User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 252 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 44 out of 252
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  1. SW
    Jan 12, 2005
    4
    Yes, it is quirky -- but boring nonetheless.
  2. JockM.
    Aug 3, 2006
    8
    I grew up watching Jaques Cousteau(sp?) films. I really enjoyed this film for the nostalgia value alone. It faithfully captures the atmosphere of the documentaries and then takes us behind the scenes to see the absurd, vain and scientifically bankrupt process by which they were produced. The plot is about as thin as tracing paper, but this is more than made up for by superbly sensitive I grew up watching Jaques Cousteau(sp?) films. I really enjoyed this film for the nostalgia value alone. It faithfully captures the atmosphere of the documentaries and then takes us behind the scenes to see the absurd, vain and scientifically bankrupt process by which they were produced. The plot is about as thin as tracing paper, but this is more than made up for by superbly sensitive portrails from the principal players. Top flick in my book! Expand
  3. Jul 9, 2012
    7
    The Life Aquatic is colorful, poignant and very, very funny. It has a high level of random insanity that never fails to induce chuckles. The cast is magnificent, the script is awesome and stuffed full of quotable lines and the effects are hilariously charming. This is one of Anderson's best movies and a must see for Bill Murray fans.
  4. Jan 17, 2012
    10
    If you think the trailer is funny, then you will like this movie a lot. if not then you probably won't like the movie, its kinda funny because your not sure if its serious or not and follows a wierd niche of humor which i happen to like a lot. And it keeps finding ways to catch you off guard while still fitting with the consistent humor
  5. Jan 29, 2014
    10
    Not everbodys cup of tea, but I love it. The film is as always with director Anderson semi-crazy, semi-funny and beautifully made. You simply don't have a clue were the story is going, you just ride with it and enjoy it. Actors Dafoe, Blanchett and Huston are great. The others are good. The music score is fantastic.
  6. Jan 4, 2014
    8
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Wes Anderson's, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou takes the audience into the world of an aging oceanographer and documentarian by the name of Steve Zissou, played by Bill Murray. He is at a point in his life where his once profound ego is shattering before him and he questions his life's work. His best friend is eaten alive by a supposed "Jaguar Shark" and Murray and his film team will embark on one final expedition to find and kill the shark in the name of revenge.

    While the storytelling in this movie can be rather slow at times it allows the viewers to create a better understanding of the protagonist of the film and some of the supporting characters. Murray fantastically portrays his character, showing how he deals with his reality around him and his ego, and how he reacts rather apathetically to them, although aware of them. Owen Wilson plays as Murray's supposed son, Ned, and portrays him to be a very likable character who simply wishes to know the father he always wanted to. The two share a decent at worst chemistry. Cate Blanchett plays as Jane Winslett-Richardson, a journalist who masterfully plays her part and serves as a minor romantic interest for both Murray and Owens. Bud Cort plays a "Bond Company Stooge", but instantly shows his characters great character and is very likable.

    The plot does sometimes loose its focus, but never should leave you bored as it simply devotes parts of the movie not about the search for the shark to Murray's character and that of his crew. The way in which the sea life are portrayed and the soundtrack give the film a somewhat 'whimsical' factor, and fits the atmosphere of the film very well. The final reveal of the shark is also extremely well shot and acted.

    In the end this film is somewhat of an unappreciated piece of art, and it should be watched by all those interested in plot and characters more than action and suspense.
    Expand
  7. Nov 2, 2010
    7
    This movie is fun specially if you like the cast and the style. It is not for everyone though. Many people, specially in these modern times, do not like slow movies and this one is pretty slow. I would recommend this movie to Wes Anderson fans and fans of indie movies.
  8. ALF
    Apr 3, 2011
    0
    Sadly more rubbish inflicted on the public from Wes Anderson. This film is appalling, there are no redeeming qualities and I can only suggest if you wish to actually die of boredom, then watch this film. With the Royal Tennebaums it takes pride of place as being the joint worst film I have ever seen in my life.
  9. RadioLady
    Dec 10, 2004
    3
    Thumbs down! A big bore (but the animatronic creatures are imaginative)! My mother used to tell me, `If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.' This is a difficult position for a movie critic. I can pick and choose what I review and I really try to choose my films wisely. I should have skipped this film, but my husband wanted to see it after printing out Thumbs down! A big bore (but the animatronic creatures are imaginative)! My mother used to tell me, `If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.' This is a difficult position for a movie critic. I can pick and choose what I review and I really try to choose my films wisely. I should have skipped this film, but my husband wanted to see it after printing out an early review giving it high marks. Also, the trailer looked good, so we went anyway. While I thought the lead characters (Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett, Angelica Huston, Willem DaFoe, Jeff Goldblum) were well cast, the script was abysmal. Jacques Cousteau would be spinning in his grave if this is supposed to be something serious based on his work. The comedic elements were too farcical and far-fetched to be really funny, with lots of languid script forays into self-conscious dialogue and idealogical thought. (Big yawn goes here!) In my opinion, Bill Murray is at his best in this movie when he's parodying the boring educational films we've all seen in school classes, with the ubiquitous stiff scientist reading his lines with little or no inflection and totally stilted movement. In general, I've enjoyed Murray's performances in "Groundhog Day" and "Caddyshack" as well as the "Ghostbusters" films and his SNL performances. It's only fair to mention we didn't care for either "Lost in Translation" or "The Royal Tenenbaums." There were scattered laughs at the screening I attended, and I laughed occasionally myself. However, this movie was vapid and self-conscious and I wouldn't have paid to see it. The film smacks of real cinematic amateurism, especially in photography, editing and continuity. Items on tables jump around. In one shot, you can see the camera crew reflected in a shiny picture on the opposite wall. Some of the hand-held camera work was so jumpy it was impossible to watch. I left the theater scratching my head. But Mom would be proud ? I loved the animatronic creatures ? the rainbow seahorse and other fish and the real three-legged dog (that barked with its mouth closed in one shot). Also, much of the exterior photography in Rome, Florence, and Naples, Italy is beautiful. I loved their locations. The film made me want to go back to Italy soon. Worst film of the year? Probably not. It isn't even Christmas yet and there are a couple on my list already. An Oscar to Bill Murray? I don't think so, unless there are a lot of people in the Academy who think this particular emperor has new clothes. This film was a big waste of time and I wouldn't recommend it. My advice? Go see "The Aviator" or "Sideways" or "Kinsey" instead. I'm giving it a `D' ? for dumb dialogue and dubious plotting. Of course, as with all cinema events, `Your mileage may vary.' Expand
