Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou


(Second Review) After seeing Moonrise Kingdom, and loving it, I set out to see the delightful Wes Anderson’s earlier pictures, including ones I’d already seen. Thus, I found that I liked The Royal Tenenbaums a lot more than I had the first time, when I didn’t completely get the joke, so to speak. Anderson has developed his own screen language, and it can take some getting used to.

I didn’t like this one much the first time through. I liked it better the second time, but it still didn’t quite work. Part of it was Anderson still working out his own distinctive style, I think, but more importantly, though I love, love, love Bill Murray, he didn’t seem right for this role of a possibly washed-up aquanaut who is a sort of cross between Jacques Cousteau and Frank Buck “Bring ‘em back alive” sensationalist. There’s nobody better than Murray at certain kinds of parts, and he’s flexible enough to make other kinds of parts work, but this one always seemed to elude him. It called for a fiery go-getter, not a laid-back, sometimes morose guy. So, though there are some lovely things here, including the interior of his submarine, it doesn’t quite make it.