Actually the movie's called The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. It's directed by Wes Anderson, the man who did Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. I actually saw 2 other movies last weekend, In Good Company (directed by Paul Weitz) and The Notebook (by Nick Cassavetes), both are worth your money and time, but I'm just gonna write about The Life Aquatic today.
I've been a long time admirer of Wes Anderson. With Bottle Rocket, you can definitely see a potentially beautiful flower blooming, and with Rushmore, it is definitely in full bloom. The Royal Tenenbaums saw him broadening and deepening his usual concerns. And with this new film, I can safely say that Mr Wes is broadening his pallette even more by injecting elements that are hitherto unheard of in his previous films.
If you've never seen a Wes Anderson film, I suggest you start with Rushmore, a film that, IMHO, is just perfect in every way. You can't add anything more nor can you take away anything. It was done just right.
Back to The Life Aquatic. As usual, Mr Wes tells the same kind of story he always tells i.e. the story of a character with a serious character flaw, which is that he is actually a 'failure' of some sort, which deep down inside he might realise, but tries to cover it up with 'success', or at least his petty idea about what 'success' is. And throughout the films you'll get to see how the character come to terms with this flaw in their character, and how they open themselves up and accept what they need to accept and change what needs changing. Owen Wilson played this character in Bottle Rocket, and Jason Schwartzman perfected it in Rushmore, with Gene Hackman refining it in The Royal Tenenbaums. In this movie, the great Bill Murray gets a shot at playing this character, to hilarious and heartbreaking effect, I must add.
As usual with Mr Wes' movies, I can never get the courage to laugh so much during the first viewing, simply because like it or not his stories always have this tinge of sadness and regret just hovering in the air. Only after you've seen them the first time, therefore knowing what happens to the characters in the end, will you have the courage to laugh when you see them again, because only then can you assure yourself that it's okay to laugh. I saw The Royal Tenenbaums twice on VCD before I saw it in the cinema. And by that time I was laughing so hard in the cinema, I'm sure the other patrons found me annoying.
This trend looks set to continue with The Life Aquatic. I hope it'll make it here to our cinemas. The widescreen compositions are just so gorgeous, it would be a sin not to see it in the cinema. Plus, I already laughed quite a lot during my first viewing. So that's definitely a very good sign.
So folks, go see it. You can easily find DVDs or VCDs of this wonderful film at your favourite pirate ship. So go buy it already and treat yourself to a very special film, and thank our lucky stars that we might just have our very own Hal Ashby in Mr Wes Anderson. Two words to sum up the movie: "Hilarious heartbreak."
Rating: 8 1/2 out of 10 stars