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A whimsical nautical adventure into fatherhood.
Wes Anderson's indie adventure, comedy-drama The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) is a wonderful little odyssey about journeying into your feelings. Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach's script is full of introspection and self-discovery as they ruminate on what makes a good man. They write hilarious dialogue, quirky characters, shocking twists, and heartfelt interactions, which all culminate in a truly special little movie.
Wes Anderson's films are all magnificent in their own way, and Life Aquatic is no exception. The whimsical tone meets moving drama about fatherhood, responsibility, friendship, love, loss, and leadership. I appreciate all the hard work and compassion for a broken man even more upon a second viewing of Life Aquatic.
Wes Anderson's direction is phenomenal and creative as is his standard as a unique American auteur. His symmetrical shots of bright primary colors and warm tone are met with a relaxed vibe during Life Aquatic like we are along for a sea cruise. Robert D. Yeoman's cinematography is as impressive as ever with long panning shots and extended one takes that pan across the length of the ship's corridors. The pirate shootout and hotel raid are particularly well shot to me. Wes Anderson balances his silly absurdist humor with grounded family drama that still hits hard for his nautical adventure motion picture. I think Life Aquatic has aged well into a cult classic. It's a shame it was not more well loved upon release. I believe The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is an absolutely charming film from a masterful director.
Life Aquatic may have Mark Mothersbaugh's best score of any Wes Anderson feature. I love his entire musical passage for the finale with the shark encounter as it's hauntingly moving and resonates every theme of Life Aquatic at once. Furthermore, Seu Jorge's Portugeuse covers of David Bowie classics keeps the momentum and morale up on this aquatic adventure all of its quick 119 minutes. I especially love the "Life on Mars'' ship walk sequence and the "Ziggy Stardust" voyage introduction piece. Jorge is also fun as the musician on Zissou's crew named Pele dos Santos.
David Moritz' editing is so smooth and natural for Life Aquatic. His style is full of snappy cuts still, but he eases the pace to a steady one to allow you to enjoy the ride more with these fun characters. Seymour Cassel's cameo as Zissou's late best friend Esteban is a wonderful callback to Cassel's roles within Wes's former features Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Wes' casts never disappoint.
Bill Murray is captivating as a broken, old, homophobe, seafarer named Captain Steve Zissou. Every line Murray breathes a new life of irreverent humor and blunt honesty into like only he could. His chemistry with Anjelica Huston as his estranged wife Eleanor Zissou is fun, but his rapport with a likable Owen Wilson as Ned Plimpton is the highlight of Life Aquatic. Their scenes together are so sincere you just want to cry. Wilson is great alongside his love interest Cate Blanchett and an intriguing character of her own called Jane Winslitt-Richardson. You just want these miserable people to be happy.
Willem Dafoe is fantastic as the overly attached first mate to Zissou named Klaus Daimler. Dafoe's chaotic energy and enjoyment infects you with joy. Jeff Goldblum is funny as the weird rival to Murray's Zissou entitled Alistair Hennessey. Michael Gambon's sponsor for Zissou, Oseary Drakoulias, is a fun addition. Noah Taylor is super funny as the sonar guy Vladimir Wolodarsky. Lastly, Isabella Blow is a fun foil to Zissou's madness as the dissenter on the crew named Antonia Cook.
Henry Selick's stop motion animation for the fish, jellyfish, and shark segments are adorable and tenderly fit Wes Anderson's aesthetic beautifully. Selick's animation works well alongside Martin Meunier's visual effects. Mark Friedberg, Stefano Maria, Ortolani Marco Trentini, and Eugenio Ulissi's production design makes the ship look really lived in and fascinating to stare at in the background no matter what you're looking at in Life Aquatic.
Milena Canonero's costumes are very cute and playful for Life Aquatic. The red beanie and baby blue sailor uniforms are already iconic Wes Anderson fits.
In short, Life Aquatic is one of Wes Anderson's most underrated films as it holds up with its heart and humor alike.
Maybe my favourite film, the one with the most style, the characters I love the most & it got me into Campari! Watching this film breathes life into me every time. I absolutely couldn't believe it only had a 56% rating from critics, to me this film is 100% so I made a Rotten Tomatoes account just for this! Perhaps now I will become a critic too. ;)
Love it or hate it.
I love it.
The details in the mess, the roguish camera-work, the way it feels highly personal and yet not overly composed, it may be my favourite Wes Anderson, it may be Bill Murray's best work, and it's the most deliciously creative movies I've ever seen.
It's a serious character study through an irreverent cartoon lens, it's deeply, deeply poignant and filled with sadness, just like Steve Zissou himself. The film is about a man coming to the end of his usefulness, and his life, the people around him are dying and he's less in control of all that he loved, and even more so, he may have very little love left in him, at least in a conventional way.
It's one of the most real approximations of life and relationships and age and the aching of human-ness I've ever seen. And it has a stop motion jaguar shark in it, and a Pirate shootout to Iggy Pop's search and destroy.
The ending reminds me of death, and the compassion and sympathy and empathy that a slow death sometimes brings.
I find this film bafflingly honest and unique. It's a little undiscovered, multicoloured, luminescent gem, buried deep beneath the ocean.
That bit where he falls down the stairs and then props himself back up is movie perfection. A moment of something silly meaning something serious.
This is my all time favorite movie. Love Wes Anderson. This is a Bill Murray classic. Love the soundtrack.
Very good. The movie knew exactly what it wanted to be; itself. It did that perfectly.
An interesting project by Wes Anderson and one of my favorites from him. The stop motion animation sea creatures and the wonderful cinematography shots in the ocean are very excellent
It's hard to pick a favorite Wes Anderson movie, but Life Aquatic is, I think, the most consistently hilarious. I can't quite understand why some people (critics?) have considered this inferior to his other movies. I think it's as good as anything else, and among his best. It never gets old for me. I love it.
Hilarious Comedy with a great Cast. Very zany and out there. I enjoyed every single second of this film.
I loved the writing of this film, the dialogue is surprisingly original and really carried this movie. Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, and Jeff Goldblum had interesting characters, and I loved the concept of using stop-motion animation for the sea life. I wish the film didn't stray so far into cynicism, but even still, I enjoyed the quirky joylessness of the endeavor.
How does this have such a negative scoring by critiques? This is one of my favorite Anderson movies - up there with The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Royal Tenebaums. Bill Murray as the lead is phenomenal, you feel some sympathy for a somewhat 'bad guy' although he just has human flaws. The setting really could've been anywhere for the story that was trying to be told and the ocean and on a boat allow it to not exclusively focus on the family drama that's unraveling. Great cast as usual and the typical Anderson cinematography shines as it so often does and makes you question being more happy or sad by the time it's all over.