With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.
Onto The Life Aquatic, Anderson’s least regarded film, and it’s easy to see why this is the case. This seems to be the moment when Anderson had his ‘Being John Malkovich’ moment and truly entered his own head. The film is about Steve Zissou, an adventurer known for making dull, underwater documentaries (which ironically works well as a metaphor for this film), who sets off to hunt a shark that ate his best friend. Zissou is played in full on sad sack mode by Bill Murray, and he’s very good as always, with an ensemble cast made up of Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Michael Gambon and Jeff Goldblum amongst others.
The biggest problem with this film is the meandering nature of it, and at 2 hours long it really is a slog. The story is as boring as Zissou’s documentaries, and the whimsical nature of the tale never looks like generating any interest in the audience. Of course, there are some parts to enjoy in the film, including some wonderful underwater shots, and the bizarre use of a foreign guy randomly covering David Bowie songs on a banjo. However, the overall experience is disappointingly dull, and all but the most enthusiastic Wes Anderson fans will find this a drag – I certainly did.
The Darjeeling Limited next!
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Starring: Bill Murray, Cate Blanchett, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Anjelica Huston, Noah Taylor and Owen Wilson