The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Cast: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Noah Taylor, Bud Cort, Seu Jorge, Robyn Cohen, Waris Ahluwalia
Director: Wes Anderson
Genre: Comedy/Adventure/Drama
Rated: M low level violence, low level coarse language
Running Time: 118 Minutes

I'll Find It, But I Won't Kill It. Now, What About My Dynamite?

Internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) and his crew - Team Zissou - set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly non-existent Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou's partner during the documentary filming of their latest adventure. They are joined on their voyage by a young airline co-pilot who may or may not be Zissou's son (Owen Wilson), a beautiful journalist (Cate Blanchett) assigned to write a profile of Zissou, and Zissou's estranged wife and co-producer Eleanor (Anjelica Huston).They face overwhelming complications, including pirates, kidnapping and bankruptcy.

My Verdict:
'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' is another unconventional movie from writer/director Wes Anderson (The Royal Tenebaums) and if you are familiar with Anderson, be prepared for yet another brilliantly weird and wacky instalment in his career. If you don't know Anderson, don't miss this opportunity to discover why he is revered, as he tells the tale of group of eccentrics lead by Bill Murray as Steve Zissou.

Steve Zissou is an oceanographer that makes documentaries but hasn't had success for years. On his latest escapade, a shark kills Steve's beloved offsider, whilst they are diving. Steve thinks he saw an extremely rare Jaguar Shark commit the murder and so is determined to find this shark at all costs and enlists the aid of his crew and his estranged rich wife, Eleanor (Anjelica Huston), whom he hopes will fund the search for this creature. Along for the ride is the arrival of what could be his son, airline pilot Ned (Owen Wilson), a pregnant disillusioned British journalist, Jane Winslett-Richardson (Cate Blanchett), and his nemesis, Alistair Hennessey (Jeff Goldblum), who also just happens to be a former husband of his wife. As the crew of Zissou's ship, the Belafonte, set off to find the shark, they encounter a series of mishaps and adventures that almost defy description.

The premise of this movie sounds so simple, yet Anderson has created such a complex and multifaceted story. His characters are all so incredibly diverse and often bizarre that watching their unpredictable interactions makes the anticipation of each scene climb higher and higher. It's almost a case of just how strange, witty and droll can these characters become. Case in point - one of the crewmembers is a guitarist/ singer who is so often singing a David Bowie song, which in itself isn't that odd, but what is, is that he sings them in Portuguese. This is but one example of sheer eccentricity displayed by the characters.

The cast of 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' are exceptional with Bill Murray at his best, effortlessly delivering line after line of pure wit. Owen Wilson as Ned, is also a master at the deadpan delivery with another fine display here and Anjelica Huston, Jeff Goldblum, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe and Cate Blanchett all more than deserve high praise for their respective roles.

'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' borders on feeling a little too long, but with this cast, it's such a delight to sit back and chuckle at the array of characters and impossible situations. There is some animation melded into the movie and a final scene that really satisfies Steve and his crew and neatly finishes the movie.

Rating : A

Christina Bruce