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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.
Yes it's quirky and yes it is very funny, but it is also a very emotive film. I don't cry often, being a big butch man, but this film has made me cry - twice. (The only other film that has succeeded in doing this is the big lebouski, when they scatter Donny's ashes).
So, if you like to laugh and like your films shot with imagination with very real characters, no matter how unbelievable the situations they are placed, then watch this film.
Watching this film really is quite a unique experience, especially coupled with such a brilliant soundtrack that adds to the emotion and the atmosphere of the film without taking over or being a distraction - Seu Jorge (who appears in City of God) and his guitar on the deck of the Belafonte are wonderful - Bowie translates well into Portuguese! Bill Murray and the rest of the cast are without fault making it is easy to empathise with each character. There are many laugh out loud moments and a great sense of humour which incorporates slapstick, verbal and visual elements as well as more touching scenes, sometimes making an unusual combination. Indeed, the world of this film is somewhat removed from ours.
I don't buy DVDs for the extras and really the medium of the film is irrelevant to me - I just like to see the film! I will be buying this one when it comes out - in fact I've been waiting for it... I only wish more films with such an individual approach, such warmth, wit and humour made it to our screens. Watch out for the little red hats!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
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
It's in the 'Marmite' category - one either loves or hates it. Unfortunately in my opinion it is in the latter - slow moving, confusing at times because of rapid jumps from one... Read morePublished 9 months ago by GMR