Movie Review (5/5): The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou


Alright. To this movie’s defense, I had watched a lot of Wes Anderson’s films right in a row and I was kind of burnt out on them. But the plot and characters were pretty frustrating to watch. Wes Anderson has a knack for writing broken family relationships and this was no exception. Bill Murray plays a dryly witty oceanographer who meets his (possible) son, Owen Wilson, and recruits him on a team to kill the shark that killed his best friend. The shots were very recognizably Wes Anderson: lots of symmetrical, balanced shots, strong use of color (especially with the color red… i.e. the caps the team wears), and perpendicular or parallel camera moves. The dolly shots typically push directly into the subject/room or directly parallel to it (as seen when they display the rooms of the ship). The art direction in this film are clearly well-planned as most shots have multiple layers in front of or behind the actor that reveal information about the subject or scene. The large depth of field used in those shots helps keep the entire space in focus. As mentioned earlier, art direction was also prominent in regards to color. Most rooms had a very dominant color theme to them with an opposing color playing a role somewhere in the frame (like the red caps). His lighting in generally even, although there were a few low-key night shots. There were a few experiments with the lighting as far as temperature went. In the scene where pirates take over Bill Murray’s crew and ship, the lighting moves from a blue-ish tone, causing an almost dream-like or despondent feeling, to a warmer yellow tone when Murray snaps back into reality. Technically, it was a very intriguing movie to watch. As far as plot development, it was a bit too repetitive for me.

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~ by Peyton Lea on October 14, 2009.

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