Famed oceanographer Steve Zissou's (Murray)
last expedition had ended in disaster when the extremely rare Jaguar Shark ate
his best friend. Now his latest adventure had completely changed focus, as all
scientific reasoning is thrown out of the window, Team Zissou's mission in now
to hunt down the shark and kill it. With the inclusion of a reporter, Jane Winslett-Richardson
(Blanchett) and a Kentucky Airways pilot called Ned Plimpton (Wilson) claiming
to be Steve's son, the usually focused crew of the Belafonte is starting to question
their Captain's motives and the validity of the mission.
is comes to original, quirky humour writer/director Wes Anderson has got the market
covered but does 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' live up to his lofty standards?
In probably his most accessible movie to date, Anderson
lives out his fascination with the scientific, educational films about the Earth's
oceans made by the legendary oceanographer Jacques Cousteau and adds his own unique
quirkiness. Instead of Cousteau we have Zissou, an expert on all things aquatic
who had fallen on hard times. Once the celebrated star of the Adventurer's club
and renowned worldwide, to the point that he even had his own clothing line, Zissou
hadn't made a hit documentary in nine years and was on the verge of quitting after
losing his oldest friend to the Jaguar Shark. Driven by revenge, he takes Team
Zissou on a suicide mission to hunt down the shark and destroy it. Only Anderson
could send an oceanographer and his team on a treacherous revenge quest.
together another outstanding ensemble cast, Wes Anderson proves again that he
is a draw for the big names. A few Anderson stalwarts have returned to the fold
and the movie amazing for it, as each of them really have an affinity with the
director and his material. No one else but Bill Murray could have played Steve
Zissou. He is at his very best when playing loveable and quirky characters, and
the famed oceanographer is one of his best. This is a man driven by passion and
emotion, who has lost his way over the last nine years. Still living on past laurels,
he struggles to recapture the magic that made him a hero worldwide that is until
the tragic death of his best friend and the discovery that he has a son. Murray
grabs the role with both hands, creating a truly memorable character and one that
really suits his comedic talents. Owen Wilson also returns for his fourth collaboration
with Anderson, but this time it is sadly only in front of the camera. While the
script is still as quirky and funny as ever some of the characters are lacking
the Wilson touch, as he co-wrote Anderson's 'Bottle Rocket', 'Rushmore' and 'The
Royal Tenenbaums'. His aside, Wilson's character Ned Plimpton is a typically likeable
creation by the actor. The question of whether he is a Zissou or not becomes irrelevant
as the character grows on Steve and the rest of the team.
rest of the cast is just as starry. Cate Blanchett puts on her best English accent
to play reporter Jane Winslett-Richardson, love interest for Ned and a figure
of jealousy for Steve. Anjelica Huston has a slightly underwritten part but when
she graces the screen the film is all the better for it. Jeff Goldblum and Michael
Gambon play Steve's bitter rival and his bumbling agent but it is Willem Dafoe
as Klaus Daimler who steals the show. Revealing a great gift for comedy, Dafoe
makes Klaus, the jealous first mate of the Belafonte, the true comedic element
of the film and the star. You want him to be in shot all of the time because you
never know what classic line he is going to come out with next.
Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' is probably Wes Anderson's most accessible film
but don't think he has lost any of his quirkiness, just watch the stop motion
animated underwater scenes. While some of the characters could have done with
a bit more development and screen time, there are more than enough classic creations
here. Now where is that Junior Team Zissou application form?
PICTURE & SOUND
in Anamorphic Widescreen 2.35:1 with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound, the movie
is presented extremely well.
Director Wes Anderson and co-writer Noah Baumbach commentate on the movie
from the New York café bar where they wrote the movie. This chatty and very informative
commentary reveals the influences behind the movie and the characters, as well
as talking about the Belafonte and the creatures that inhabit the undersea world
that Team Zissou explores. Interesting throughout, this is a commentary track
worth listening to, once you blank out the sound of the busy café in the background.
