The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (S) (Widescreen) product details page

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (S) (Widescreen)

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$9.79 list: price $14.99 save $5.20 (35%)

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While Wes Anderson's particular and unique visual style is abundant throughout The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou, his skills as a screenwriter have abandoned him. The filmmaker Noah Baumbach collaborated with Anderson on the screenplay, marking the first time Anderson has written with anyone other than Owen Wilson. The biggest difference between this film and his others is that Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums were filled with humor derived from characters who were usually laced with melancholy. This focus on fully-rounded characters allowed the emotional highs and lows to connect with the audience. Life Aquatic offers up a protagonist whose goals are never clearly defined. Aside from a section of the film where Zissou organizes a rescue of his crew, the script never gives the character a strong enough objective. That leaves Bill Murray to fill in the gaps. His conception of the character seems to be far more interesting than the one that has been written. The director gives Murray enough room to do what he wants to with the character. (Not even The Razor's Edge allowed Murray this much empty visual and emotional space to fill up with melancholy, cynicism, and brooding.) The Life Aquatic screenplay never allows the characters to be anything more than two-dimensional figures (even when the actors are giving it their all) so the melancholy feels unearned and the quirkiness feels shoehorned into the proceedings. At best, The Life Aquatic shows that Anderson is a gifted enough image maker to keep most viewers looking at his film even if they have no emotional investment in the characters. Perry Seibert, All Movie Guide