December 16, 2004

Right then, The Life Aquatic.

Every Wes Anderson movie comes with the same proviso: No matter how excellent the film is, it's never perfect, and everyone who enjoys his work is always obliged to point the imperfections out. So, I thought The Life Aquatic was outfuckingstanding, but not perfect. I can accept that; it's part of the deal.

I hate the way CGI looks. I hate it. I'm trying to adapt, I truly am, but I just hate it. It's painful to watch it when there's so much quality hand-drawn animation out there, so much good work done with special effects, stuntpeople, trained animals. CGI looks crass and nouveau-riche, and if Wes Anderson will let me stick my nose in his directorial chair for a minute... his films are old money. He made a point of having Team Zissou's ship equipment be obsolete, yellowing, falling apart, while his nemesis' machinery is au courant and snazzy as hell (boooooooo). I suppose I'm just not ready to let Wes join the new world yet. I wanna keep him shielded from the 21st century, locked in a room watching Brewster McCloud over and over and over until he sprouts wings and flies off to whatever remote island Shelley Duvall has been hiding on, so he can talk her into starring in his next movie.

Also: too much music. It hurts me in my heart to say that. But the wall-to-wall meme has gotta stop, and that's a plea to all moviemakers everywhere. Yes the music choices were good. They were quite good. I loved the use of "Gut Feeling" in the montage scene. (Wes Anderson does montage scenes really fabulously, especially when they involve people running or jogging.) I loved the Brazilian Bowie, the first couple of times. And the now-famous Zissou theme music was cute. That's all ya need. More movie please, less soundtrack. The overflow of music worked to beautiful effect in Tenenbaums, but that was Anderson's Manhattan, his romantic epic, and Life Aquatic is his Small Time Crooks (a top-notch comedy-qua-comedy, but ultimately not much more than a funny tone poem).

Third and final complaint: guns, Wes? That's so Jerry Bruckheimer. Stick with the dynamite (get it? stick? hahahaha).

Everything else was rad. Anderson found the perfect pitch and he carried it throughout. And I think Noah Baumbach (whom I've always liked a lot) is a better writing partner than that smarmy egomaniac Owen Wilson. This was a well-paced, well-edited, fat-free script, and in spite of Life Aquatic being primarily a farce there was real drama, and real emotion, and pirates!! Fine stuff.


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