase of Bill Murray’s career, starting with Rushmore in 1998, and Murray delivers a similarly comedic yet low-key performance here. Unfortunately, Zissou is one of the few characters in this ensemble to achieve multi-dimensionality. Even co-star Wilson doesn’t get to develop Ned much beyond Noble Southerner, and he ends up seeming more like a prop for illustrating Zissou’s emotional development rather than his own man. The Life Aquatic probably won’t be remembered as a great film, but it is still one that no Anderson (or Murray) fan can afford to miss.--Leah Weathersby, Amazon.comSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
It's also one of those films that are about nothing and everything all at the same time. So, at once, it's a fable about friendship, the difficulties (and rewards) of marriage, the insidious nature of professional jealousy, the pain and joy of fatherhood. But it's also about pursuing a dream in the face of ridicule. It's about camaraderie, bravery and foolhardiness.
But, arguably, it's also a critique on the sort of men who never grow up and who, metaphorically, will forever yearn to be the omniscient captain of a boat, venturing to sea to hide from their responsibilities and commitments.
And, then again, it's about the hunt for a great big fish.
Strange and beautiful. Frustrating and mystifying. Elegant and elegiac. Surreal and realistic. All of these things and none of them.
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From the opening shot of the strange cut open boat you should be prepared for something different. There's plenty here to enjoy. The cast is uniformly good and whilst it's not a laugh out loud kind of movie it does manage to be quite funny at times. Too many good performances here to pick out many but Owen Wilson is effectively dorky and Angelica Houston manages to out-deadpan Bill Murray which is quite a feat. Additionally you also have the wonderful Seu Jorge interpreting Bowie songs in all manner of places. Incidentally, if you buy the 2 disc set and you can watch the full performances of each of the songs too.
I really enjoyed this film and freely admit it includes a good many ingredients I enjoy in a movie - some of which I've listed above - and would recommend it to anyone who likes something a little different. It is a slow paced quietly funny film which demands your patience. An acquired taste, but one well worth acquiring.
Steve Zissou (Billy Murray) is a Jacques Cousteau-like marine biologist and explorer, who seems to be baffled by his own species. After the premiere of his newest documentary, Zissou informs the crowd that he intends to get revenge on the legendary Jaguar Shark that devoured his friend. Why? Revenge. So he starts cobbling together a new expedition.
Among the odd ducks who join the expedition are Ned (Owen Wilson) who believes Zissou is his father, a pregnant British journalist (Cate Blanchett) and an emotionally insecure German (Willem Dafoe). Ned and Zissou try to work out their odd relationship as their whimsical Moby Dick quest starts zoning in on the Jaguar Shark.
"The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" has an intriguing beginning and a glorious finale. The middle just lacks a bit of the necessary meat -- it needs a bit more than a whimsical Ahab quest to keep it moving. But Anderson makes up for storytelling gaps, by using his unique style and the quirky talents of his actors. I didn't know Dafoe (also known as the Green Goblin) was so darn funny.
Actually, the whole idea of the movie is pretty intriguing -- Jacques Cousteau with Ahab's revenge thang. And Anderson takes his cinematic quirks and turns them on "high." Dancing fish, Porteguese covers of David Bowie, and pirate attacks take place, surrounded by colorful costumes and impossibly bright settings. The sea never looked so blue.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
there is dry and then there is Bill Murray dry. this is drier than a parched Murray in a desert after eating a bag of salt. Read morePublished 3 months ago by NatchoDoom
Great film afterwards check out his others grand Budapest nr fox DarjeelingPublished 10 months ago by Mr. G. Hayward-smith
Awful film not remotely funny
Don't waste your money
I like Bill Murray I have a dry sense of humour It's a good cast
AND YET....... Read more