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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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Directed by Wes Anderson (2004) Starring: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, Wilhelm Dafoe

When I saw The Darjeeling Limited, I was really happy that I had finally figured out Wes Anderson’s appeal.  I figured The Life Aquatic would be the same sort of movie, similar in tone and soundtrack, with the fun quirky characters and interesting plot.  Much to my chagrin, The Life Aquatic just wound up as a pretentious mess of celluloid.

I feel like Anderson was reaching too far with the French New Wave references.  I thought that it was nice to have the ship introduced like the factory in Tout va Bien, but I the slightly-off sound effects got on my nerves and I found the dialogue to be awkward rather than clever.  More than that, the film felt awkward and poorly paced for the entire run time.  For every witty line, there was a two to five minute awkward scene to get through.  The performances were fair, and I particularly liked Owen Wilson as Ned, but the over-the-top quirk factor for the cast as a whole was part of way it was so grating.

The high points are the Brazilian Portuguese David Bowie covers and the fact that Henry Selick got a paycheck, but other than that, I don’t have much to recommend about The Life Aquatic.