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

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Reviews

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August 7, 2017
I've grown to like the quaint set designs of Wes Anderson's films, and as I was already subject to Bill Murray's somber apathy in Broken Flowers I could decipher the nuance in his performance here, and it fits very well. It's very much like The Big Lebowski in the way of plot, though rather than the Cohen brothers' gags it has Wes Anderson's quirky charm that gives the film something to say instead of a hilarious lack thereof.
½ July 25, 2017
A unique and whimsical film that pushes the modern canvas to its most imaginative potential, and a vision that's uncompromisingly bittersweet and colorful.
½ July 22, 2017
Not too good of a movie. The cinematography and style was neat, but that was it. The story was pretty pointless. The music was okay (Thought the placement of Sigur Ros was good). But, it wasn't a very memorable movie
½ July 11, 2017
A great and complex movie that becomes more interesting the longer you think about, but without the downside of alienating the audience. The movie is full of charm and character. While the director's love for the subject material is made very apparent, he doesn't hold back in making fun of it either which is very refreshing. Also, probably my favorite performance by Willem Dafoe that I've seen so far.
July 10, 2017
This movie is very underrated compared to Wes Andersons other work this movie has great visuals and a great cast as always, and has the same filmmaking style as all the rest of Wes Andersons previous movies, so I don't get why this movie is hated on so much it's a very good movie.
½ July 9, 2017
Life Aquatic tries to be a fast paced adventure with Wes Anderson's unique style only to churn out a narcissistic and ultimately boring adventure.
July 7, 2017
Rather odd comedy, even for Wes Anderson; nuggets of fun embedded in a slow-moving screenplay.
June 29, 2017
A whimsical and surrealistic drama and comedy where Bill Murray plays a Jacque Cousteau type of character who goes on his final ocean expedition to seek out the shark that killed his best friend. He is joined by his long lost son played by Owen Wilson who assists him in the search. The expedition is fraught with mishaps but Murray and his crew struggle through them. I find that I like Murray's later films better because he plays a much more mature and thoughtful character than some of his previous roles where he is usually flippant or silly.
½ June 8, 2017
Even the least compelling of Wes Anderson's work is still ingenious and brilliant. Like all of Anderson's masterful work, this is a movie that is brimming with invention, humor, and excitement.
½ June 4, 2017
A quirky Wes Anderson film. Classic Bill Murray. The animated underwater scenes are interesting. A great soundtrack of almost all David Bowie songs.
April 30, 2017
Great dry humor loved it.
April 23, 2017
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is Wes Anderson's most underappreciated film in his impressive cinematic repertoire.
April 16, 2017
Almost 13 years later this film still holds up on many levels. Of course if you are a fan of Wes Anderson's visual style you will love the film, but underneath it's story is why it still works. I never write reviews but after rewatching and noticed it only scored a 56% I was shocked. The star wars prequels that everyone hates scored better than 56%! Usually rotten tomatoes reviews are pretty spot on but trust me, Life Aquatic is still a classic film nearly 13 years later. And it's on Netflix, go watch it!
½ April 16, 2017
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is not without its eccentric charm, but it doesn't have a plot or character development to speak of.
Super Reviewer
½ April 16, 2017
I don't think it's any secret, and this is something I tweeted about last night prior to watch this, that I've never been the biggest fan of Wes Anderson and his particular stylistic choices. Don't get me wrong, I've never once argued, and likely will never argue, that Mr. Anderson's movies are bad. Far from it, if you look at all of my reviews of his films, not one of them has received a rating lower than 3 stars. I don't think there's many filmmakers that have every one of their movies positively reviewed, at least compiling from my own reviews. There's a few of them, for sure, but not many. Quentin Tarantino, Hayao Miyazaki, Park Chan Wook and Bong Joon-ho and, of course, Wes Anderson all come to mind at the moment. Though of the five mentioned, Wes Anderson is at the bottom of that list. That's not reflective on Wes himself, it's more reflective of the quality of works the other four have put out. The problem I have with Wes Anderson, and this will always be my problem, is the fact that, in some of his movies, he seems to be actively working against himself. What I mean by that is that he's concerned with inserting all of his little quirks, whether through visuals, dialogue or song choices, that, sometimes, the movie suffers for it. If he concentrated on just making the best movies he could, everyone of his movies would have received 4+ reviews from me. This self-indulgent style was at its worst, and most insufferable, in Moonrise Kingdom, a movie I gave 3.5 stars to. It's, technically speaking, a very good movie, but one that I had no joy in watching due to Anderson's indulgences. This brings us to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, a film that is a bit of an outlier, at least when it comes to my reviews of Anderson's films. I remember watching it once in its entirety, back when I was 17. I remember catching parts of it here and there on TV, but I never really paid attention to it, it was more background noise while I was doing something else. I'm 29 now and, realistically speaking, I have very little to no recollection of this. In spite of my reservations regarding Anderson's style, I was actually