Review of 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou'

life_aquatic.jpg Another quirky Wes Anderson film, this time parodying the life of Jacques Cousteau, complete with digitally generated fish and over the top sets.

Oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) is suffering another failure at the box office and is facing financial ruin when he is approached by Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson) who claims he is Steve's son but, more presciently, he has money he can invest in Steve's next venture: To film part 2 of the story where he tracks down and kills the “Jaguar Shark” that ate his friend in part 1. As his crew track the shark they raid the facilities of Alistair Hennessey (Jeff Goldblum) and later are attacked by pirates when attempting to take a short cut.

This colourful film is another dry outing from Wes Anderson that feels quite impersonal with very few laugh out load moments. For the most part, Zissou is a heartless bastard who deserves any suffering he gets. It is certainly a typical Murray film with his trademark dryness as well.

The cast is very strong, including Anjelica Huston as Zissou's bitter wife, Willem Dafoe as bitter (note the pattern?), overprotective, boat-hand Klaus Daimler and pregnant reported and Ned love interest Jane Winslett-Richardson played by Cate Blanchett. Even this talent does not seem able to save this film which, other than the amusing parodying of Cousteau's life, generally disappointing. The digital fish clash sharply with the otherwise realism of the film and do little to help.

Disappointing and, surprisingly, not that funny.

Rating: “Average, but who wants to be average?”

Review Date: 2023-06-11

Directed by: Wes Anderson

Studio: Touchstone Pictures

Year: 2004

Length: 119 minutes

Genre: Comedy

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