  10. JeremyC.
    Jan 7, 2005
    9
    One of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen. I didn't particularly like the 'royal tannenbaums'. Bill Murray is at his best. Jeff Goldbloom plays the greatest role I have ever seen him in. And Willem Dafoe is hysterical. This movie is so random and so brilliant. Definatly the best comedy of the year. I know some people at first glance find the humor dull. Even so, One of the most hilarious movies I have ever seen. I didn't particularly like the 'royal tannenbaums'. Bill Murray is at his best. Jeff Goldbloom plays the greatest role I have ever seen him in. And Willem Dafoe is hysterical. This movie is so random and so brilliant. Definatly the best comedy of the year. I know some people at first glance find the humor dull. Even so, compare it with some other comedies of the year 'Napoleon Dynamite', 'Dodgeball'. If you wasted your time to see those movies, then this one will redeem all the money and time you spent watching those. Expand
  11. PeterJ.
    Jul 8, 2005
    9
    The movie was so idiotic I could not stop laughing. I think you have to be older (I am 33) to really appreciate the wry humor imvolved. Anyone 21 and younger will probably hate this movie.
  12. RobertN.
    Jan 1, 2005
    1
    Never have I finished watching a movie that I felt like I deserved my money back as this. This theft should be a crime.
  13. JustonE.
    Jan 14, 2005
    9
    This film was one of Wes Anderson's best films ever made. It was funny, but very original. If he does get at least a nod for an oscar shame on the academy.
  14. BobF.
    Jan 17, 2005
    1
    I love Bill Murray but this is one of the five worst movies I have ever seen! It's horrible!
  15. wetwebwork
    Jan 10, 2005
    7
    Haven't laughed out loud as much watching a movie for a while. But I can see why some would hate it, which is a shame, because this is something different from the normal Hollywood slosh we're expected to watch. But maybe that's the problem...
  16. PrestonF.
    Jan 10, 2005
    9
    Wonderful , thoughful and funny movie.
  17. tonym
    Jan 6, 2005
    10
    Wow nothing else released this year comes close to touching this movie. so good it hurts
  18. Scott
    Jan 8, 2005
    0
    I can't even remember the last time I walked out in the middle of a movie... it had to have been decades ago. I waited at least an hour an half, hoping that this piece of trash movie would get better, only to be disappointed, so I left. Thankfully, the theater manager gave me a comp ticket, since he agreed that this film was utterly horrid. I hated how it was trying to be all I can't even remember the last time I walked out in the middle of a movie... it had to have been decades ago. I waited at least an hour an half, hoping that this piece of trash movie would get better, only to be disappointed, so I left. Thankfully, the theater manager gave me a comp ticket, since he agreed that this film was utterly horrid. I hated how it was trying to be all farcical & uber-hip & retro-chic. I like Bill Murray a lot... especially in Groundhog Day & Lost In Translation. It was sad to see him in such a flop. And what was Cate Blanchett doing in this? To be so highly-regarded, then to stoop to such lows... must have been offering her a pretty penny. Expand
  19. DanaG
    Jan 9, 2005
    3
    ZZzZzzZzzzzZzzZzz....oh sorry, I was thinking about the movie. Definitely a snoozer. I could barely keep my eyes open. I didnt really see the humor in it either. All I kept thinking throughout the movie was...isnt it over yet? Oh AND....that shark thing they were trying to find....the thing that they based the plot on....I almost forgot about it half way through the movie, I think they ZZzZzzZzzzzZzzZzz....oh sorry, I was thinking about the movie. Definitely a snoozer. I could barely keep my eyes open. I didnt really see the humor in it either. All I kept thinking throughout the movie was...isnt it over yet? Oh AND....that shark thing they were trying to find....the thing that they based the plot on....I almost forgot about it half way through the movie, I think they did too. Then they were just like oh yeah...this movie had a point, maybe we should get to that. I hope I am never forced to watch that on video unless I have a bed at my disposal. Expand
  20. KarenW.
    Feb 10, 2005
    0
    A total waste of time. Bad script, bad acting, no laughs.
  21. SusanM
    Feb 1, 2005
    2
    Oh. My. God. What a disappointment. I love Bill Murray, but you know what? I couldn't stand him or the film. Total waste of time and talent. This was not worth the money, nor was it worth the two hours of my precious time. Not funny. Not entertaining. Not clever. Just stupid and pointless.
  22. ChrisH
    May 10, 2005
    10
    Keeping in the spirit of all Wes Anderson movies this delivers dry, perfectly timed humor at an overall slow pace. Bill Murray is on top of his game still and had me rolling in my seat from start to finish. A must see in my book.
  23. PatC.
    Sep 26, 2005
    3
    Interesting and original concepts keep one waiting for the story to take off. All the pieces come together, but none of them click into place. Harmless, but with chemistry between the actors prohibited during production. Not even Cate Blanchett can save this. I blame the director and editor. It should have worked.
  24. GregA.
    Apr 25, 2006
    1
    The only good thing about this movie was that I didn't have to pay for it, so the only damage done was wasting my time and some mild cranial bruising from beating my head against the wall.
  25. MaxB.
    Dec 11, 2004
    7
    I nominate Radiolady for the "Worst Review of the Year" award. Astonishing!
  26. GeoffF.
    Dec 25, 2004
    10
    I am a big Wes Andersen fan, and I can safetly say I was thoroughly impressed with his latest showing. No scene was left without Andersen's unique humor, and the characters were well casted and performed wonderfully. I usually don't go to the movies when I can rent them at a later date, but I will most likely be seeing this one again soon.
  27. AnthonyP.
    Jan 10, 2005
    8
    Dafoes character is a riot! he's worth the price of admission alone.
  28. JessicaL.
    Jan 13, 2005
    10
    Brilliant and hilarious to say the least. Anderson's subtle and charming humor demands the attention and intellect of the viewer, yet ultimately proves worthwhile.
  29. Mark
    Jan 15, 2005
    7
    The weirdness of Anderson films is begiinning to be predictible, as are the characters Murray is playing in his recent films (Anderson or otherwise). Everything is essentially a permutaion of Rushmore, which is not really a bad thing at all, but don't expect originality. Those criticisms aside, 'Aquatic' is still miles ahead of most movies churned out by Hollywood, and is The weirdness of Anderson films is begiinning to be predictible, as are the characters Murray is playing in his recent films (Anderson or otherwise). Everything is essentially a permutaion of Rushmore, which is not really a bad thing at all, but don't expect originality. Those criticisms aside, 'Aquatic' is still miles ahead of most movies churned out by Hollywood, and is most enjoyable. Expand
  30. Goddaeus
    Jan 19, 2005
    8
    This movie is extremely dry, which I love. Bill Murray and Angelica Houston do a great job in this film. One downside is that the film is a bit slow and the funnier parts are the previews. But if you're a fan of Bill Murray or dry humor I would recommend this picture.
