The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Reviews

Top Critic
Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
March 17, 2014
Like the jaguar shark, The Life Aquatic is hard to get a hook into.
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Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
March 17, 2014
If you go with it, you'll love the film.
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Christopher Orr
The New Republic
March 17, 2014
The Life Aquatic drifts along at a lazy pace, the occasional encounter with pirates notwithstanding.
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Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
March 17, 2014
Noah Baumbach collaborated on the arch script, whose bittersweet weirdness leaves a residue even as the narrative disintegrates.
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Christy Lemire
Associated Press
March 17, 2014
Like the film's fake fish, The Life Aquatic is endlessly fascinating to watch but, if you look closer, there's not much there.
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Time Out
June 24, 2006
The director magically conjures emotional dividends in the film's invigorating last moments, which wordlessly celebrate an underrated and truly Andersonian virtue: solidarity.
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Scott Tobias
AV Club
September 26, 2005
Even when caught in a rut, Anderson's obsessive vision still yields many exhilarating surprises.
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Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
July 21, 2005
This take on undersea adventure movies, though studded with amusing bits, feels smug and self-satisfied, as if the quirkiness no longer is merely a by-product of the way Anderson views the world.
Top Critic
Stephen Hunter
Washington Post
May 20, 2005
There's nothing wrong with Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou that a digital insertion of Gene Hackman wouldn't solve.
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
January 15, 2005
It is heartening to reflect that the best of Bill Murray may be yet to come.
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
January 11, 2005
The film is often quite funny.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
December 27, 2004
Full of [Wes Anderson's] many trademark flourishes.
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Geoff Pevere
Toronto Star
December 24, 2004
It's one of the great mysteries of contemporary Hollywood that a talent as sideways as Wes Anderson gets bankrolled by a major, and not famously risky, studio like Disney.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
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Moira MacDonald
Seattle Times
December 24, 2004
Ultimately, it's hard to connect with these odd, distant people, and though the film has an ending that finds some grace, it's too little, too late.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
December 24, 2004
The whimsy feels forced, and Murray is the only player allowed to hunt for laughs. More Goldblum would have helped. Wilson acts overshadowed, Dafoe has too little screen time and Blanchett is only a middling straight man.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Tom Long
Detroit News
December 24, 2004
A ruse of a film that doesn't have a tenth of the wit it thinks it has.
| Original Score: D
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
December 24, 2004
Murray's deadpan performance is one of the many disappointments in the movie: It's a minimalist bit of acting, in both style and effort.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
December 24, 2004
Vastly disappointing, an uneasy mixture of characters and events, artifice and realism.
| Original Score: C-
Top Critic
Lisa Kennedy
Denver Post
December 24, 2004
At times arrogant, furious, ridiculous and mopey, in the end, Steve Zissou carries The Life Aquatic with an understated grace.
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Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
December 24, 2004
Despite its cast and director, it's an amazingly unfunny movie, drowned in its own conceits, half-strangled by the tongue so obtrusively in its cheek.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
December 24, 2004
I can't recommend it, but I would not for one second discourage you from seeing it.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
December 24, 2004
The film's meta-fey title alone is an example of why some people adore Anderson and why he drives others absolutely crazy.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Desson Thomson
Washington Post
December 23, 2004
Hovers frustratingly somewhere between charming and only mildly amusing.
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James Berardinelli
ReelViews
December 23, 2004
There's not a convincing character to be found, and none of the film's dramatic scenes or emotional catharses have the ring of truth necessary for us to be affected.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
December 23, 2004
The Life Aquatic is full of moments of strange tranquility and screwball juxtaposition.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
December 23, 2004
With his perpetually slumped shoulders and downcast eyes, Murray nails his character's weariness; you feel tired just looking at him. But lethargy is not necessarily something you want in an audience, and eventually the movie starts to seem fatigued.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
December 23, 2004
The Life Aquatic is a movie deeply immersed in movie lore, and the more seasoned the swimmer the richer the experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
December 23, 2004
A funny, smart and satisfying cruise into the Triangle of Comedy Comfort.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
December 23, 2004
Stocked with colorful characters, episodic wit and well-placed pop tunes, Aquatic stays funny even as it flails about at sea.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Bill Muller
Arizona Republic
December 23, 2004
It's too fragmented, lacks pace and is filled with so many eccentricities that it's hard to discern the point, if Anderson is even trying to make one. But watching Anderson fail is still more rewarding that watching other filmmakers succeed.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Top Critic
Eleanor Ringel Gillespie
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
December 21, 2004
An often clever film with some genuine laughs and a playful streak.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Jack Mathews
New York Daily News
December 18, 2004
If there's anything more tiresome in film today than hip irony, it is forced irony, and here comes a boatload.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Stephanie Zacharek
Salon.com
December 18, 2004
The story (written by Anderson and Noah Baumbach) meanders in such a meaningless way that the visual details, as carefully wrought as they are, come off as mere props.
Top Critic
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
December 13, 2004
This is one of the most irritating, self-conscious and smug films of the year, working neither as a dark comedy nor a character study.
Top Critic
December 10, 2004
Why is it that so many people think this filmmaker is the voice of their generation? Is their generation that vacuous?
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Michael Atkinson
Village Voice
December 10, 2004
It's a collage of half-measures.
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
December 10, 2004
Anderson holds steady to the delicate emotions that run beneath this stormy comedy of betrayal, death and forgiveness.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Stephen Whitty
Newark Star-Ledger
December 10, 2004
Anderson may be incapable of making a dull film -- he's certainly incapable of making a dull-looking film -- and from its fake-docu introduction to its full-circle conclusion, his movie looks interesting and unique.
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Lou Lumenick
New York Post
December 10, 2004
Intermittently brilliant, intermittently hilarious -- and occasionally tedious.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Robert Koehler
Variety
December 9, 2004
The effect is often soporific.
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Mike Clark
USA Today
December 9, 2004
Its sporadic droll moments tempt one to view it with a charitable eye until patience is exhausted by the end.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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A.O. Scott
New York Times
December 9, 2004
I should have been completely exasperated with The Life Aquatic, with its wispy story and wonder-cabinet production design, but to my surprise I found it mostly delightful.
Top Critic
Jan Stuart
Newsday
December 9, 2004
Launches with enormous promise, then sinks into a quagmire of misfired humor and misbegotten characters.
Full Review | Original Score: 0.5/4
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Carina Chocano
Los Angeles Times
December 9, 2004
An exquisitely evocative movie that elevates rueful melancholia to a superpower.
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Ella Taylor
L.A. Weekly
December 9, 2004
A potentially great little cult picture shrieking in protest at being bumped up into a $50 million studio movie whose only real pleasure is its happy-color production design.
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Sheri Linden
Hollywood Reporter
December 9, 2004
Wonderfully weird and wistful.
Top Critic
Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
December 8, 2004
Once again, he creates a hermetic, glassed-in movie world of postmodern anachronisms that charms and distances in equal measure.
Full Review | Original Score: B-