The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Image

Generally favorable reviews - based on 38 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 243 Ratings

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  • Starring: , , ,
  • Summary: Internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou (Murray) and his crew set sail on an expedition to hunt down the mysterious, elusive, possibly non-existent Jaguar Shark that killed Zissou's partner during the documentary filming of their latest adventure. (Touchstone Pictures)
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 38
  2. Negative: 2 out of 38
  1. The director of "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums" scores his most funny-sad movie to date.
  2. Like the old and creaky Belafonte, the film itself seems forever on the brink of drifting away. But it's the kind of drifting that's nothing but enjoyable. In fact, it's beyond enjoyable - heading into waters full of whimsy, mystery and odd, psychedelic fish.
  3. 75
    Wilson drops the ironic smirk to give a sincerely affecting performance. His scenes with Murray provide the ballast when the script veers off into unconvincing pirate attacks and animated sea creatures.
  4. 63
    The damnedest film. I can't recommend it, but I would not for one second discourage you from seeing it.
  5. 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."
  6. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    Nothing but attitude.
  7. 25
    It's the strangest comic misfire yet from Wes Anderson.

See all 38 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 94 out of 141
  2. Negative: 37 out of 141
  1. JackW.
    Oct 11, 2006
    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
  2. KevinM
    Mar 7, 2009
    This to me is the funniest and most heart warming of Wes Anderson's films.
  3. Jan 29, 2014
    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. Expand
  4. Jan 4, 2014
    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.
  5. Nov 2, 2010
    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. Expand
  6. IanA.
    Nov 22, 2005
    Quite an enjoyable watch. Some funny laughs but mostly an interesting style of storytelling and filming. The sound quality is very bad at some points and had us questioning what was said. Expand
  7. DougZ
    Dec 17, 2007
    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! Expand

See all 141 User Reviews