  31. erika
    Jan 10, 2005
    3
    "The Lifeless Aquatic." Anderson is caught in a serious case of plagurizing, from himself. "Aquatic" recycles too many elements from his previous efforts, and the result feels like a half-hearted misfire. There's quirkiness, but no real humor. The characters fall flat, left adrift in a nearly nonexistent story. Anderson seems to feel like Murray's character, a man lost at sea "The Lifeless Aquatic." Anderson is caught in a serious case of plagurizing, from himself. "Aquatic" recycles too many elements from his previous efforts, and the result feels like a half-hearted misfire. There's quirkiness, but no real humor. The characters fall flat, left adrift in a nearly nonexistent story. Anderson seems to feel like Murray's character, a man lost at sea with no passion for what he's doing. A shameful waste of talent all around. Expand
  32. PeterB
    Jan 25, 2005
    1
    I just don't get Wes Anderson. If rasping away at ironically comic situations until they aren't even remotely funny is what he is trying to accomplish, then he has, with this tedious movie, proven his mastery. The laughs are few - even those subtle laughs you enjoy days later. The only thing I won't forget about this movie is my determination to not waste my moneym or more I just don't get Wes Anderson. If rasping away at ironically comic situations until they aren't even remotely funny is what he is trying to accomplish, then he has, with this tedious movie, proven his mastery. The laughs are few - even those subtle laughs you enjoy days later. The only thing I won't forget about this movie is my determination to not waste my moneym or more importantly, my time on another Wes Anderson film. Expand
  33. TeeS.
    Jan 3, 2005
    6
    Had its moments... nowhere near as great Rushmore or Tenenbaums. The David Bowie strumming guitarist got old real quick. Ditto this character Bill Murray's been doing for far too long now.
  34. richl.
    Jan 30, 2005
    10
    Truly bizarre, with incredibly vibrant sets, indirect but powerful subliminal humor and a killer soundtrack! if you like yours a little offbeat, and think there may be humor in a consistently stoned bill murray, as well as the works of david bowie in portugeuse, your $9.75 will go unwasted at your local multiplex monstrosity.
  35. daniel
    Jan 5, 2005
    10
    A gently subservive dreamscape of a movie.
  36. [Anonymous]
    Jan 6, 2005
    9
    Even better upon a second viewing.
  37. NikD
    Jan 6, 2005
    10
    It's not JUST a comedy, people. Anderson's movies are much more than that. One of the best movies I've seen in a long time, and like nothing else out there. Bill Murray, pirates, David Bowie songs, Jeff Goldblum and stop-motion animation. What more do you need?
  38. Crash
    Jan 6, 2005
    3
    I was under the impression that comedies were supposed to make us laugh. This movie didn't. It tried to be so subtle and ironic that it just ended up not being funny or amusing.
  39. SueB
    Jan 7, 2005
    10
    I absolutely loved it. I found it hilarious. I went right out to buy the soundtrack when I left! go see it if you like off the wall movies!
  40. MichaelG.
    Jan 8, 2005
    2
    'Twee' doesn't begin to describe this self-indulgent mess. Anderson doesn't know how to write comedy, but substitutes character detail and more whimsy than a bowl of radishes. The result is confused, confusing, and ultimately just lame. If it flops, will Hollywood finally wake up and smell the truth: faux hip is SO 1999....
  41. DavidC.
    Jan 8, 2005
    0
    This is absolutley the worst movie I have seen. Ever. I chuckled a few times, but I was bored with the plot and characters and ready to leave halfway through it. I heard a few other people at the theater call it "artsy," and that's just a sad excuse to like the movie and pretend like you see something in it that isn't there. It's really bad that my favorite parts of Life This is absolutley the worst movie I have seen. Ever. I chuckled a few times, but I was bored with the plot and characters and ready to leave halfway through it. I heard a few other people at the theater call it "artsy," and that's just a sad excuse to like the movie and pretend like you see something in it that isn't there. It's really bad that my favorite parts of Life Aquatic were the dog and the guitar guy, accounting for about 2 minutes combined of screen time. I understood what the director was trying to do with the film, but he failed miserably. I wouldn't even recommend watching this movie for free at a friend's house when it comes out on DVD. Expand
  42. TT
    Jan 9, 2005
    10
    Anderson in top form. Name one more movie this year (except Napoleon Dynamite) which has more lines, which will be used long after the movie credits roll? Of course you can't.
  43. AlexR.
    Feb 1, 2005
    5
    Rushmore is in my top 5 films of all time. Since then Anderson has done little but disappoint me. He seems to be more interested in art direction than telling a story. Bill Murray looked as bored as I felt. I hope that he can somehow return to his earlier form.
  44. JeffL.
    Feb 24, 2005
    5
    Self-indulgent, oddball misfire of a comedy from the usually brilliant Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) about an aging American oceanographer/filmmaker (Bill Murray as Zissou) who makes Cousteau-like documentaries about his own adventures. His latest effort is plagued by budget problems, pirates, a pregnant BBC reporter (luminous Cate Blanchett), and the appearance of a Self-indulgent, oddball misfire of a comedy from the usually brilliant Wes Anderson (Rushmore, The Royal Tenenbaums) about an aging American oceanographer/filmmaker (Bill Murray as Zissou) who makes Cousteau-like documentaries about his own adventures. His latest effort is plagued by budget problems, pirates, a pregnant BBC reporter (luminous Cate Blanchett), and the appearance of a grown-up son (Owen Wilson) he had never met. I loved the look of this film, from the deliberate artifice of Zissou's ship (a marvelously detailed and amusing set) to the fantastical, candy-colored sea creatures animated by Henry Selick (Nightmare Before Christmas). I also enjoyed the supporting performances of Blanchett, Willem Dafoe (as an overly sensitive Germanic crew member), and Anjelica Huston (as the estranged Mrs. Zissou). But the film lacks the heart of Rushmore, which was blessed with Murray's warmest performance and Jason Schwartzman's star-making turn; nor does it have Tenenbaum's sharp wit or weirdly affecting take on the strength of family (even a rather dysfunctional one.) I enjoyed this in fits and starts, but for all its abundance of ideas, not nearly enough of them work to fill a rather poky 118 minutes. Expand
