'We have to go back for the dog.'

Film Not a criticism, but The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou feels like a big screen remake of an old Hannah Barbara cartoon. You could imagine, some time in the 70s, in the style of the old Godzilla> series, Steve and the crew discovering a new species each week with each episode ending with a short film of the animal they've found and one of those moralistic things saying how we should treat wildlife and the environment with respect. It's an oddly melancholy you see, filled with a sort of restless contemplation on lost innocence, which is possibly why people who have seen the film tend to be disappointed. It's funny, but in a sad way. You tend to laugh in that way people do over a beer remembering something which happened ten years before when everything was crazy.

Much of this is to do with Bill Murray's performance. His work here is largely very understated -- he understands that Zissou's best years are behind him and that he's effectly playing a version of his old self for appearance sakes. To a degree that's actually were Murray was a few years ago turning up in the things like Larger Than Life with an elephant as a side kick, so thanks to Wes Anderson for Rushmore and saving Bill and us from the decline. There are moments when we get to see the Murray of old and in fact his Ghostbusters persona even pops up in one particularly unexpected scene.

And thanks to Wes Anderson for this film. It's yet another recent example of a director excercising their own film making style, presenting the audience with a choice of following him or missing out on the discreat charms he is going to be offering. There are scenes which are entirely based on the audience needing to be in on the joke and judging by the almost silent crowd I watched it with I can only imagine we're a very small but lucky group.

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