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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)

With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.

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3 wins & 10 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

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Niels Koizumi ...
Pawel Wdowczak ...
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Intern #1
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Storyline

When his partner is killed by the mysterious and possibly nonexistent Jaguar Shark, Steve Zissou and his Team Zissou crew set off for an expedition to hunt down the creature. Along with his estranged wife, a beautiful journalist and a co-pilot who could possibly be Zissou's son, the crew set off for one wild expedition. Written by FilmFanUK

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The deeper you go, the weirder life gets


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some drug use, violence and partial nudity | See all certifications »

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Details

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Release Date:

25 December 2004 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

The Life Aquatic  »

Box Office

Budget:

$50,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$113,085 (USA) (10 December 2004)

Gross:

$24,006,726 (USA) (25 February 2005)
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The DVD commentary was recorded in the same New York diner where Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach actually wrote the film. See more »

Goofs

Steve Zissou demonstrates diving helmets with integrated radio receivers and headphones in order to listen to music under water. As a marine scientist, he would know that radio waves do not propagate in sea water (except very low and extremely low frequencies, both of which need huge antennas to send messages). Given the nature of this film, these diving helmets are due to artistic license. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
[in Italian]
Festival Director: Ladies and gentlemen, we are very pleased to welcome you to the world premiere of Part 1 of the newest film from a great favorite of ours here at Loquasto, Mr. Steve Zissou. A brief Q & A will immediately follow the screening. Thank you.
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Crazy Credits

In the scene of the credits where the crew boards the Belafonte, Ned can clearly be seen at the top of the ship in full pilot's uniform smoking his pipe. See more »

Connections

Referenced in American Dad!: The Life Aquatic with Steve Smith (2016) See more »

Soundtracks

Five Years
Written by David Bowie
Performed by Seu Jorge
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User Reviews

 
A Beautiful Modern Fantasy
27 August 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Life Aquatic" is most certainly an unusual film. It's something of a collage of colorful imagery, fragmented shots, quirky music, strange characters, bizarre situations, and amusing montages. But if one had seen Wes Anderson's previous films, one would expect nothing less.

It can't really be helped that there be a certain amount of hype around Anderson's name, after all, his films "Rushmore" and "The Royal Tenenbaums" both generated vast critical acclaim and three of this young director's four films have already received the Criterion DVD treatment. Is the buzz warranted? I say, absolutely. Anderson has created some of the most vibrant, vivid, unique, and off-beat films of the last decade, and "The Life Aquatic" is no exception.

The film follows Steve Zissou (Murray), a formerly glorious oceanographer whose latest documentary, which is about his closest friend and colleague, Esteban, being eaten by a "Jaguar Shark", receives a less-than-glorious reception. Steve then announces he plans to set out on a voyage to film part two of his documentary, which will follow him and his crew as they attempt to track down the alleged "Jaguar Shark". Along for the ride is Ned (Wilson), someone who may or may not be Steve's son; Jane (Blanchett), an up-and-coming journalist doing a story on Zissou; Klaus (Dafoe), the eccentric German first mate; a Portugese, David Bowie-covering weapons expert; a no-nonsense tech expert; a usually semi-nude female crew-member; a band of unpaid interns; and several other quirky personalities. Other characters include Zissou's estranged wife, Eleanor (Huston), and her former husband, Alistair Hennessey (Goldblum). On the journey, the crew encounters money problems, relationship issues, and...pirates.

The film takes place in a vivid world that is somewhat inside Steve's head. A colorful world where the creatures are claymation and where Steve can single-handedly ward off kidnapping, gun-wielding pirates to beat of The Stooges' "Search and Destroy".

I do warn you though, if you are not a fan of dry humor, this one's most likely not for you. The movie's loaded with it, in all of its off-beat, tongue-in-cheek anti-glory.

There are some wonderful acting performances throughout, including an exuberant Bill Murray, who just loses himself in the character of Zissou, a subdued Anjelica Huston, whose subtle sly grins and deadpan delivery develop her character far more than anything else, and a spirited Willem Dafoe, who manages to make a German accent sound funnier than I ever imagined it could.

If you enjoyed "Rushmore", "The Royal Tenenbaums", "Punch-Drunk Love", or "I Heart Huckabees", then you most certainly should not let this charming, oddly beautiful little film pass beneath your radar.

9.5/10


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