  45. VinceH.
    Feb 28, 2005
    4
    This movie feels too hermetic...too closed in and shut out from any real life. I understand it is not meant to exist within the realm of real life, but even the storytelling lacks in that field. This movie has neither the subtle details and hilarious character moments from "Rushmore" or the poignancy and wit of "The Royal Tennenbaums". This movie is certainly unique and original, and This movie feels too hermetic...too closed in and shut out from any real life. I understand it is not meant to exist within the realm of real life, but even the storytelling lacks in that field. This movie has neither the subtle details and hilarious character moments from "Rushmore" or the poignancy and wit of "The Royal Tennenbaums". This movie is certainly unique and original, and Robert Yeoman's photography is brilliant in every way, Anderson seems to be too concerned with being surreal and weird and not care much about character, plot, or story. While in The Royal Tennenbaums, the strange and odd elements were blended into the fabric of the overall frame of the story with Royal reconnecting with his children, it felt natural. Here certain scenarios and character quirks feel forced and uneasy, as if Anderson had a good idea for a scene, and then infused it with unneccessary elements just to make it more strange. Overall a big disapointment. Terrific soundtrack though. Expand
  46. mrbolano
    Mar 11, 2005
    10
    I give this movie a 10 mainly to rail against the hacks who drag the average down by force their intellectual film insecurities onto people who enjoy films by giving ratings of zero or one or two. Hey, it's not about who is smarter. Open up a little and realise that there is something out there in this world for everyone. And if you don't like it, that's okay. But I give this movie a 10 mainly to rail against the hacks who drag the average down by force their intellectual film insecurities onto people who enjoy films by giving ratings of zero or one or two. Hey, it's not about who is smarter. Open up a little and realise that there is something out there in this world for everyone. And if you don't like it, that's okay. But don't try and rationalise other people's enjoyment into some sort of psuedo intellectual us poor white honest folk versus the elite up themsleves scum argument. Will Anderson is an original film maker even if everything he makes doesn't succeed wholly. Just let it rest at that. Expand
  47. LeeW.
    Mar 1, 2005
    0
    Terrible movie. Like a thousand sharpened knives attacking my eyeballs. It tries to be different, tries to invent a new humour. I feel that only pretentious people who are anti-mainstream, anti-Oscars, anti-entertainment will enjoy this movie, and therefore hate all those movies that ARE entertaining and all people that HATE this movie. If you read some of the reviewers who have given Terrible movie. Like a thousand sharpened knives attacking my eyeballs. It tries to be different, tries to invent a new humour. I feel that only pretentious people who are anti-mainstream, anti-Oscars, anti-entertainment will enjoy this movie, and therefore hate all those movies that ARE entertaining and all people that HATE this movie. If you read some of the reviewers who have given this movie 10, (such as Nupe M.) you will see that instead of saying why this film is good, they simply say those who don't like it are idiots. They pretend to be smarter than everyone else because they enjoyed/understood this movie (such as many Donnie Darko fans). But, as with Donnie Darko, you can pretend to make sense of it as much as you can, but you won't succeed. This movie is not good. It is awful. Boring. Dull. Different, but only in a bad way. Expand
  48. CraiganU.
    May 10, 2005
    9
    Wes Anderson provides a checklist of all things fun and fascinating to a little boy--he surrounds Zissou with hot air balloons, hand guns, sharks, submarines, ships, bare breasts, pirates, planes, a pregnant woman. While perhaps not matching the dream-like quality and more immediate message-accessibility of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, when focused more on the former and when Wes Anderson provides a checklist of all things fun and fascinating to a little boy--he surrounds Zissou with hot air balloons, hand guns, sharks, submarines, ships, bare breasts, pirates, planes, a pregnant woman. While perhaps not matching the dream-like quality and more immediate message-accessibility of Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums, when focused more on the former and when appreciated as what Zissou's childlike experience of the world may be like--The Life Aquatic becomes buoyantly alive. Expand
  49. HeathR.
    May 18, 2005
    10
    What most people don't realize about this movie is that you can't just watch it once. it's the small hidden gems in each scene and line that make this a 10. it is my favorite Wes Anderson movie and after a couple of watchs, it'll be yours too! "Be still Cody, Be still."
  50. GarthS.
    Jun 14, 2005
    9
    It was genius i mean the previews gave a total different thought on what itd be like but in no way was it a bad thing. This movie was genius and touching and yes it was funny.
  51. jbyers
    Jun 6, 2005
    10
    Awesome movie. very paced in its comedy.
  52. GeraldT.
    Jul 9, 2005
    2
    A movie with no place important to go and too much time to get there. A few smiles but way too cute and hip. Could not force myself to finish this idiotic, drone.
  53. DanC.
    Aug 5, 2005
    10
    Wes Anderson succeeds in creating a fully-realized world of heartbreaking sadness and subtle humor. To the critic who said it's a comedy with everything but laughs, you're right: it's a much deeper, more satisfying kind of atmospheric humor, without a single belly laugh. And much the better for it. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the film, which I delayed seeing because Wes Anderson succeeds in creating a fully-realized world of heartbreaking sadness and subtle humor. To the critic who said it's a comedy with everything but laughs, you're right: it's a much deeper, more satisfying kind of atmospheric humor, without a single belly laugh. And much the better for it. I was amazed at how much I enjoyed the film, which I delayed seeing because of lukewarm reviews. Now I wish I had trusted Anderson, as he has never failed to deliver in the past. I think his skill at putting his off-kilter vision of life on the screen is at its best here. Luke Wilson is a perfect foil for Bill Murray, and is able to create a commanding, quiet presence in a way that is quite distinct from Murray's own subdued, masterful performance. Rarely have I been more satisfied by two hours of film. See it and decide for yourself. Expand
  54. JonB.
    Apr 10, 2006
    10
    The wry humour and suppresed pace of this movie may alienate or plain annoy some people. But the joy is in the detail, cell animation, soundtrack, cinematography - this is truly well crafted film, the nut's and bolts are often palpable - something lost on the majority of todays cinema goers.
