I'm on Team Zissou! — 4 years ago
I’ve seen this film a number of times now, and it just gets better with each viewing. It’s a subtle film which you can lose sight of if you get caught up in the technical chicanery: wacky animations, kitschy documentary inserts and willfully strange characters.
However, as an essay in grief, bereavement, disappointment and sadness, “The Life Aquatic” just hits the spot every time. The closing two scenes always make me cry – especially the sighting of the Jaguar Shark – Bill Murray is just awesome in the main role but the supporting cast add colour, tone and depth to what is after all a very complex piece of writing. There are lots of things going on in this film, it’s not just the “kooky” comedy it presents itself as initially, and it playfully invites the viewer to untangle and decode the subtexts.
Perhaps most importantly here, is the quality of gentleness that Wes Anderson allows his characters to possess, even when they are acting horribly to one another. An air of melancholy and regret permeates everything, but this never degenerates into mawkishness or viciousness.
It’s a beautifully designed film that works on an aesthetic, emotional and intellectual level. In two words: it’s fantastic!