||The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Joined: Sep 26, 2003
From: OCEANSIDE, CA
|Posted: 2005-01-17 1:50 pm  Permalink|
I just saw The Life Aquatic over the weekend, It is one FUNNY movie. Personally, I can not get enough of Bill Murray in old school Adidas, Speedo and red beenie. Funny, very funny...
Joined: Jun 24, 2002
|Posted: 2005-01-17 2:04 pm  Permalink|
We saw it over xmas break and enjoyed it, though nowhere near as much as Rushmore, which we both agree is Wes Anderson's best work and Mrs P will say is the greatest movie ever and is certainly in my top 10.
As for TLA, I loved the stage-y setting of the ship - the giant cut-away boat set was awesome. Nice to see Henry Selick's goofy little creatue animation, too. And Cate Blanchett is completely watchable 100% of the time. I actually enjoyed Owen Wilson's character the most, which says a lot when he's up againt Bill Murray. We will certinaly rent or buy it when it comes out. Anderson's movies tend to get better with multiple viewings.
Joined: Oct 01, 2003
From: Baltimore, Maryland, PNG
|Posted: 2005-01-17 2:07 pm  Permalink|
haven't seen the movie yet, but goto ebay and search on 'zissou.' you can get all the swag that you want
Joined: Aug 01, 2004
From: Enchanted Bay Area, CA
|Posted: 2005-01-17 2:39 pm  Permalink|
I loved the side cut out set of the Belafonte ship, the old look of it, especially in contrast to all the brushed steel aboard the rival ship. ("Is that my cappuccino machine?!")
Once again, the wardrobe is perfectly distinct for all the characters. I loved Angelica Houston's elaborate jewelry, and all the baskets of red knit caps lying around for the crew (and Siamese cats crawling all over the ship!).
I've never seen Willem Dafoe as such a hilarious character, either. When he left the room in a huff, then had to glare back at everyone through the porthole window in the door just killed me.
I had to go buy the soundtrack right away. Turns out I prefer my Bowie tunes in acoustic Portugese!
Have y'all printed out your Official Team Zissou ID cards yet?
Joined: Apr 11, 2002
From: Aku Hall, Chicago
|Posted: 2005-01-17 3:33 pm  Permalink|
From my web site (yes, there's more there than Tiki...)
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Directed by Wes Anderson
Starring Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Houston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum
Review by James Teitelbaum
©2004 All Rights Reserved
Wes Andersonís reputation as a prodigy director is probably a little over rated. His previous three efforts (Bottle Rocket, Royal Tennenbaums, and the strongest of the three: Rushmore) all showed promise, and each did contain moments of genuine brilliance. However all have fallen short of grabbing the brass ring of true genius.
Andersonís latest feature, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou also contains sparks of savvy, but it misses the mark by a margin slightly greater than itís predecessors.
This isnít to say this it is a failure; in fact is a fun little film. But those who would shout Andersonís greatness from mountaintops will be shouting just a little less boldly this year.
The Life Aquatic is a character study about a Jacques Cousteau-like explorer of the seas, an oceanographer and documentarian named Steve Zissou (Murray). Now in his fifties, Zissouís latest films are not being greeted with the same enthusiasm as the work of his youth, his second marriage (to Houston, his arch-rivalís ex) is shaky, and his complete lack of seamanship and oceanographic knowledge are at risk of being exposed. Zissouís latest film documentary deals with an expedition, during which his best friend (also his producer, and sound engineer) is eaten by the mythical jaguar shark. When the film proves a flop, Zissou rallies the crew of his ship, the Belafonte, for a triumphant last mission. To achieve redemption, Zissou must produce a truly great film, capture the jaguar shark, and prove himself to his peers.
Just as the voyage prepares to leave, a man claiming to be Zissouís 30-year old son shows up (Wilson), as does a pregnant journalist (Blanchett). Both join the voyage.
The rest of the story isnít really important. This film is about Zissou, and how losing his friend, his career, and his youth change him for better or for ill, and inform his relationships with his rival, his crew, his maybe-son, his wife, and the ďbull dykeĒ journalist.
This film has a lot of clever moments, but they donít add up to a satisfying whole.