  55. Petey
    Sep 10, 2006
    10
    We watch Anderson deflate myths about heroes and hero-worship, and still arrive at a beautiful and heart-felt ending, one that affirms our quests, as absurd and ego-driven as they may often be. I agree that he's a filmmaker that too often chooses style over narrative (The Royal Tenenbaums is a perfect example, and my least favorite), but he's got a unique vision of our desires, We watch Anderson deflate myths about heroes and hero-worship, and still arrive at a beautiful and heart-felt ending, one that affirms our quests, as absurd and ego-driven as they may often be. I agree that he's a filmmaker that too often chooses style over narrative (The Royal Tenenbaums is a perfect example, and my least favorite), but he's got a unique vision of our desires, nostalgia, and the images they attach themselves to. Noah Baumbach's insights into how our desires exceed our capabilities (making us look like real jerks, all too often) ground all of the work they've done together. I suspect most people couldn't appreciate the connection between the mannered aesthetics of the film, and the themes it addresses. Expand
  56. DennyE
    Jan 2, 2007
    1
    A major comic misfire with no laughs and a distracting Murray. On the Criterion disc is an interview with both of the writers that will make you cringe with disgust and hate the movie even more. Anderson cannot get one sentence out of his mouth without name-dropping some obscure director, artist, musician, whatever it takes to make himself seem hip. On the bright side, it's not as A major comic misfire with no laughs and a distracting Murray. On the Criterion disc is an interview with both of the writers that will make you cringe with disgust and hate the movie even more. Anderson cannot get one sentence out of his mouth without name-dropping some obscure director, artist, musician, whatever it takes to make himself seem hip. On the bright side, it's not as bad as his American Express commercial. Expand
  57. TomB.
    Dec 24, 2004
    8
    Nice flick but boy is Michael S a pretentious guy. Please, don't ever stick me next to him on a transatlantic flight. I think it took longer to read his review than to get to the theater, and I live in the sticks.
  58. AnthonyB.
    Dec 25, 2004
    9
    This movie is awesome if you love Anderson, Murray, Wilson, Goldbloom, Defoe, and Jacques Cousteau. Coincidently, I do but can easily see where some will hate it.
  59. [Anonymous]
    Dec 25, 2004
    10
    Absolutely genious.
  60. RichardG.
    Dec 28, 2004
    9
    This movie was soooooooooooo funny. So querky and had such a big heart. I will definately buy this movie and watch it many times over. The writers do a tremendous job, the acting was close to flawless, and the music was spot on. Some great camera shots in the movie too. Please, SOMEONEm give Wes some kind of award for this
  61. lowlyworm
    Dec 9, 2004
    5
    If you love richard scarry and e. gorey, you'll really like this film!
  62. JohnF.
    Jan 10, 2005
    9
    If you enjoy very random humor, then this is the movie for you. Most of the comedy you have to watch carefully for, but if you catch all of it, you will be laughing histarically.
  63. SuzannaK
    Jan 11, 2005
    10
    Wow! What a great time. Everything about this was terrific. The ship cutaway set- wonderful, and I loved the way it was used. The characters were as delightful as the sea creatures. The soundtrack was brilliant and the editing was perfect.
  64. GabrielL.
    Jan 12, 2005
    10
    A joy to watch from start to finish. Everyone in it shines. Angelica Houston and Cate Blanchet are two of the loveliest women on the planet. William Dafoe is adorable as Klaus. Owen Wilson charms, despite a bad Kentuky accent. The Portugese translations of Bowie songs by the ships safety expert, Pele (Seu Jorge) along with Mark Mothersbaugh's original score and Anderson's usual A joy to watch from start to finish. Everyone in it shines. Angelica Houston and Cate Blanchet are two of the loveliest women on the planet. William Dafoe is adorable as Klaus. Owen Wilson charms, despite a bad Kentuky accent. The Portugese translations of Bowie songs by the ships safety expert, Pele (Seu Jorge) along with Mark Mothersbaugh's original score and Anderson's usual selection of perfectly placed songs, make the film a pleasure to listen to from the opening frame to the end of the closing credits. Bill Murray provides the tone for the entire movie in his character. If the movie strays into unprotected waters, it's because that's how Steve Zissou runs his ship. Zissou's crew is charming, eccentric, and mostly incompetent. Anderson has such a way with these types of characters that he can just send them out to sea together and know that no matter how disatrous the results, it will be damn entertaining. Also, I loved the fake-as-hell fish. Expand
  65. burtonm.
    Jan 12, 2005
    8
    Another bill murray/wes anderson gem. Funny, different, wierd, excellent.
  66. brianf
    Jan 15, 2005
    8
    Peculiar and whimsical, this film is a refreshing break from pretentious American film maker savants who take their art too seriously.
  67. JesseR.
    Jan 19, 2005
    10
    This movie is by far the best that any type of cinema has or will ever have to offer.
  68. ChrisP
    Jan 19, 2005
    1
    Self-consciously ironic, coldly artificial, almost completely unfunny and boring as hell. This isn't a real movie, it's like an idea of a movie. Anderson should set his sights on a fact-based story next time to get out of this arty quagmire he's mired in.
  69. MikeW.
    Jan 21, 2005
    10
    Best movie of the year.
  70. LenS.
    Jan 2, 2005
    1
    Boring, vacuous movie, subsisting totally on the insults and snide remarks that one character makes about other characters. The remarks are to the other person's face, and behind-the-back. Neither are funny.
  71. JohnC.
    Jan 25, 2005
    9
    A movie that is NOT the same old same onl. Its so different its good. If you like the UNordinary then try this one out for size. Its fun, adventurous and full of surprises.
  72. RRMullen
    Jan 25, 2005
    10
    Either you get this humor or you don't. This s/b an Oscar nominee- if the Oscars weren't poof.
  73. NupeM.
    Jan 31, 2005
    10
    This is Wes Anderson's all time best movie. Although some may say that Rushmore or Bottle Rocket are better, I would propose that The Life Acquatic represents a culmination of the genre that Anderson has created. As you can see by the reviews, some people simply don't get it (alas, it a tad bit more subtle than XXX or Fast and Furious). But, if you like smart, quirkily funny, This is Wes Anderson's all time best movie. Although some may say that Rushmore or Bottle Rocket are better, I would propose that The Life Acquatic represents a culmination of the genre that Anderson has created. As you can see by the reviews, some people simply don't get it (alas, it a tad bit more subtle than XXX or Fast and Furious). But, if you like smart, quirkily funny, unnerving yet imminently compelling characters and stories that represent real human emotion, you'll love this movie. Expand
  74. eyestabber
    Jan 9, 2005
    0
    Wanted to stab my eye out after 20 minutes. aweful movie.
  75. rodp.
