"Stoner Action Adventure"
What You Need To Know:
This stilted movie is reminiscent of 1960s French auteur films. The jokes often work around trying to make a movie about their exploits within the movie that the audience is watching. Dumb moments are mixed with poignant moments, and decency is mixed with sex scenes and stealing. For those who are not zonked out of their minds, THE LIFE AQUATIC is a very tedious waste of money.
(HH, Pa, B, Ho, LLL, V, SS, NN, AA, DDD, MM) Strong humanist worldview with very little reflection on meaningful themes; pagan elements include hero constantly smokes dope; some moral moments of decency; homosexual references and homosexual bashing; 67 obscenities and 11 profanities; many instances of violence but all are very muted, including partner gets eaten by shark and blood is shown in water, helicopter crashes and blood is shown in water, people get shot and walk around bloody, man hit with machete and walks around bloody, all with “it’s only a movie” attitude; several sex scenes without female nudity but they involve pregnant reporter, plus homosexual references and homosexual bashing; upper male nudity and several lingering shots of upper female nudity; alcohol use to excess; constant smoking of dope, as well as cigarettes and pipes; and, misappropriation of money, stealing of equipment, cheating, and lying.
THE LIFE AQUATIC WITH STEVE ZISSOU is one of those strange movies where the filmmakers may have been too stoned to make a movie. It is not without some funny moments, but most of it is very pedestrian. Like many of these movies, there is a movie within the movie, to show how bad movies can really be and thus to elevate the major movie.
Steve Zissou is an aging oceanic explorer in the mold of Jacques Cousteau. He is a leader to some misfits who seem to worship him, especially Klaus Daimler, played by Willem Defoe.
In the first scene, Steve is showing one of his documentary TV programs in Rome to a geographic society. In his boring documentary-style film, his best friend and partner gets eaten by a jaguar shark.
Steve goes on a crusade to take revenge on the jaguar shark. In the process, he meets a 32-year-old man named Ned who may or may not be his son and a reporter who idolizes him but soon finds out he is an egotistical fool. Steve, meanwhile, is going through a midlife crisis. In between smoking dope, his primary concern is trying to find out what happened to his life.
This stilted movie is shot in basic colors, reminiscent of 1960s French auteur films. The jokes often revolve around trying to make a movie about their exploits within the movie that the audience is watching. Most of the jokes fall flat, but the end of the movie has slightly more verve, especially when Zissou becomes an action character fighting with pirates.
Dumb moments are mixed with poignant moments, decency is mixed with sex scenes and stealing, and the whole movie becomes an exercise in irrelevance. Some reviewers may smoke enough dope to enjoy this film, but for those who are not zonked out of their minds, it’s going to be a very tedious waste of money.