The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

Release Date: December 10, 2004
Limited release

Movie of the Day for Saturday, July 3, 2004
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How dare you say that your '70s TV show remake was better than my '70s TV show remake!

On the Big Board
Position Staff In Brief
1/126 Kim Hollis The very definition of a Wes Anderson film. Quirky, funny, sad and consistently creative.
10/55 Reagen Sulewski Lesser Anderson, but still well above most with delightful randomness that comes together coherently in the end. Like a film written by a 12-year old and translated from another language.
24/48 Les Winan Were it not for the outstanding work by Bill Murray and the unfailing Cate Blanchett, even more would be lacking from this disappointing film.
62/133 Dan Krovich Extremely random, hit and miss

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In his short career, screenwriter/director Wes Anderson has established himself as one of the quirkiest in the business, but it's really his attention to detail that sets him far apart from the pack.

Up until now, Anderson has directed three films, all of them co-written with Owen Wilson. The pair started with the goofy but brilliant caper film Bottle Rocket, which producer James L. Brooks financed. It was a bust at the box office, but opened the door for bigger and better things.

Next came Rushmore, which was another financially slight but critically acclaimed picture that starred Bill Murray and introduced Coppola family member Jason Schwartzman to an appreciative audience. It's worth noting that both Rushmore and Bottle Rocket were on BOP's Top 50 Underappreciated Recent Films list; Rushmore was our number ten selection, while Bottle Rocket placed even higher at number five.

Then came the film that won BOP's Calvin Award for Best Picture of 2002, The Royal Tenenbaums. This outstanding story of a highly dysfunctional family is simply a brilliant film, with incredible acting performances all around and an idiosyncratic sense of humor that is somewhat difficult to explain. That film was far more financially successful than any of the previous Anderson/Wilson collaborations; it made $52 million in theaters, but even more impressively, it took in nearly $90 million in rental receipts, making it one of the biggest video hits ever.

Now, Anderson is back for another go-round, this time without the writing assistance of Wilson. Anderson co-wrote The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou with the little-known Noah Baumbach, but Wilson will still be on hand as the film's co-star.

Wilson will play Ned Plimpton, the estranged son of a famous French oceanographer named Steve Zissou, who will be played by none other than the guy who was robbed of an Academy Award for Lost in Translation (and Rushmore), Bill Murray. Loosely based on the life of Jacques Cousteau, The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou will be a combination of live action and stop-motion animation. The animated portion of the film will be used to highlight and illustrate the undersea world, and is being done entirely by Henry Selick, who directed James and the Giant Peach and The Nightmare Before Christmas (we're nowhere near ready to forgive him for Monkeybone, though).

As with all of Anderson's comedies, this film will rely heavily on the ensemble. Like The Royal Tenenbaums, it's looking to be a very solid cast. In addition to Murray and Wilson, the troupe includes Cate Blanchett, Tenenbaums' Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon (Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Jeff Goldblum, Seu Jorge (City of God), and Noah Taylor (Almost Famous).

Insiders already have The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou as a strong contender for awards consideration. Here's hoping the Academy will be able to make amends for failing to reward his performance in Lost in Translation (though we really do love Sean Penn, too). (Kim Hollis/BOP)

October 29, 2004
According to the film's official site, The Life Aquatic will now be opening in New York and L.A. on December 10th before going nationwide on Christmas Day. (Kim Hollis/BOP)

Vital statistics for The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Main Cast Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Cate Blanchett
Supporting Cast Anjelica Huston, Willem Dafoe, Michael Gambon, Jeff Goldblum, Noah Taylor, Robyn Cohen, Bud Cort, Seu Jorge
Director Wes Anderson
Screenwriter Wes Anderson, Noah Baumbach
Distributor Touchstone Pictures
Trailer Click Here for Trailer
Rating R
Running Time 118 minutes
Screen Count 2
Awards Awards page for The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Talent in red has entry in The Big Picture

Comparison films for The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou
Adjusted Opening
Total BO
Adjusted Total
Royal Tenenbaums, The 1/4/028.51 8.84 751 11344.00 11344.0 52.35 54.42 4.72
Rushmore 2/19/992.80 3.33 764 3665.00 4184.4 17.10 20.37 3.63
Lost in Translation 9/12/030.93 0.93 23 40221.00 40221.0 44.57 44.57 0.00



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