    Feb 16, 2005
    0
    Unbelievable disapointment, you will laugh once, thats it. should not be classified as a comedy. worst movie bill murray has ever been in, and i love his movies, was looking forward to this, the clips in commercials give you the wrong impression of what kind of movie this is. saw it with my 14-15 year old nephews, my 37 year old brother and my 60 year old dad, we all agreed that even for Unbelievable disapointment, you will laugh once, thats it. should not be classified as a comedy. worst movie bill murray has ever been in, and i love his movies, was looking forward to this, the clips in commercials give you the wrong impression of what kind of movie this is. saw it with my 14-15 year old nephews, my 37 year old brother and my 60 year old dad, we all agreed that even for a hundred dollars a head, we would not sit through that movie again. this will be the low point in bill murray's career. attack of the killer tomatoes was more entertaining. Expand
  76. EricH.
    Feb 18, 2005
    1
    The kind of movie that makes you just plain "PISSED" after you struggle to stay awake to finally realize you've completely wasted 2hrs of your life.
  77. KyleW.
    May 13, 2005
    9
    A review I read in Sight & Sound pulled their own metaphor from the movie that I found interesting. Towards the beginning when Zissou fights the photographer and inadvertaintly pops the bag the crayon-pony fish was in and he then drops it into a cup and carries it away. This could be scene as a metaphor for the films of Wes Anderson. An interesting creature obviously not of this world but A review I read in Sight & Sound pulled their own metaphor from the movie that I found interesting. Towards the beginning when Zissou fights the photographer and inadvertaintly pops the bag the crayon-pony fish was in and he then drops it into a cup and carries it away. This could be scene as a metaphor for the films of Wes Anderson. An interesting creature obviously not of this world but trapped in a small quarters to only swin around in the same water forever. Now don't get me wrong, The Royal Tenenbaums is one of my favorite films of all time but Anderson needs to move on. In Rushmore when Max Fisher wrote and directed plays but the movie was segmented by curtains giving the impression that life is also a play you're writing every second I thought it was very insightful and brilliant; however, if we move forward two films he's still trying to tap into that same well with the Belafonte being divided in half so you get the feeling they're on stage. Judging this film alone, it's a very creative gesture that doesn't tie in completely but is certainly welcomed. But when you look at the rest of Anderson's repotriore you see it's just variations on the same expression. Despite that, there is oringinality to this film though. For instance Tenenbaums was a very slow paced film where not really anything happened plot wise (as most character studies are). So to go from that to a " high seas adventure-comedy" is a nice step forward. As well as all the stop-motion sea-creatures making this Anderson's most surreal film to date. But aside from that the main piont of the film is still the same. Poor excuses for fathers and people who are too involved in their own worlds to see beyond themselves (although the addition of a character like Ned is a nice twist to the Anderson gang). As much as this failure to develop bugs me, my only legitamate complaint though is, like with most people, the script. Now I know this is not an ensemble cast piece like Tenenbaums but even the secondary characters need more room to breath. All the sedondary characters are interesting (Ned, Klaus, Elenore, Jane, and Alistair if you wish) and diverse enough however Anderson doesn't let them stretch beyond "what they can do to serve/avoid Steve". Tenenbaums was written brilliantly with a perfect balance between everyone. So I don't know if i should be blaming the new co-writer Baumbach, or maybe just Wes slipped up in editing. Regardless it's still a wonderful film, no masterpiece and you can tell he can do much better although the direction is still top notch so nothing to complain about there. His next film is going to be Ronald Dahl's "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" and will be done in all stop-motion. So it seems our beloved director will infact finally move on Thank you. Expand
  78. RicoD.
    May 17, 2005
    1
    Wes Anderson movies just keep getting worse and worse. Even all the quirky star power doesn't save this disaster. My advice: skip this and see Rushmore again.
  79. JimM.
    Jul 24, 2005
    0
    One of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life! What drugs were those critics on??? A waste of the four dollars spend to rent this bad bad bad turkey.
  80. JustinB
    Jul 28, 2005
    7
    Seems people are setting this up as a comedy and then complaining that it isn't funny. Well it's not a comedy, it's a quirky drama and it works pretty well, although not on the level of the Tenenbaums, I'd agree.
  81. ronc.
    Jul 3, 2005
    2
    Very poor! Not funny!
  82. AlistairD.
    Jul 5, 2005
    10
    One of the funniest films if ever seen. I am recently converted to the works Wes Anderson and i think this is his funniest if not his best work yet.
  83. JackS.
    Aug 20, 2005
    1
    This movie was absolutely horrible. On the back cover of the DVD a guy named Glenn Kenny with Premiere gives it 4 stars, and a guy named Richard Schickel of Time says it's the "Best Comedy of the Year". I will NEVER trust a review by either of them. I think I managed one slight barely audible chuckle throughout the film.
  84. CareyS
    Aug 20, 2005
    0
    It's rare that I see a movie so bad that I actually look up the critics on the DVD box that gave it favorable ratings just to see if those people actually exist. The movie was supposedly a comedy, but there was nothing funny about it. The most humorous thing was Bill Murray saying "Remind me to send him a red cap and a speedo" (meaning make him a member of our team) when he found It's rare that I see a movie so bad that I actually look up the critics on the DVD box that gave it favorable ratings just to see if those people actually exist. The movie was supposedly a comedy, but there was nothing funny about it. The most humorous thing was Bill Murray saying "Remind me to send him a red cap and a speedo" (meaning make him a member of our team) when he found someone he liked. The absurd thought of him sending someone a red cap and a speedo brought a mild chuckle (the biggest laugh I could manage), but how exactly is that "intelligent" humor as the people who like this movie call it? Is it "smart and quirky" when Bill Murray and his team wear pajamas to the beach at night to film creatures that wash up on the shore? I think not. I find it stupid. Oh, I see the attempt at humor, but it fails miserably. If I could give this movie a -1 I would. Save yourself the boredom and the pain. Skip this one. Expand
  85. JackW.
    Oct 11, 2006
    10
    This was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. It doesn't surprise me that so many people didn't 'get it' ... the mixing of stories; the esoteric humor and heavy irony make the movie unreachable to some. As an ex-zoologist who grew up watching the efforts of countless nature documentarian wanna-be's I was able to connect with the movie on an This was one of the funniest movies I've seen in a long time. It doesn't surprise me that so many people didn't 'get it' ... the mixing of stories; the esoteric humor and heavy irony make the movie unreachable to some. As an ex-zoologist who grew up watching the efforts of countless nature documentarian wanna-be's I was able to connect with the movie on an entirely different level. (Of course knowing that the over the top species in the film were done in stop action animation - with a tip of the hat to Ray Harryhausen, no less - certainly didn't hurt either!) This is one of those stories where we the viewers are left to fill in many blanks. And that, to me, is often what can make a movie truly engaging. Not only that, but the entire way that he movie is shot, the dialogue, the flow of the story, the images makes one feel not that they are watching a story unfold, but rather that they are looking into the imagination of someone who is hearing the tale as told by someone else. A brilliant flick, but not surprisingly not for everyone as you have to work and think to get the full value here. Expand
  86. JeffM.
    Oct 15, 2006
    6
    I've enjoyed all of Wes Anderson's movies, and even loved one of them (Rushmore), but it was only a matter of time before he'd fall too in love with his own sense of ironic whimsy. Aquatic is never boring (with that cast, how could it be?), but the story never shakes the feeling that they're making it all up as they go along.
