The Life Aquatic
So the other night I went all the way into the city to see this movie. I was meeting three other people at the theater and I was supposed to be there at 7:40. Amazingly I got there at like 7:50 (which is on time for me, if not early) and I was really proud of myself for not showing up all sorts of late. Unfortunately because of my slight lateness we missed primetime seating for a soldout show. The place was packed. I wandered down the aisle horrified that there only seemed to be seats up front. I wasn't sure what to do. The group sort of turned to me to decide and I froze like a deer in the headlights. Hunt for seats here and there? Take a side row? Front row? Which is best? Backtrack and split up? I didn't know what to do. I usually see movies during the day and have my choice of seating. A million thoughts went through my head. Did I want to see this movie with a bad seat? Maybe we should bail and check out another film altogether? What to do? The place was still filling up! Seats were going fast! I had to decide now! Now damn it! Like the bad officer on the battlefield I hemmed and hawed and mumbled until one chick just said, 'Let's sit on the side...' and sat down. The stripes were ripped from my arm and I was demoted on the spot.
Anyway, The Life Aquatic is a great movie... in theory. In reality it's a flip mess. It's snoozy for stretches. It tries too hard. The characters never fully develop. It's highend schtick on the lowend. Where Tenenbaums happily stayed afloat with goofy waterwings- this film floundered up and foundered. Above water it was fine. But while underwater it was straight out bad. While it was afloat, I would look around and enjoy the rolling sea. Feeling a little rum drunk on rum and hardy har har. But then an unexpected wave of badness would blindside me and I'd choke on a mouthful of bad dialogue or dopey antics- and I'd sober up quick.
Most likely this movie would have been a Minnow-style shipwreck without Bill Murray (By the way, it's enough with the fawning over Bill Murray. Yes! Yes! He's great! We get it! OK! Please give him an Oscar for something at some point so everyone will stop humping his friggin leg!) His acting shtick (yes it's shtick) is always fun. His half-out-of-it-ness could probably work if he was just standing there reading names out of the phonebook. But it's not enough to carry this movie. The stretches between genuine laughs were too far apart. Too often I felt like I was physically stretching to laugh at something. Grasping to lock in on funny like a lifesaver. And alot of times it was on a take it or leave it level. The Team Zizzou thing got corny. Owen Wilson's part offered nothing. Random side characters didn't come through- and by the end of the movie I felt like I was washed up on a beach covered in seaweed with sand in my speedo.
All that bad stuff being said this movie never really drowns. It stays afloat enough with some weirdness, bizarro and snappy peppy to keep things from completely going under. The look of the whole thing was interesting and the world they lived in was fun. It's 'humorous'. I could see how Wes Anderson locked onto this idea as being great idea. A friggin oceanographical wackjob team dressed up funny in search of some crazy shark. Sea life. See life. Murray smoking weed non-stop throughout. Dolphins with cameras. Bad documentary style seasoning. Underdoggity. The freedom of the adventure. Funny visuals. And all that good stuff! So what's not to love? Well... this movie for starters.
Three Good Things About This Movie
- Murray is straight out fun. DeFoe and Goldblum are clutch.
- I liked the weirdo electronica music.
- You could see the glimpses of the blue ocean underneath the oil spill muck.
Three Bad Things About This Movie
- No tension about anything. No big belly laughs. And it rambled.
- It dipped into terrible more than once.
- It didn't go under the sea enough. I wanted to see more undersea weirdness.
All in all, I guess you gotta respect the Cap'n Anderson for setting up a cruise like this. I'd come aboard with him anytime and I admit I did have fun on the ship. His Captainly on deck style is reassuring, steadfast and cocky. As a captain should be. Steering us in directions here and there and strutting around. Seemingly secure on his nautical expertise. But on this voyage, I got the feeling when he went down to his quarters he secretly panicked because he forgot his compass, lost his map --and had to navigate by relying on the stars.