really looking forward to watching this again, since it would have been like watching it for the first time again. From what I've gathered, a lot of people seem to think that this is Anderson's best film. I wouldn't say that. First it's The Royal Tenenbaums followed by The Grand Budapest Hotel. Just so you know, I haven't seen Rushmore. I will be honest, you might think that because of the rating that this movie is all fun and games, this movie was a little rough to start. And perhaps that's understating the point, because the movie really did nothing for me until the Belafonte is boarded by pirates. This is, almost to a point, the halfway point of the film. This movie, with credits, is 1 hour and 58 minutes and, to me, it only really got underway at the 1 hour mark. I realize that Wes Anderson's comedic style is very deadpan, but the first hour of the movie was more misses than hits to me. The film is impeccably cast, as usual, and the movie has a great soundtrack comprised mostly of David Bowie songs and others, but the film just didn't really do much for me. It was trying to be weird just for the sake of it, it felt artificial, which is one of the criticisms on Rotten Tomatoes. The pacing for this first hour was, quite frankly, terrible. But after the pirates take one of their own (well a bond company stooge) hostage, the film just sort of flips the switch. It's still unnecessarily weird, for sure, but the movie actually and its characters actually grew on me. The arc of Steve Zissou connecting with his son, or at least he believes Ned was his son, was actually very good once you get to the conclusion. It's further complicated once Steve's wife reveals that Steve shoots blanks. This father/son bonding is unnecessarily distracted by subplots of Ned and Steve falling for the same woman and Steve feeling betrayed once Ned actually sleeps with Jane, the woman in question who also happens to be a reporter writing an article on Steve and his crew. This subplot, realistically speaking, accomplishes nothing. How is it relevant to the overall narrative of the film? It's ok, I'll wait, I got time. That's neither here nor there, I believe it was there simply to make the movie longer. Let's be real here, there's no reason this movie should have been close to two hours long. I'd say that this should have gone 95 minutes without credits. You can tell your story in that time, there's some scenes here that don't really add anything and could have used some shortening. It would have ended up saving the pacing which, as I mentioned, for the first hour, was absolutely terrible. I was ready and willing to give up and hate this, but then the second half of the movie happened and a lot was forgiven. I grew to like the characters and the movie does do a great job at portraying Steve's crew, however eccentric they may be, as incredibly loyal to the guy regardless of the fact that he hasn't a hit documentary in close to a decade. They're a very tight-knit group and you can see that in their interactions, however Wes Anderson-y they may be. The film does have a bit of sentimentality, which does feel a bit out of place, but it's still very much Wes Anderson sentimentality. I suppose the conundrum I'm facing now is whether I thought this was 3 or 3.5 stars. I legitimately did like this movie so 3 stars is the bare minimum I'll give this I'm feeling kind and what I did like about the movie far outnumbered what I didn't, so 3.5 it is. It's not a super confident 3.5, but I really did legitimately like this movie in spite of a not particularly good first half. That's how good the second half is. Though, it bears repeating, this is a Wes Anderson movie and if you've hated his every film, this one will not change anything. It just won't. With that, I'd give this a thumbs up for sure, but I can't really give this a recommendation. This is the type of movie that appeals to a very specific group of people. And, realistically speaking, as much as I did like this, you wouldn't exactly be missing out on anything if you skipped this. I hate to say that, but it's how I feel. I'm saying this from the perspective of someone who, say, might have never watched a Wes Anderson movie before. This is just a bad place to start. With that said, this was a very good movie but, much like a lot of Anderson's films, was filled with flaws that kept it from reaching true greatness.
March 23, 2017
Certainly one of Wes Anderson's lesser works. The film shines where most every Anderson film does - traditionally impressive production design and camerawork, colorful characters given heaps of personality by a talented cast, surprisingly emotional beats that juxtapose against the whimsy - but the scattered scenes of emotional resonance, whether they be comedic or serious, fail to add up to anything in the long run. The odyssey of Steve Zissou works in scattered parts, as he deals with a new crew member that may or may not be his son, various relationships with his crew including his estranged wife, and all sorts of high sea shenanigans as he searches for the shark that killed his seafaring partner, but the film's scattershot approach to handling each subplot makes the final amalgamation just lack the punch it truly needs. Fortunately for Anderson, he's consistent enough of a director that even a lesser effort makes for a good viewing experience nonetheless.
½ March 15, 2017
At parts very funny. Not Anderson's best but still an enjoyable film and a must-see for fans of Wes.
March 7, 2017
It wasn't bad, I just couldn't get over Wilson's dumb accent.
½ March 6, 2017
It's a strange and weird film...but not bad strange.
February 12, 2017
Life Aquatic could be my favourite Wes Anderson movie. It is quirky, unique (probably as unique as any Wes Anderson' s work), colourful, distaste and liking of the character Steve Zissou. To see the transformation of Steve Zissou' s heart is beautiful and warm. And it has a Sigur Ros song.
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