  87. DavidB.
    Feb 22, 2006
    10
    This is one of my favorite movies. If this is a failure, I'll take a Wes Anderson failure over 97% of the successes out there. Makes you feel good for two hours, though it doesn't make you laugh like an idiot. But really, who belly-laughs anyways? If you sit there with a checklist as to what comprises a good film, of course you'll be lost. But what classic movie This is one of my favorite movies. If this is a failure, I'll take a Wes Anderson failure over 97% of the successes out there. Makes you feel good for two hours, though it doesn't make you laugh like an idiot. But really, who belly-laughs anyways? If you sit there with a checklist as to what comprises a good film, of course you'll be lost. But what classic movie doesn't depart from convention? This movie, to me, is like two hours of that delicious tension you feel right before a punchline is delivered. On repeated viewings, you begin to realise that exploring the setup can be as fulfilling as racing to the gag. Having said that, there is a lot of traditional laughs here. "Be still, Cody," for example. But come on, every single line here is gold. Watch it fifteen times. So true, in its way. Expand
  88. MikeG.
    Apr 15, 2006
    10
    My favorite movie. The irony kills in this movie.
  89. SamD.
    Jul 1, 2006
    3
    ummm, i turned this movie off. i started watching it BY CHOICE and i really wanted to see it, but it was just bad. i liked the wife character, but that was it.
  90. OLuc
    Jul 27, 2006
    9
    Though this movie isn't exactly the masterpiece that "Lost in Translation" was, the movie is still a very smart Bill Murray comedy that has the nice whimsical feel of Wes Anderson's previous films. Though it has been considered a flop by most critics, I still fully enjoy the film, and always find something new to admire everytime I watch it. A favourite from the year 2004.
  91. MikeC
    Feb 29, 2008
    10
    One of Wes Anderson's finest films. It's a shame that the critics and most viewers just don't seem to "get it". But then again, its the same with all his movies, if one has the sense of humor as I do, his films are among your favorites.
  92. DanielR.
    Feb 29, 2008
    10
    This perfectly captures what makes Wes Anderson so great; deadpan humor, absurd plots, eye candy, and genuine emotion underneath.
  93. KristinaE.
    Jul 16, 2008
    3
    VERY accurate portrait of a full-blown narcissist, but otherwise quite fragmented, bizarre and lacking in real deeper meaning. So many things seemed artificial, superficial, show-offy and unreal. Perhaps this was meant to mirror the empty narcissist? The relationships and feelings (and even deaths) seemed fake, even though the movie was crammed with different people, situations and VERY accurate portrait of a full-blown narcissist, but otherwise quite fragmented, bizarre and lacking in real deeper meaning. So many things seemed artificial, superficial, show-offy and unreal. Perhaps this was meant to mirror the empty narcissist? The relationships and feelings (and even deaths) seemed fake, even though the movie was crammed with different people, situations and relationships, that could have been explored in many interesting ways (but all of them remained one dimensional, although I'm convinced the excellent actors did their best with what they had.)But kudos to Bill Murray for excellently portraying the charm and ruthlessness of a true, fully self-absorbed narcissist! Expand
  94. KevinM
    Mar 7, 2009
    10
    This to me is the funniest and most heart warming of Wes Anderson's films.
  95. DignanA
    Dec 13, 2004
    10
    I wish I had more time, and more talent for communicating elusive comedy, because if I did, perhaps I could explain to people exactly what makes Wes Anderson such a great filmmaker. More importantly, I could describe just what makes RadioLady's review so damned funny. A more hilarious study in utterly unselfconscious personalities would be hard to find outside of movies made by Wes I wish I had more time, and more talent for communicating elusive comedy, because if I did, perhaps I could explain to people exactly what makes Wes Anderson such a great filmmaker. More importantly, I could describe just what makes RadioLady's review so damned funny. A more hilarious study in utterly unselfconscious personalities would be hard to find outside of movies made by Wes himself. "...made me want to go back to Italy"? "this particular emperor has new clothes"? No wait, wait. Here's my favorite: "Idealogical thought". This had to be a joke. It HAD to be. If it was, it's sublime. Oh, and be blessed by Wes' movies--sometimes it seems they're the only good ones still being made. Expand
  96. DanB.
    Dec 15, 2004
    8
    It doesn't have the pathos of Rushmore or the Royal Tees but, really, who gives a poop? It's a loopy movie, always funny, sometimes hilarious, and clever. Maybe a bit too much on the cutesy quirky stuff but no matter. And how can you not love the Bowie acoustic in Portuguese!
