Steve Zissou, a famous oceanographer, plots revenge on a massive jaguar shark that killed his partner during a dive. Steve Zissou then grabs a crew made up of his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son to hunt down and kill the mysterious Jaguar Shark.
Accepting yourself for who you are.
You can read all kinds of things into The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou without much difficulty… or you can accept it for what it is.
So…… What is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?
Is it a story of an old man finally realizing, and coming to terms with, the fact that he’s an old hack?
Is it a story of relationships? Father and son? Wife and husband? Cheating spouses? Unlikely friends?
Or is it only a story, without these subtexts? Is everything you read into the movie merely how you view it, the emphasis you add, the story of you to put it cheesily…
I think the Life Aquatic is merely a story. A fun story with whimsical characters and that everything deep that you may find in this… is in essence a spin off of the story told. It’s your mind seeing what matters to you. I personally connect with Steve Zissou, not because I’m an old hack… but because I found a bit of myself in that character with his love of the sea and animals and whatnot. You may very well connect with Steve Zissou because you feel like an old hack… see what I’m saying?
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is about feelings.
Colors, music, over the top characters… they’re all here to make you feel. They’re all there to make you feel like you’re part of the story. You’ll either find yourself in this film and understand why people find this film to be so wonderful… or you’ll stay on the outside of the film and simply hate it for the rest of your life.
The Life Aquatic on the surface…
It’s highly stylistic with matching color schemes and silly retro props and with a musical score to match.
It’s filled with claymation like animals that spark your fancy… Jaguar Sharks, Sugar Crabs, and Fluorescent Snapper.
It’s filled with great actors who really seem to be enjoying themselves. The actors match their characters perfectly.
It’s filled with odds and ends of plot lines.
It’s comedic with sad undertones.
It’s filled with small references to Cousteau and other films.
Based Off Reality – Some Notes
Steve Zissou and the Zissou Society are actually modeled after the explorer Jacques Cousteau.
The Zissou documentaries that you see inside The Life Aquatic resemble those of Cousteau’s in styling… and the red beanies you see Steve Zissou and crew wear were also worn by Cousteau and his crew.
There’s also a veiled reference to Cousteau’s ship the Calypso. In the opening sequence when Steve Zissou is first introduced to the Italian audience the model of the Belafonte on his desk is actually a model of the Calypso.
Cousteau’s son died in a sea plane crash… Steve Zissou’s son Ned died in a helicopter crash at sea during the movie.
The shoes the Zissou team are actually custom ordered Adidas shoes that you can get in real life (I’ll tell y’all more about the Zissou shoes later).
The shoes used in The Life Aquatic were Adidas mi smaba shoes. You can customize your own pair at Adidas.com. You can make it look exactly the same on the website except for the lighter blue center stripe seen in the movie.
It’s basically a grey tip, golden laces and sole, blue side stripes and back heel, with Zissou embroidery. Upon receiving your shoes you just take some bleach and a q-tip… apply it to the center stripe and taa-duhhh you have the light blue stripe in the center.
In The End
You’ll either love this film or you’ll hate it. There are a lot of plot lines for a lot of characters and Wes Anderson never wraps them up neatly at the end. I think this is partially why some people dislike his films. I however think these random bits and pieces add depth to the characters. These odd and ends of plot lines add depth to each and every character. Instead of each character merely serving its purpose in the plot line, the characters become unique and lively. The characters had their own lives and they all converged for this story.
This depth added in with the whimsical colors and surroundings make this movie wonderful. But that’s just me isn’t it.
Where to find The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou?
As of 10/06/2015 The Life Aquatic is not on Netflix… But you can buy or rent The Life Aquatic on Amazon Prime.
Spoiler Alert – Question
So was Ned Plimpton really the son of Steve Zissou?
Did Ned’s mother lie to him?
I honestly don’t know. I don’t think we’re meant to know. I think the only thing that matters is that Steve Zissou felt like he was his son and that the crew loved him for who he was…
Cast: Bill Murray, Jeff Goldblum, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson.
Budget: Originally stated at ~ $25 million. Most recent revision ~ $50 million.
Some of the songs you hear in the film are David Bowie songs that have been translated into Portuguese and performed by the artist Seu Jorge.
The Life Aquatic Studio Sessions Featuring Seu Jorge is an album by Brazilian musician Seu Jorge. It is a collection of David Bowie songs (plus one original, “Team Zissou”) Jorge recorded in Portuguese for the soundtrack to the film The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
Bowie himself said about Seu Jorge’s covers: “Had Seu Jorge not recorded my songs in Portuguese I would never have heard this new level of beauty which he has imbued them with.”
(I don’t have the rights to this music, and it is here for entertainment purposes only)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Article by Jordan Wunderlich is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.