User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 256 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 44 out of 256
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  1. 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.
  2. 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
  3. 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.
  4. 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!
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. KarenW.
    Feb 10, 2005
    0
    A total waste of time. Bad script, bad acting, no laughs.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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
  12. 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. Collapse
  13. 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.
  14. 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....
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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
  19. 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.
  20. 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.
  21. eyestabber
    Jan 9, 2005
    0
    Wanted to stab my eye out after 20 minutes. aweful movie.
  22. 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
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
  26. ronc.
    Jul 3, 2005
    2
    Very poor! Not funny!
  27. 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.
  28. 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
  29. 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.
  30. 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
  31. 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.
  32. 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.
  33. devint
    Dec 30, 2004
    0
    Miserable movie, like watching grass grow.
  34. MarkB.
    Jan 31, 2005
    3
    I honestly do not get Wes Anderson, and I get the Wes Anderson cult even less. There's a definite base of filmgoers (some of whose opinions I truly respect) who find tremendous profundity and poignancy in Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums; I've always found them to be mildly amusing but rather off-puttingly chilly gagfests. Anderson doesn't really direct I honestly do not get Wes Anderson, and I get the Wes Anderson cult even less. There's a definite base of filmgoers (some of whose opinions I truly respect) who find tremendous profundity and poignancy in Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums; I've always found them to be mildly amusing but rather off-puttingly chilly gagfests. Anderson doesn't really direct films as much as he stages tableaux; he's a filmmaker whose visual style I think is better suited for a different medium altogether:committee-written and produced parody trade bestsellers like Jon Stewart's current smash America (The Book) or the National Lampoon's legendary 1964 High School Yearbook (although both of these works are much funnier and, frankly, have a great deal more genuine heart). Nevertheless, Anderson's films up to now still provided a reasonably entertaining night at the movies, largely because of the droll acting performances, especially Bill Murray's in Rushmore and Gene Hackman's in Tenenbaums. Well, the ride is officially over: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is a near-complete disaster in almost every department. An unbearably overextended treatment of a one-joke premise saddled with an unbelievably selfish, irritating and unlikable title character (Murray), Life Aquatic meanderingly details the professional and personal perils of a Jacques Cousteau-like documentary filmmaker who takes his crew and various hangers-on on a voyage to kill the shark that ate a friend and crew member, and capture it all on film. I know it's usually not right to include the reactions of the audience I saw the movie with in my response to it, but I feel compelled to report that the 25 or so people in attendance at my showing laughed so few times, you'd think they were watching House of Sand and Fog! From the annoying, repetitive and nearly endless petty squabblings of all the supporting characters (Anjelica Huston, Owen Wilson, Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett, etc.) to the distracting gimmick of having Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) animate all the fauna (a tactical mistake, because their scene-stealing only further illuminates how threadbare all the stuff going on in front of, behind and all around them is), Life Aquatic is in nearly every way the work of a man who has started to take his own press clippings to heart and is making us suffer for it. Appreciate whatever tiny bits of nourishing plankton DO happen to float by: Willem Dafoe's delicatessen accent is a riot; Sev Jorge does a truly showstopping on-ship rendition of David Bowie's Space Oddity;and I loved the gorgeous handpainted posters of Zissou's various earlier documentaries that we see early on (actually, I wouldn't mind owning one!) And Ms. Huston, as Zissou's estranged wife, is still--nearly two decades after Prizzi's Honor--an amazingly sexy actress; she looks so good in a strapless gown that it almost compensates for the absolute torture of having to watch Murray with his shirt off every fourth scene or so. Three big questions remain: 1.) Since Anderson collaborated with a different screenwriter than Owen Wilson this time, does that make Wilson the real genius behind the Anderson oeuvre? 2.) If (1.) truly is the case, and Wilson IS a genius, then why does he keep making all those crappy comedies with Ben Stiller? And finally, 3.) Why are critics and filmgoers more or less giving Anderson a pass for doing more of the same, only worse...but when M. Night Shyamalan released a 2004 movie that pretty much adhered to all of Shyamalan's trademark characteristics, he gets treated like he kidnapped and killed the Lindbergh baby? Expand
  35. JamieG.
    Jul 13, 2005
    1
    Painfully awful. As a huge Bill Murray fan, I kept waiting for something funny to laugh at, and yet, it never materialized. Some will say, "You just don't get it." Well, there was nothing to get...just a horrible disaster of a movie.
  36. davids
    Dec 31, 2004
    2
    This is the most boring movie I've seen in years. My wife fell asleep. The three legged dog was the highlight.
  37. DougZ
    Dec 17, 2007
    0
    I just don't "get it." This film sets a mood, but doesn't go anywhere. If the idea of a plot is optional, you'll love this film. I couldn't help but feel like characters were introduced just so the actors could work with Wes Anderson. Wes, you stole two hours of my life!
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."