The Life Aquatic

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The Life Aquatic
Review (7/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)


The Life Aquatice With Steve Zissou stars Bill Murray as the famous oceanographer and documentary filmmaker Steve Zissou, whose life has been turned upside down after his best friend was killed by a gigantic shark during and expedition. Steve vows revenge on the shark and assembles Team Zissou, a rag-tag group of characters that is highlighted by Klaus Daimler (Willem Dafoe), Vladimir Wolodarsky (Noah Taylor) and Vikram Ray (Waris Ahluwalia). The team is joined by Steve's possible newfound son Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson) and a journalist who will document the adventures of Team Zissou, Jane Winslett-Richardson (Cate Blanchett). Also starring in the film is Steve's estranged wife Eleanor (Angelica Houston) and his arch-nemesis Alistair Hennessey (Jeff Goldblum). The Life Aquatic is the fourth film by director Wes Anderson, whose films also include the wildly popular Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums.

The first thing I must point out before you read any further is I am not a huge fan of Wes Anderson. Mind you, the only Anderson film I have seen to date is The Royal Tenenbaums, but I never really warmed up to the rather dry sense of humour that was prevalent in the movie. With that being said, I have to admit that I did find The Life Aquatic to be mildly entertaining. Maybe I didn't find it as funny as the gentleman in the crowded theatre who found it necessary to laugh as loud as he possibly could throughout the entire movie, even during the scenes that were not all that funny. But it was amusing at times, it was definitely orginal and different and it featured some outstanding performances, particularly from the scene-stealing Willem Dafoe and the straight-faced Bill Murray. The movie also boasts a pretty damn original and funny soundtrack.

Looking back on it, The Life Aquatic did have some funny moments. Many of the scenes with Dafoe come to mind. The Zissou interns and some of their exchanges with Steve were hilarious. And it was not nearly as disturbing seeing Bill Murray in a speedo for extended periods of time and you may think it to be.

I guess if you are going to enjoy this movie, you should probably be either a big Wes Anderson fan or be in the right "mood" to enjoy the movie's rather dry sense of humour. I can tell you that I was in neither of those frames of mind and I still managed to be moderately entertained. I'm not going to sit here and promise you will be entertained as some critics I have noticed promising. It's definitely not a movie that is for everyone. Chances are that there will be as many people who do not enjoy The Life Aquatic as there are people who will love it. I can assure you, however, that Anderson has once again done something different, something new, and for that, I take my hat off to the man and I now look forward to his next piece of work, whatever and whenever that may be.

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