IMDB information

Released 2004.
Directed by Wes Anderson.
Running time: 118 minutes.
Rated R for language, some drug use, violence and partial nudity.

Main Cast
Bill Murray                   Steve Zissou
Owen Wilson                   Ned Plimpton
Cate Blanchett                Jane Winslett-Richardson
Anjelica Huston               Eleanor Zissou
Willem Dafoe                  Klaus Daimler
Jeff Goldblum                 Alistair Hennessey
Michael Gambon                Oseary Drakoulias
Noah Taylor                   Vladimir Wolodarsky
Bud Cort                      Bill Ubell
Seu Jorge                     Pelé dos Santos
Robyn Cohen                   Anne-Marie Sakowitz
Waris Ahluwalia               Vikram Ray
Niels Koizumi                 Bobby Ogata
Pawel Wdowczak                Renzo Pietro
Matthew Gray Gubler           Intern #1


Steve Zissou is a filmmaker in a similar vein as Jacques Cousteau. His specialty, aquatic documentaries, is something he has been struggling with in recent years; Alistair Hennessy, who quickly emerges as his rival, is still enjoying great success. His wife Eleanor, known as the brains of the Zissou operation, seems more or less indifferent towards him. Oh, and his best friend, elderly statesman Esteban du Plantier, has just been eaten. By a shark.


The movie quickly gets underway from here, introducing several memorable and eccentric characters such as Klaus Daimler and Ned Plimpton. Throughout the movie, I was quite enamored with its dark sense of humor and awkward relationships; tension arises between several characters due to a budding romance and a few other 'minor' developments. In fact, the whole production seemed almost like a reality tv show, but as the movie makes clear, much of it is contrived intentionally.

The soundtrack is something I also enjoyed greatly. From the Portuguese conversion of David Bowie songs, executed very well by Seu Jorge (playing Pelé dos Santos), to the minimalist but fast-paced electronic accompaniments to the documentaries, I found myself tapping my foot throughout the entire movie. The music all fits together quite well and provides the viewer quite well with a frame of mind as to what the general feeling of the scene is.

I giggled throughout the entire movie, but found myself alone in some of my laughter. I think this is due to an inordinate amount of enjoyment at watching dysfunction played out on screen. Thus, perhaps this movie is not for everybody. If you liked The Royal Tenenbaums (also directed by Wes Anderson), you're probably also going to enjoy this one. Otherwise, if you want to watch a show-boating has-been documentarian hilariously struggle through the making of one of his best productions ever, this could be your movie. I, for one, found it absolutely brilliant.


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