The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Not Really Recommended. On one level, I really enjoy Wes Anderson films because he comes up with some very quirky characters and great dry humor. Bottle Rocket could very well be my favorite comedy of all time. Rushmore was brilliant. But this one was not quite there for me. It had some amusing moments and clever characters, but the story just didn’t hold me. Or rather, the lack of a story shall we say. This movie lacked transcendence. All it really had was quirky characters and dry humor. It is a satirical homage to Jacques Cousteau and his quirky little niche of ocean documentaries. But the only thing that approached a story here was the idea that Zissou was searching for the shark that ate his best friend and partner of 30 years. Problem is, it fizzled in the process as it was overwhelmed by quirky subplot tangents, like being held up by ocean pirates and trying to rescue their bond company stooge after he is kidnapped by the Filipino criminals. Funny little scenes but they diffused the interest of the story. Also, the only good subplot that tried to be there was Owen Wilson playing a pilot who thinks he is Zissou’s son, so he joins the mission in order to find himself and a relationship with his father. Unfortunately, this subplot is never resolved and we are left hanging with an empty reality at the end. He isn’t Zissou’s son, but never finds out. So a whole lot of emotional and human drama is bypassed in the interest of some “I don’t want to be like Hollywood” snobbery on the writer-director’s part.