Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

DVD Reviews | Jun 22nd, 2005

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Starring Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Bud Cort
Written By: Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach
Directed By: Wes Anderson
Studio: Disney / Buena Vista
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Ya know, this was one of those movies that I wanted to catch in the theatre. I don’t know if it was limited availability or just lack of motivation, but I didn’t manage to catch it in the theatre. That sucked, I really should have, because I missed a good movie.

The adventure begins with Steve Zissou (Bill Murray), an oceanographer of Jacques Cousteau proportions, showing the film of his latest voyage, The Jaguar Shark Pt 1, in which his best friend was eaten by the said shark, an animal never before seen, which may not even exist. His next step is to set out and find that shark, and kill it. At the after-party for the premier, Zissou is approached by a young man named Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson) who says he may be Zissou’s son. Ned decides to join Team Zissou and donates his inheritance to help fund the expedition. Also along for the journey are a pregnant journalist (Cate Blanchett), a bond stooge (Bud Cort), and a group of unpaid interns working for school credit, plus the rest of Team Zissou.

Through their adventures and misadventures, Team Zissou encounters bankruptcy, kidnapping, pirates, and Alistair Hennessey (Jeff Goldblum). It is quite a journey that may not end the happiest or most completely, but it does, in fact, come to an end.

I’m not quite sure when Bill Murray’s characters went from the zany, off-the-wall, fun-loving guy to the moody, somewhat neglected-type of his later movies, but he does it so well, that you can’t help but laugh. His character says as much without out saying a word as he does when he’s being overly blunt. The humor of Wes Anderson’s movies seems to be getting subtler as they go on. Coupled with Murray’s facial expressions, you wind up with quite an amusing picture that may not always cause you to laugh out loud, but you do chuckle and smirk. Yet, it is the interactions with the other characters and actors: father/ son with Ned; husband/wife with Eleanor Zissou (Angelica Houston); star/ press with Jane; co-worker with Klaus (Willem Dafoe), Bud, the interns, and the rest of Team Zissou; and rivalry with Hennessey that really make you love the film. Throw in some cheesy but endearing CG, creative sets including a cutaway of the Belafonte, and exotic locales and you’re left with an over-all great movie.

As far as the extras are concerned, the DVD has a bunch to check out, but they’re listed below. The “Complete Video Performances” is a bit misleading, but the behind-the-scenes features are good, as well as the “Intern Video Journal.” The deleted scenes aren’t that special, but worth checking out.

Commentary by Wes Anderson and co-writer Noah Baumbach
This Is An Adventure, a documentary by Antonio Ferrera, Albert Maysles, and Matthew Prinzing chronicling the production of the movie.
Mondo Monda, an Italian talk show featuring an interview with Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach, with host Antonio Monda
New video interview with composer and Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh
Ten complete video performances of David Bowie songs in Portuguese by Brazilian recording artist Seu Jorge
Intern video journal by actor and real-life intern Matthew Gray Gubler (Intern #1)
Multiple interviews with the cast and crew with behind-the-scenes footage
“Starz on the Set”: behind-the-scenes featurette
Ten deleted scenes
Behind-the-scenes photos and original artwork from the film
Theatrical Trailer

ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1

Widescreen 2.35:1 Color (Anamorphic)

English, Spanish, French

Favorite Scenes: the cutaway tour of the Belafonte, chasing down the pirates to get Bud back, asking Eleanor for money, breaking into Hennesseys lab, finding the Shark
Rating: R
Running Time: 118 minutes
Extras Rating:
Overall Rating: