documentary film maker Steve Zissou. His last film that he made was 9 years ago, in which it showed his partner getting killed by a shark. Now he wants to set out and make a film about him getting this shark and move on with his life. In this, he is joined by his wife (Anjelica Houston), a journalist (Cate Blanchett), his assistant (Willem Dafoe), and his various other crew.Into this mix appears a man who claims to be his long lost son, played by
Owen Wilson, and a rival marine biologist, played by Jeff Goldblum. As
they all set sail, they encounter pirates, all manner of sea creatures, and even deadlier species - themselves!!!
The Life Aquatic is directed by Wes Anderson, who has directed the
popular indie hits Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums. Both of those films
starred an excellent ensemble cast, in which Bill Murray was a part of, and this film is no exception. The style of comedy that Anderson uses is a very sly laid back style, which may not be to everyone’s taste, but which I personally like. All the characters in this film are very real and human, and can be just as vicious and deadly as the sharks and other dangerous things they encounter.
Bill Murray is great in this. This is the type of part that he plays
well, and obviously has a good time doing. His character of Steve is very
egotistical and wants things done his way, but over the course of the film
you see him become more sympathetic, and gradually understand how he came to be this way. Bill Murray has made many good films, with his most recent one being Lost in Translation, which was just fantastic. The role he played in that is similar to the one he plays here. Cate Blanchett and Anjelica Houston are both good as well, as women who are complete opposites to each other, but who both have an effect on how Steve behaves and his decision making.
Owen Wilson is good as always. Wilson is the type of actor who can take
on any type of role and make them believable, no matter what the situation. Starsky and Hutch, Behind Enemy Lines, and this one, are all very different films, and yet he’s been good in all of them. Willem Dafoe and Jeff Goldblum both give very good performances as well, and again both these actors have done amazing work in the past and deliver once again here.
This is a very intelligent witty comedy that is easy to follow, with a
good script that stays the distance until the end. The comedy comes out
naturally from situations and doesn’t feel ‘tacked on’ just for the sake of it. The film does have some drama, and a few twists, but that only serves to make the story gripping and exciting as well as funny. Mention must be made of the special effects on the film. Wes Anderson hasn’t used much special effects in his films before, but in this one the scenes of the underwater creatures are quite amazing and give these scenes a very ‘other worldly’ quality.
I thought this was a very funny well made film, with a great cast. As
mentioned, the style of humour may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but if
given the chance, I’m sure everyone would enjoy the film as much as I did.
Rating out of 10: 8
Will Smith has had a varied and successful career since coming to people’s attention in the early 90’s tv comedy ‘The Fresh Prince of Bell Air’. Since then he’s been in all sorts of films such as ‘Wild Wild West’, ‘Enemy of the State’, ‘Ali’, and more recently, ‘I, Robot’. Most of his roles have usually been actioned orientated ones with a dash of humour and wise cracks. He has developed an easy going persona over time, which audiences seem to like, and is one of those actors who people like seeing on the screen time and again. His acting range is quite good, and he certainly stretched himself in ‘Ali’, in which he played the famous boxer of the title. In ‘Hitch’, he certainly doesn’t stretch himself much at all, however, once again, his charm saves the film from being a disaster, and unlike most Sandra Bullock starring romantic comedies, this one is quite well acted. This is his first ‘out and out’ comedy role, and he does an adequate job of it.
The man playing Albert, Kevin James, is very good. He makes his role sympathetic and you hope things work out for him (which being a romantic comedy, you know it will). The woman playing the gossip columnist, Sarah, is good as well. She gives the role plenty of spark and holds up well against Will Smith. They make a good couple, although at times, she did tend to overact in some scenes. The woman playing the celebrity that Albert falls in love with was the weak link in the couples - the actress was quite wooden at times and didn’t really make enough out of the role than she should have.
This is definitely a fantasy film for sure - only in a romantic comedy would an ‘average New Yorker’ own a million dollar apartment and drive a BMW. With films such as these, you know what to expect: ‘boy meets girl, boy loses girls, boy gets girl, etc’. Although this film is better than some comedies of recent years - I was expecting a disaster, as I know that at times, Will Smith himself can overact and ruin a film, but this film was above average.
Sometimes, there is a ‘dot to dot’ feel to the film - you can predict how some scenes will happen. However there are some surprises that make the film stand out. I would say this film is a perfectly well made product from the Hollywood factory. It sets out to be a feel good romantic comedy and succeeds for the most part. Although it must be said, that for a rom-com, it is a bit overlong at nearly 2 hours. It could have easily been cut by 15 minutes. The secret of a comedy is not to outstay it’s welcome - ‘make them laugh and go’ - and this one almost stretched out the welcome by the time it ended. A reasonable comedy that has several chuckles in it, rather than constant laugh out loud moments.
Rating out of 10: 6