In his latest film, Wes Anderson brings his signature dry humour and his usual style of endearing yet egotistical characters together in what is probably his best film to date.
Bill Murray, currently at the second peak in his career, thanks to Sofia Coppola, is Steve Zissou, an off-course Jacques Cousteau type, who after his latest documentary
about life under the sea, is now ready to shoot his next one. Along the way he hopes to find and kill the ravenous Jaguar Shark (legend, or reality?) that killed his best friend and long time collaborator. He assembles a team that includes a pilot for Air Kentucky who may or may not be his son (played by Owen Wilson), a journalist (Cate Blanchett), his estranged wife (Angelica Huston), a German engineer (Willem Dafoe) and other characters that are almost too ridiculous to mention. Okay, one of them is so ridiculous, that I have to mention him: Pelé dos Santos (played by Seu Jorge), a Brazilian Safety Expert who regularly serenades the crew with Portuguese versions of David Bowie songs. Jeff Goldblum also appears as Huston's ex husband who is part gay. But then again, as Captain Zissou says, "aren't we all?"
Not only is the cast of this film impressive, take a look at the crew of collaborators: Sea creatures animation by Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas), Cinematographer Robert Yeoman (Drugstore Cowboys, The Royal Tenenbaums), Art Director Stefano Maria Ortolani (Angels in America), Costume Design by Milena Canonero (Barry Lyndon). And here's a little trivia for ya: The Life Aquatic was filmed at Cinecitta, the legendary studios in Rome where Fellini shot many of his films. Seems to me like this DVD was destined for greatness before it even started.
All in all, this is definitely one of this year's best films. After all, any film that can boast action sequences where the hero runs around in a speedo and a terry cloth robe can't be half bad.
Special DVD Features
Ten Deleted Scenes
Interview with the Cast and Crew with Behind-the-Scenes Footage
Select Scene Commentary with Director Wes Anderson
Ten David Bowie Songs performed by Brazilian recording artist Seu Jorge
Interview with composer and Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh
Mondo Monda – Italian TV Interview
This Is An Adventure – A Making of A Documentary by Albert Maysles
Fold-Out Insert with cutaway of The Belafonte with Eric Anderson's original illustrations
Behind-the-Scenes photos and original artwork
Intern Video Journal by Actor and Real Life Intern Matthew Gray Gubler
And much more