By Jessica O’Byrne
The Life Aquatic – 2004 – dir. Wes Anderson
Since its first release in 2004, The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou has proven itself to be a large draw for commercial moviegoers and indie film fans alike. Its original Christmas Day release unconsciously reflects an epic subtext found in the film that is thankfully downplayed by the always awkward and affably charming (and above all talented) cast. The film, which chronicles the making of a documentary about Steve Zissou’s (Bill Murray) quest to hunt down the “jaguar shark” that killed his best friend, utilizes a variation on the traditional quest pattern to draw viewers in and align them with Zissou’s zany crew. Several subplots run alongside this main storyline, which I will leave you the pleasure of discovering for yourself when you watch the film. The Life Aquatic’s true triumph lies in its ability to portray largely absurd (and, particularly in the case of Zissou, often obtuse) characters that are regardless almost universally relatable. While laws, physical and otherwise, in the film are not always on par with the laws of our own universe, The Life Aquatic nevertheless takes place in a world that most viewers are ready and able to relate to.