  97. MichaelS.
    Dec 19, 2004
    10
    As any fan of director Wes Anderson will tell you, the choice of music in Anderson?s films is always of special interest, often reflecting his subject with a particular slant. For example, Anderson?s film The Royal Tenenbaums was memorably set in a colorful fantasy New York and was complemented in turn by a subtle pan-New York soundtrack. The music selection took in such metropolitan As any fan of director Wes Anderson will tell you, the choice of music in Anderson?s films is always of special interest, often reflecting his subject with a particular slant. For example, Anderson?s film The Royal Tenenbaums was memorably set in a colorful fantasy New York and was complemented in turn by a subtle pan-New York soundtrack. The music selection took in such metropolitan notables as The Velvet Underground, The Ramones, Paul Simon, and even John Lennon in his solo days. With his latest film, the melancholy sea-faring adventure The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Anderson provides a large serving of early 70?s David Bowie. The film boasts a handful of Bowie?s own recordings from the era, plus several laid-back cover versions and an Iggy and the Stooges track that was mixed by Bowie. Of course, David Bowie in the 1970?s ? during his Ziggy Stardust period ? was a dramatic and inspired performer, but his roots were planted firmly in the theater (he had a passion for mime). When he left glam rock behind for Philly Soul first and Krautrock second, it became clear that Bowie never really was the rock god Ziggy, that it was all in fact a great performance. This simple analysis of David Bowie may provide the key for understanding The Life Aquatic. The film itself is much like a great Bowie tune ? glitzy and bold but all performance. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou signals a new formalism in the work of Wes Anderson. Substantive character analysis and tear-jerking reconciliations take a backseat to a greater focus on aesthetics. Anderson has always been a visually striking filmmaker, but The Life Aquatic elevates his formalism to a high art of froth; the film runs through the motions of rich storytelling but never grants plot or character any real privilege. Anderson?s attention remains fixed on his wonderfully diverse form, shuttling from educational wildlife filmmaking to experimental montage, from cameras that rock with the sea to bold Kubrickian symmetry, even from widescreen footage to a television-scoped aspect ratio. And while the film is carefully composed ? far more, say, than Anderson?s formative Bottle Rocket ? its camerawork retains an appealing looseness that was often lacking in the rigor of The Royal Tenenbaums. The Life Aquatic, much like Quentin Tarantino?s Kill Bill vol. 1, may be its director?s supreme case for style as substance. But I am already hearing audiences complain that Anderson?s distance from his characters ? so unlike his warmth in Rushmore or Tenenbaums ? is the great fault of The Life Aquatic. Indeed, one might have to agree: while it is ludicrous to claim that all films require developed and textured characters to succeed (if you think that?s true, see Kubrick?s 2001), The Life Aquatic does spend time on its characters? dysfunctional relationships and on scenes of emotional catharsis. The problem is, these scenes don?t take the foreground and they feel like hollow copies of similar scenes from Rushmore or Tenenbaums. There are in fact, many glaring correspondences between The Life Aquatic and Anderson?s earlier films: Bill Murray?s Steve Zissou is essentially a version of Murray?s character from Rushmore and the Murray and Gene Hackman characters both from Tenenbaums; Angelica Huston plays essentially the same role here that she played in Tenenbaums; and Anderson?s stock themes ? fatherhood, the role of dead friends in one?s life ? recur here as well, as do familiar scenarios (the Zissou clan?s invasion of an abandoned hotel, for example, recalls the botched heist at the end of Bottle Rocket). The list goes on and on. So many similarities may lead one to conclude that Anderson is treading water, but there is something else at work here. The similarities are too bold, too blatant, and sometimes too exact. There is a scene wherein Steve Zissou is reconciled to his nemesis Alistair Hennessey, played by Jeff Goldblum, when he remarks that all of us are ?part gay.? The way the moment functions dramatically is near-identical to past moments in Anderson?s films where a single utterance can break down the barriers between two people. (We may remember Ben Stiller?s line in Tenenbaums, ?It?s been a tough year, dad.?) But the ?part gay? reconciliation is a joke ? it is funny and strange and even rushed ? and it does not move one profoundly. And yet? it does, somehow. The moment works if we know the world of Wes Anderson, if we know from his earlier films how it must function emotionally. Anderson may no longer be so deeply in touch with his characters onscreen, but they are still his characters, they are still the same Wes Anderson-types ? melancholy eccentrics, hard-headed women, sensitive adventurers ? and we understand them because Anderson has explored them so brilliantly in the past. Anderson has built himself a troupe of stock characters, earning the right to simply use them in a visually dynamic storyline. And while the script still rounds the same emotional bases, hitting nearly identical moments of catharsis, it is now simply a show, a performance, a great Bowie number, without any real piercing depth. On one level then, the movie becomes a parody of Anderson?s earlier work. Yet, through a familiarity with Anderson?s oeuvre, we can easily transfer much of the weight of Rushmore or Tenenbaums onto these characters and scenes; in fact, I believe that we are invited to do so. With this hard-earned elbowroom ? with the ability to use complex characters without having to create them again before our eyes ? Anderson can devote his full attention to form, and he delivers the greatest aesthetic statement of his career. Another thought: I saw The Life Aquatic with a sold-out opening night crowd in New York City, and the mood in the room after the credits rolled was decidedly hesitant. I heard one patron remark, ?It wasn?t as good as his other films.? Another said, ?I would have walked out if it wasn?t for Willem Defoe.? These comments struck me as strangely familiar, before I realized what I was remembering: the opening scenes of the film itself, when the crowd feels that Steve Zissou?s new oceanographic film is not as good as his others, and we see a couple walking out on his Q & A. It seems that Anderson may have embedded his film with a resistance to criticism he may have anticipated. While The Royal Tenenbaums was highly beloved, it was also criticized Rushmore fanatics for being overly formal. Anderson may have anticipated greater concern on this front with The Life Aquatic, and so he depicts a filmmaker defending himself against claims of ?unrealistic? filmmaking. That Zissou?s critics are shown as somewhat cold-hearted may be Anderson?s veiled critique of content-minded crowds bemoaning more formal projects. In this regard, The Life Aquatic recalls Woody Allen?s beautiful film Stardust Memories, wherein Allen plays a filmmaker whose fans prefer his ?earlier funny films? (this at a time when Allen himself was moving further away from comedy in his work). While Anderson is by no indications leaving comedy behind, he may be deliberately recalling Stardust Memories to signal a shift in his own artistic direction. But people don?t want change. Audiences have a hard time seeing new work as a stage in an onward progression. They want what they liked before. But if you want Rushmore, go rent it. The new one?s called The Life Aquatic, and it is both different and the same, exactly as it should be. Expand
  98. mrsmith
    Dec 21, 2004
    2
    Quite disappointing.. Ole' Wes really made a sucky movie this time. I usually like his films.. But this reeked like crap. I wish i had 2 sets of hands to give this one 4 thumbs down.
  99. JaneL.
    Dec 26, 2004
    10
    Loved it. twisted, subtle, genious.
  100. DanaM.
    Dec 28, 2004
    2
    Awful. Simply Awful. Did I say this was an awful movie? I'm very disapppointed that Bill Murray would take this script. I had high hopes after his great performance in "Lost in Translation". Very disappointing and lame.
Metascore
62

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
  1. Wonderfully weird and wistful adventure-comedy about a fish-out-of-water oceanographer.
  2. Reviewed by: Robert Koehler
    50
    The effect is often soporific.
  3. Murray is always pleasurable company, and his barely suppressed soulfulness might've supported this dawdling big-fish story if its insistent larkiness had abated and let a little reality in, as had "Rushmore."