A true masterpiece, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou is a wonderful piece of cinema. It sees Wes Anderson crafting an experience like no other and showing blatant disregard for convention and the rules. It’s a $50 million art movie with an A-list cast that offers a treasure trove of delights for those willing to climb aboard and I can’t recommend it enough.
The 2004 film sees Wes Anderson building on the groundwork laid in his first three films (Bottle Rocket, Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums) to deliver a bold vision and a large budget that only comes with success. Anderson’s stylistic ticks are all present and correct and he throws in some stop motion animation (courtesy of Henry Selick) to create a visual feast that plays like a dusty old edition of a National Geographic which has been littered with children’s drawings of fantastic sea creatures.
Bill Murray is perfect in the The Life Aquatic. Like many Murray roles, Zissou isn’t a likeable man but we’re made to like him by how Murray unfolds who he is. It’s a remarkable piece of work and one of the best performances of Murray’s career which has sadly been overlooked between the Groundhog Days and Lost In Translations. The Life Aquatic is the ultimate Bill Murray vehicle.
The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou grossed $24 million at the US box office and $34 million globally from a $50 million budget when it was released in 2004.