Part of the reason may be Murrayís performance. We are all used to a glib Bill Murray, and in fact his whole career has been based on a general attitude of irreverence in his performances. As Steve Zissou, Murray doesnít deliver a single line that doesnít seem backed with a smirk and a complete lack of sincerity. His cheeky delivery works for him when he is doing straight comedy, but it fails him in The Life Aquatic. The filmís dramatic scenes feel just as sarcastic as the comedic scenes, and therefore all pathos for the character is lost.
After his much lauded dramatic turn in Lost In Translation (2003), and the more subdued, borderline comedic / dramatic roles in Andersonís previous films (Tennenbaums and Rushmore), and even as far back as Groundhog Day (1993), we have seen that Murray can rise to the challenge of juggling the cocky impertinence of his 1980s films with something more substantial. In The Life Aquatic he doesnít seem willing to make the effort. He traipses through the film not as a tired Steve Zissou, but as a tired Bill Murray.
The rest of the cast is solid; itís nice to see Dafoe ham it up, Blanchett is transformed, as always, into a completely convincing character, and Wilson never seems to have to stretch too far to play a hick. Jeff Goldblum is great as Zissouís rival, the rich and successful archetype, always foiling the plans of the downtrodden underdog hero. Of course, he gets his comeuppance in the end.
Seu Jorge plays a crewman who continually plays David Bowie tunes on his guitar... singing them in Portugese. Jorge translated and performed them himself. Mark Mothersbaughís musical contribution is in the form of some really cheesy sounding techno pop tracks (supposedly composed by the Belafonteís crew in their mobile film/sound editing suite). The entire set of the Belafonte was an inspired creeation; both the purposely phony construction (best noticed in a later scene when Murray and Wilson are racing around the boat looking for somewhere to talk privately), and the set dressing, which consists of all sorts of archaic technical equipment, serving to underline the Zissou Societyís financial decline.
The eels, frogs, sharks, and fish in the film are interesting too. To render all of the creatures in the film as really cartoony and fake-looking computer generated characters leant a surreal and fun touch to the film. But we have to wonder: was it a creative touch inspired by a budget issue, or would Anderson have made the characters just as low-fi looking if heíd had George Lucasí money?
Finally, astute viewers will notice the end credits sequence is lifted directly from Buckaroo Bonzai: Across the 8th Dimension, which also starred Jeff Goldblum. No word yet on his state of deja vu after filming the same credits sequence two times, twenty years apart.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is full of great one-liners, clever running gags, and nice character moments, but ultimately it is a shallow film, and just isnít as solid an effort as Rushmore, or even The Royal Tennenbaums. Letís hope that Anderson makes a comeback with his next film, the animated feature The Fantastic Mr. Fox (2006).
- James T.
My new book is "Destination: Cocktails": www.destinationcocktails.com.
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Joined: Aug 01, 2004
From: Enchanted Bay Area, CA
|Posted: 2005-01-17 3:54 pm  Permalink|
Thank you! I thought I was the only other person who got the Buckaroo Bonzai ending!
Your review is totally on target. I love too many of the fine details in the film to be totally objective.
For Owen Wilson being from Texas, his Kentucky accent seemed to come and go, particularly when he was doing scenes with Cate Blanchett... maybe I'm listening too much.
Maybe the story falls a bit because Owen Wilson wasn't co-writing with Wes Anderson, and that's why the Steve Zissou character is oddly bland in some scenes.
Overall, I agree with Tikibot, all Wes Anderson films get better with multiple viewings, especially for detail-nuts like me, who will devour the DVD 'extras'.
Joined: Jul 22, 2004
From: L.A. baby!
|Posted: 2005-01-18 10:41 am  Permalink|
Loved the movie. The film had great dry humor. I loved "Lost In Translation" as well. Even though the movies were very different in subject, both movies had a refreshing dry humor and really put you in a different world.
Joined: Mar 25, 2002
|Posted: 2005-01-22 5:47 pm  Permalink|
Movie With Fish = Awesome Movie
This review (c) tikifish 2005
Grand Member (first year)
Joined: Jan 29, 2004
From: San Pedro, CA
|Posted: 2005-10-25 11:34 pm  Permalink|
own a piece a movie history....
Here is the full listing:
got a spare $380,000?
Polynesiac - putting the "F" back in "ART"