Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

I saw Wes Anderson’s newest movie The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou a few days ago at Westgate where I normally end up going.

One thing worth mentioning is that I think I spotted someone camming the movie. When I was coming out of the bathroom before the movie started I passed a guy with a camera bag entering the bathroom. He was in his late twenties with a pony-tail and goatee. I only took note of him because of the camera bag, which I found a little conspicuous, although I have no idea what he had in it. I went back to my seat in the last row, right in the middle until the lights dimmed and the previews finally started. About half way through the coming attractions the pony-tail guy comes back and sits three seats to my left and places his camera bag lengthwise across the top of the folded up seat cushion. He spent a couple seconds adjusting it then I guess he noticed me eyeballing him because then he traded seats with the camera bag and moved it to the left of him.

Anyway, about the movie. Even though I was excited about seeing it, I became disappointed and bored pretty quickly. It has the same nostalgic-for-the-mid-1970’s style that I liked in The Royal Tenenbaum’s and Rushmore, but even that seemed more affected than earnestly sentimental. The story was bland and confusing. There was nothing interesting about the characters. I got the feeling that Wes Anderson made the movie as an excuse to hang out with all his friends. I’ve had enough Bill Murray and Anjelica Huston to last me another few years. I want to see a more manic and smartass Bill Murray for a change, not the run-down schlepp he’s been playing. The Life Aquatic is unfortunately a pretentious movie that’s light on substance. Why is Cate Blanchett even in this?


  1. Peter Jenks

    This is an utterly thoughtless review. It betrays more than anything else that Americans have come to expect only entertainment and cheap thrills from movies. Anderson’s movie is actually probably his best movie, and that because it discusses the same themes he has always written about: facing your past, the death of a dream, fathers and sons, and estranged love. He understates the most moving parts of the movie, because he respects the intelligence of his audience. Most of the “slapstick moments” are included to signify the decay of something that was once great.

  2. You make it sound like these elements were actually present in the film. The emperor has no clothes. I don’t even see how you can take the film seriously. These characters are complete cartoons and charicatures. Yet you chalk it up to Anderson’s respect and restraint. Facing your past? How is this depicted? By the fact, he begins to actually give a shit for his bastard son? Bravo to Steve Zissou for betraying one iota of human emotion. I don’t expect cheap thrills, I expect art with humility and pretension that can stand on substance.

  3. Nobody cares about your wants, Chris. The empty talk you call arguments leave you standing in absudly shallow water. “We grasp at everything but clasp at nothing but wind” (Montaigne). I personally can’t fathom just how many points of purely abstract ignorance you’ve presented before us. Not that I am about to glorify the film, by any silly standards of good or bad, to attempt to correct you; I would simply enjoy a bit less triviality. What is this? You want art with humility? substance? What simulacra of a world do you live in pizza man? If the world of Steve zissou is not up to par with your standards of “humility” or “substance”, then maybe you should keep your hand out of your pants from now on. Capice?
    Whats your definition of art anyways?

  4. My Canadian friend, I wrote this a long time ago. I don’t even remember what I disliked about this movie, which is, to my mind, a testament to its flatness. I do remember clearly that it was a disappointing film from someone whose work I have appreciated in the past. In terms of appreciation, The Life Aquatic can only be properly appreciated for its soporific qualities. It is utterly juvenile in the most vapid and pretentious way, and even too 2-dimensional to hold one’s attention. Pretty, yes. Good, most definitely not.