Starz on the Set (14.33
Director Wes Anderson, producer Barry Mendel, director of photography
Robert Yeoman, production designer Mark Friedberg, stop motion animator Henry
Selick, editor David Maritz and stars Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett,
Jeff Goldblum and Willem Defoe talk about making 'The Life Aquatic with Steve
Zissou'. The featurette covers the origins of the story, the cast and characters,
the Belafonte, the sea creatures and working with Wes Anderson.
Scenes (4.33 mins)
Entitled 'Eleanor's writing shed', 'Albino dolphin
cost breakdown', 'Additional mutiny scene', 'Hydronicus Inverticus (Rat-Tail Envelope
Fish)', 'Let's keep it in the moment', 'Swamp Leeches', 'You lose track of time',
'Klaus on fire', and 'Mai Tais/Blue Hawaiians', these very funny deleted scenes
suffer from not having a commentary track or introduction to tell you why they
Previews of Garden State, Mr 3000 and The Village
A collection of behind the scenes images taken by set photographer Philippe
Antonello and Polaroids by Wes Anderson
Look Aquatic (5.30 mins)
Production designer Mark Friedberg and producer
Barry Mendel give you an insight into the look of 'The Life Aquatic with Steve
Zissou'. The featurette shows you the design of the cross-section of the Belafonte,
the compound, shooting in Rome/Naples and the undersea world.
Mothersbough (19.05 mins)
The composer and ex-Devo band member talks about
creating the music for the movie and his career before getting involved with the
latest Wes Anderson production. He discusses the style of the music compared to
his previous involvement with Anderson on 'Bottle Rocket', 'Rushmore' and 'The
Royal Tenenbaums'. The composer also reveals that most people who write scores
hate the inclusion of songs that they didn't write in a film that they are scoring.
Mondo Monda (16.22
Italian film talk show, hosted by Antonio Monda featuring director
Wes Anderson and co-writer Noah Baumbach. The trio talk about writing the film,
the influences behind it, the many homage's throughout the movie and shooting
performs David Bowie (39.31 mins)
Listen and watch Seu Jorge as Pelé dos
Santos perform the David Bowie hits 'Starman', 'Oh! You pretty things', 'Changes',
'Rebel, Rebel', 'Lady Stardust', 'Rock n' Roll suicide', 'Five Years', 'Life on
Mars', 'Suffragette City' and 'Quicksand' in acoustic Portuguese. Design The art
of 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' including behind the scenes and special
Life (7.54 mins)
Visual effects supervisor Jeremy Dyson, stop motion animator
Henry Selick, sea creature supervisor Martin Meunier and fabricator Darren Radinovitch
talk about creating the sea creatures that inhabit the undersea world that Team
Zissou explore. Here we see the stop motion animation techniques employed by ILM
to bring the creature to life.
Go behind the scenes of Seymour Cassel's (Esteban de Planter)
day as he prepares for his big underwater scene.
Owen Wilson is joined by Cate Blanchett and Bill Murray to
talk about his character Ned Plimpton.
is an Adventure (52.27 mins)
A behind the scenes documentary by Albert
Meysles, Antonio Ferrera and Matthew Prinzing made during the Italian filming
of 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou'. Starting from the first shot to the final
one involving Bill Murray, the cast and crew take you through the production of
the film, giving you a comprehensive insight into how the movie was made and what
the atmosphere was like on the set. This is a fantastic insight into Wes Anderson's
filming style and a must watch for all fans of the director and his movies.
Producer Barry Mendel and stars Angelica Huston, Cate Blanchett,
Owen Wilson, Willem Defoe and Bud Cort talk about the costumes designed by Milena
Canonero for the movie.
Cate Blanchett talks about her character Jane Winslett-Richardson
with director Wes Anderson and producer Barry Mendel.
Intern Video Journal (15.22 mins)
Intern #1 Matthew Gray Gubler directs
and narrates his own documentary about the making of 'The Life Aquatic with Steve
Zissou'. Chronicling his five months in Italy, he records the off screen antics
of the cast and crew and reveals what it was like to act along side such great
quirky film gets a fantastic DVD treatment. The amount and quality of extras is
phenomenal, setting a new standard for double disc production. With an excellent
commentary, fascinating behind the scenes documentaries and Seu Jorge playing
all the David Bowie hits from the movie in full, this is just exceptional and
a must buy DVD for any film fans collection.