Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Life Aquatic (2004)

This is an imperfect-but-creditable movie. Steve Zissou (Bill Murray) is an expert oceanographer and an acclaimed film director of documentaries. On one of the voyages his friend is attacked and killed by a rare shark. Steve vows that he is going to track down the shark for revenge. During a celebration, pilot Ned (Owen Wilson) introduces himself as Steve’s illegitimate son. He then agrees to quit his job and join the sea faring team. A pregnant journalist (Cate Blanchett) shows up on a private island owned by Zissou expecting to write a story about him.

The film was shot in Italy and is in homage to French explorer Jacques Cousteau, who died in 1997. The characters were inspired by The Great Gatsby and The Magnificent Ambersons and the plot is similar to Moby Dick, but it also reminded me of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Both scenes involving aerial shots of character's feet (in the Hot Air Balloon as well as the shot before the helicopter crashes) are homages to Fellini's film . The line "I'm also a human being" appears in Casablanca. There is a small spotted shark called the chain catshark that only reaches a length of about 18 inches.


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