Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, The
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Scraps: In a way, Iím glad we held off on reviewing this for a week, so it could really settle in. Right after seeing the film, I was gung-ho about the scenery, and the music, and the amusing banter. But now, in retrospect, Iím somewhat empty. Itís kind of like trying to remember what you had for dinner two weeks ago Tuesday. Iím sure it was good, but just no memorable. Steve Zissou is a washed out version of Jacque Cousteau, an oceanic documentary film-maker whoís popularity has waned, and spends the movie not only hunting his Moby Dick, but also is forced to examine his life through the appearance of a long-lost son from 30 years ago. There was a lot of potential for ďloss/catastrophe/epiphany/re-creation of characterĒ, but instead the movie plodded along like a beached whale, flopping from amusing snippet to amusing snippet, relying on Bill Murrayís subtle charm to carry it through.
Rufus: I agree with you on some of these aspects. Iíve put a lot of thought into this movie since seeing it, and I am conflicted. Everything about this movie had an old PBS charm to it. The colors, costumes, the font used to explain location. It all felt dated or retro as some would say. That gave this movie a great feel to it. Majority of the characters in this movie though were dryer than the skin of a severe psoriasis patient. Looking back I feel that there was not a lot of charm in this film. It was a bunch of quirky, but unlikable characters. They started that way, at the beginning of the film, and surprisingly ended that way. There was not really an emotional journey that they did. It was in fact an empty movie. With that being said however, I loved every minute of it, and look forward to seeing it again.
Scraps: Maybe that was it! No growth! We finished the journey right where we started, but Steveís gained his popularity again. Big deal. Would I watch it again? Probably not. The laughs I got from my first viewing are not worth another two hour investment. Will I Bum the DVD off of somebody to watch the extras? Hell yes. The cast contained some great talent (Bill Murray of course, Willem Dafoe was surprisingly funny, and Owen Wilson and Jeff Goldblum are usually solid) and Iíd like to see their merry antics during filming. Overall, I felt like the movie just didnít live up to what could have been.
But it wasnít all bad though. The scenery was great (and the CGI sea life were amusing, like an underwater episode of The Muppet Show on acid) and the 70s feel of the whole movie was spot-on. And letís not forget about the music! A Mark Mothersbaugh score with Bowie songs throughout? Color me there!
Rufus: The lack of plot is what really bothered me. It was there of course, but not fully fleshed out. Iím going to step aside from my complaints about the plot for a moment. Willem Dafoe made this movie. I would have to say more so than Bill Murray did. Every line out of Willemís mouth was hilarious. On top of that the whole feel of the movie was what sold it for me. The feel, music (foreign Bowie is surprisingly good) and dialogue was top notch. I do want to point out that this movie is not for everyone. Like a lot of Wes Andersonís films, this is a little slow, but smart. His visions are his own, and I can honestly say that I have never seen a movie that had such a distinct visual feel. With all that said, that is why I look forward to seeing this movie again. Also, two wordsÖ. Crazy Eyes.
Scraps: Two wordsÖ2.5 cans (actually, thatís a number and a word, artistic license at work)
Rufus: 3.5 cans
Added: Saturday, April 09, 2005
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