I am no Wes Anderson fan and haven’t seen any of his other films besides The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. But perhaps I should see more of them, seeing as how charmed I was by this one. With its clever dry humor, whimsical stop motion animation interludes, great soundtrack, and tearjerker ending, The Life Aquatic is definitely worth a watch.
Bill Murray stars as Steve Zissou, an oceanographer and has-been of the nature documentary world. Even his latest film, in which his partner Esteban is eaten off-camera by a mythical “jaguar shark”, fails to draw much attention. Still, Zissou is determined to find and kill the jaguar shark (“if it exists”) in retaliation for eating Esteban.
On the night of the film’s debut, Zissou is approached by a soft-spoken man named Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson) who says he’s Zissou’s son. Ned is quickly swept up into Zissou’s dysfunctional lifestyle and joins his eccentric crew. Among other excellent performances, Willem Dafoe stands out as Klaus, Zissou’s overly attached first mate. Things get complicated, however, when Zissou’s funding runs out, his estranged wife (Anjelica Huston) leaves him for good, and a pregnant journalist (Cate Blanchett) shows up hell-bent on defaming Zissou. Still, the show must go on.
Dry humor isn’t usually “laugh out loud” hilarious, but The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou always gets a several hearty chuckles out of me. Besides being humorous, it also has a great story. Highly recommended.
Rated R for drug use, language, and nudity.
Do you have a Wes Anderson favorite? Which one should I pick up next?