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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)



Average Rating: 6.1/10
Reviews Counted: 197
Fresh: 109 | Rotten: 88

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is getting soaked by many critics, who call it smug, ironic and artificial. Still, others have praised the movie's sheer uniqueness, eccentricity and whimsy.


Average Rating: 5.7/10
Critic Reviews: 46
Fresh: 23 | Rotten: 23

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is getting soaked by many critics, who call it smug, ironic and artificial. Still, others have praised the movie's sheer uniqueness, eccentricity and whimsy.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.5/5
User Ratings: 206,820

My Rating

Movie Info

The first effort from director Wes Anderson since his critically beloved The Royal Tenenbaums, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou finds the filmmaker re-teaming with a number of familiar faces, including Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, and Seymour Cassel. Murray plays Steve Zissou, an eccentric and renowned oceanographer who has decided to seek out and enact mortal revenge on a shark that ate one of the men on his team. Along for the ride is Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson), a young man who


Drama, Action & Adventure, Comedy

Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach

Apr 26, 2005


Buena Vista - Official Site External Icon

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All Critics (197) | Top Critics (46) | Fresh (109) | Rotten (88) | DVD (42)

Like the jaguar shark, The Life Aquatic is hard to get a hook into.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Wall Street Journal
Wall Street Journal
Top Critic IconTop Critic

If you go with it, you'll love the film.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: TIME Magazine
TIME Magazine
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Life Aquatic drifts along at a lazy pace, the occasional encounter with pirates notwithstanding.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: The New Republic
The New Republic
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Noah Baumbach collaborated on the arch script, whose bittersweet weirdness leaves a residue even as the narrative disintegrates.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Chicago Reader
Chicago Reader
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Like the film's fake fish, The Life Aquatic is endlessly fascinating to watch but, if you look closer, there's not much there.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Associated Press
Associated Press
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The director magically conjures emotional dividends in the film's invigorating last moments, which wordlessly celebrate an underrated and truly Andersonian virtue: solidarity.

June 24, 2006 Full Review Source: Time Out
Time Out
Top Critic IconTop Critic

Aquatic seems willfully eccentric without ever letting the rest of us in on the joke.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: People Magazine
People Magazine

Much of what happens feels rough, as if Anderson never completed his shooting script... But individual moments... just might keep you entertained throughout the film's near-two-hour running time

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Spokesman-Review (Washington)
Spokesman-Review (Washington)

Anderson needs to diversify his bag of tricks A.S.A.P. -- unless he wants to exhaust his audiences' good will by cycling them through the same dreary spirals of ennui as he does his characters.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Orlando Weekly
Orlando Weekly

For some, Anderson's world is too hermetically sealed and downright strange to be affecting; for others, there's an irresistible charm to his eccentric characters.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Radio Times
Radio Times

Little can convey the texture of the Texan writer/director's fourth feature, other than to say it is unmistakably Andersonian, as off-kilter and tricksy as The Royal Tenenbaums.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Total Film
Total Film

Not entirely successful, but colourful, charming and packed to the gunwales with talent.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Film4

Torn between heartbreak and hilarity, I found myself squirming with conflicted delight, braying like a circus clown on the outside while merrily crying away on the inside.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: New Statesman
New Statesman

There's no doubt that Anderson is an inventive filmmaker bursting with ideas. The problem is that he hasn't found a powerful story to contain them.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: Metro Times (Detroit, MI)
Metro Times (Detroit, MI)

Murray's inertia spurs Anderson to new heights of directorial inertia. Steve Zissou isn't the only filmmaker undergoing a mid-life crisis.

March 17, 2014 Full Review Source: The Spectator
The Spectator

Anderson benefits tremendously from the always-engaging production design by Mark Friedberg, a delightful score by former Devo-ian Mark Mothersbaugh, and the always-engaging performances by top-notch actors.

February 18, 2012 Full Review Source: Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies
Movie Mom at Yahoo! Movies

Twisted yet exquisitely witty.

November 20, 2008 Full Review Source:

All you need to know is that the film is a rare original, something of lasting value that will keep you engrossed and entertained in a dry, downbeat tone that is focused and filmic and fantastic.

October 18, 2008 Full Review Source: Urban Cinefile
Urban Cinefile

Even Bill Murray, leading a now-typical set of odd Andersonian characters, can't keep this one afloat.

December 27, 2007 Full Review Source: Big Picture Big Sound | Comment (1)
Big Picture Big Sound

Wes Anderson creates a highly stylized and peculiar world, which either works for you or it doesn't. It works for me beautifully...

September 24, 2007 Full Review Source:

full review in Greek

October 3, 2006 Full Review Source: Movies for the Masses | Comments (3)
Movies for the Masses

Audience Reviews for The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

November 22, 2013

Super Reviewer

August 30, 2013
Directors Cat
Directors Cat

Super Reviewer

An oceanographer on a Moby Dick revenge mission reunites with his long-lost son as he pursues the shark who killed his partner.
What is true of all Wes Anderson's films is doubly true of this one. Emotionally wrenching dynamics handled blithely and cheeky sequences of deadpan humor abound in this film, and while I think Anderson's style works in most of his films, this film gets overbearingly laid-back. All of the performances are classic Anderson fare (with the exception of Owen Wilson whose accent changes from scene to scene), and the actors are certainly not to blame for the film's failures; rather, I think Anderson's style becomes more gimmicky in this film than it does in his other work. Whereas Darjeeling Limited was a film with unmistakable substance, the substance of this film is hidden beneath layers of Anderson schtick, and what Anderson is saying - a warning against the dangers of obsession and selfishness - only comes out in fits and starts.
Overall, I think this film is only for die-hard Anderson fans who delight in his schtick and have the patience to wait for the subject to be finally revealed.
January 9, 2013
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Unique, criative, surrealist and very funny, The Life Aquatic of Wes Anderson it's oddly inspirer black comedy.
July 5, 2012
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

    1. Steve Zissou: Wolodarsky, go get the keys to that fishing boat, and throw them in the water. No, wait. They might have another set. Just blow it up.
    – Submitted by Peter L (2 months ago)
    1. Steve Zissou: I wonder if it remembers me.
    – Submitted by Dyah Z (7 months ago)
    1. Steve Zissou: This is an adventure.
    – Submitted by Adam J (9 months ago)
    1. Alistair Hennessy: They turned my research turtles into soup.
    – Submitted by Levi N (12 months ago)
    1. Steve Zissou: Don't point that gun at him, he's an unpaid intern!
    – Submitted by Aurora T (17 months ago)
    1. Steve Zissou: I'm going to find it and I'm going to destroy it. I don't know how yet. Possibly with dynamite.
    – Submitted by Anthony L (20 months ago)
View all quotes (15)

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Foreign Titles

  • Die Tiefseetaucher (DE)
  • La vie aquatique (FR)
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