Recently, I've become aware that certain films are able to transcend the medium by being completely self-assured in their atmospheres…
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
The deeper you go, the weirder life gets.
Wes Anderson’s incisive quirky comedy build up stars complex characters like in ‘The Royal Tenenbaums’ with Bill Murray on in the leading role. An ocean adventure documentary film maker Zissou is put in all imaginable life situations and a tough life crisis as he attempts to make a new film about capturing the creature that caused him pain.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is Wes Anderson in a nutshell: strange, funny, bittersweet, droll, adventurous, wonderful and able to perfectly pack a strong emotional punch into an otherwise quirky romp. He creates his own sense of bubbling and irresistible artificiality - this time, essentially playing with toy boats - but in it all injects so much more in the ways of emotion that his playful dioramas unveil humanity, hilarity and that burning and wondrous sensation to cry and laugh all at once.
The story, as straight as it can, follows an oceanographer/adventurer and his crew on what may be a simple revenge mission - kill the shark that ate my friend - or, and most likely is so,…
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou is a film which takes its time to divulge all of its dimensions. First comes the blunt, black humour which Wes Anderson typically keeps measured. It's a hilarious film which chronicles Steve Zissou's unprecedented adventure which moves between kidnappings, gunfights and deep sea diving escapades with the typical quirkiness and fluidity. Then comes the scope and spirit. It covers such vast ground in its two hours - sailing the high seas with a crew that is as colourful as can be. But after some thought, then the drama begins to manifest. A story of a man traversing a mid-life crisis, a conflicted conscience and a vehement revenge mission. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou…
"In twelve years, he'll be eleven and a half."
To me, this is Wes Anderson's masterpiece,
but not until this viewing did I realize how much I truly adore it.
(what angelic planet did Cate Blanchett come from?)
And yes, this really is an adventure, Mr. Zissou.
Sunday Morning Review!
I wonder if it remembers me...
God that line and that scene are great. Wes Anderson is great at leaving the climax of his films to one, powerful sentence. It was the same with the "I've had a rough year, dad." line from Tenenbaums, which never fails to turn my face into the Mississippi River.
I think the reason Life Aquatic failed to bring the waterworks might subconsciously be the films biggest "problem." It really is a plethora of misguided emotions. But with that being said, Life Aquatic has always been a Wes Anderson film that I've had a strange fondness for. I love the concept, I like the cheesy but charming deep sea creature effects, I…
What used to be my least favorite Wes Anderson film (although I still thought it was really good), I now love as much as the rest of his filmography. Kind of wish I hadn't waited so many years to give it a rewatch but maybe seeing it at this point in my life was exactly what I needed. Just wonderful.
Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou is perfect in its own zany, messy, and crazily melancholic way. A deliriously goofy homage to the works of Jacques Cousteau slowly blossoms into a truthful and sincere examination of personal crises and their ramifications on others, all while providing a daring and colorful adventure to delight in. Every frame reveals a new u-turn or side street, yanking the audience around so much it'll give whiplash to any attentive eye.
This is all perfectly welcome of course, as the combination of the amazing cast, vibrant cinematography, ravishing soundtrack, and the constant bursts of emotional honesty and side-aching laughs culminates in Wes Anderson's finest work to date. The film is endlessly quotable, rewatchable, and entertaining in just about every aspect. I'll forever be on Team Zissou.
Oh, and Jeff Goldblum hits a three-legged dog in this masterpiece. Go ahead and label me heartless, but I will never get tired of that moment. NEVER.
probably one of my favorite wes anderson movies atm... also i loved that jeff goldblum was in here bc i had no idea?? but really great soundtrack
Wes Anderson was met with very mixed reviews and success when "Life Aquatic" was first released.
But I found the uneven mix of Absurdism/Surrealism + Bill Murray's sadly comedic performance + an air of constant sadness to be more than a little fascinating. The whole movie is built on a blunt reveal of artifice that adds an edge of experimentation that is at once baffling as it is almost magical.
While it could be easily argued that the film never really amounts to much beyond obvious weirdness -- there is something here that always begs for return viewings.
I've just never quite figured out why.
I still don't know what I got (or was supposed to get) from it. Honestly, it makes me feel stupid.
Going from scene A to scene B, barely feeling anything, asking myself what I should feel/what sort of scene is this/was this a joke/etc, is not what I would classify as pleasing experience.
It's an Anderson characteristic that kept increasing its prominence with each film.
Pretty dry humor, barely chuckled during the film. Again, too many characters getting way too much focus.
The relatively sober visuals are a welcome change to Tenenbaums's color diarrhea.
I first saw this with my mother years ago, watching it in her bedroom while I was freaking out to tingles in my arm (I was even more fear-laden then). I did not like it then.
This re-watch was recorded onto my DVR and watched with Ran (probably not the best move, I closed his eyes during the pirate scenes). I was more engaged this go around.
Ran fell in love with the soundtrack and treated his mother and I to a dance through the final credits.
Love it. Not everyone will find its dryness appealing, but if you can see the humor in the deadpan, everything will come together.
"This is an adventure."
Amused from start to finish. The dialogue was perfect as were the performances, framing, art direction and everything else. Nothing new. Wes is a king.
This was my third viewing of the movie, following two previous viewings of it on DVD. (My Two-Disc Special Edition Criterion DVD was a casualty of my marital separation, but friends replaced it with the new Criterion Blu-ray as a generous Christmas gift last year.) The Blu-ray presentation is predictably gorgeous, particularly the made-up aquatic life and any outdoor locations.
Bill Murray's hair and beard also look great throughout the movie, to be honest. I found myself staring and trying to guess how rough or soft his stubble was, based on how my own beard feels at the same apparent fullness. (Hey, I warned you in my profile remarks my diary entries aren't always academic postmortems!)
What resonates with me…
Many favorites, as well as a small handful of films that I don't care for... in no particular order (1960-2014).
The entire Criterion collection organized by spine number.
I don't know why I did this.
Number I've Seen: 194/776 (25%)