Tag: Wes Anderson

May 31, 2012 / / Main Slate Archive

Bottle Rocket – 1996 – dir. Wes Anderson

Before studios trusted Wes Anderson with millions, assured his particular type of humor would return their invested interested, there was Bottle Rocket.  Largely underrated and now assuming the glory of cult-status, it is a vital piece of Anderson’s pantheon of work, but most importantly, Bottle Rocket is hilarious.  Before the young director had a strong enough reputation to hire an ensemble cast, or the time to selectively craft the composition of each individual frame, all never mind shots, all he had were two buddies who acted and a simple story about love.  What became of our auteur is movie history, but to watch Bottle Rocket now is akin to a treasure hunt with the casual surfacing of Wes Anderson’s primitive, distinctive humor hidden underneath a low-budget surface.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou – 2004 – dir. Wes Anderson

Among the star indie directors that emerged in the 1990s, Wes Anderson probably has the most consistent and recognizable style. A comprehensive exegesis of his tics would take all day, so I’m just going to focus on a single film that I happen to love and defend a specific theory on it: The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou was actually directed by a child.

January 29, 2010 / / Main Slate Archive

By William Benker

Why Adaptations Still Work (When Done Properly).

Fantastic Mr. Fox – 2009 – dir. Wes Anderson

Adaptations of nearly forgotten children’s stories are a complicated process.  It requires certain tools, one could say, in order to “re-invent” the story in an appropriate way.  It must be done carefully, not daring too far from the original heart of the book, yet driving the narrative towards a more theatrical climax, properly combined to invigorate not only the audience, but the depth of the story.  While many other adaptations and remakes have both succeeded and failed to do this in the past decade, the stop-motion genre has invariably avoided such defeats.  Unlike recent hits Coraline & Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (both directed by Henry Selick,) Wes Anderson’s Fantastic Mr. Fox looks gritty, perhaps even haphazard, if fans weren’t aware of the director’s impeccable career (The style more closely resembles 1988 Czech film Alice by Jan Svankmajor). The Fantastic Mr. Fox goes beyond exploring the classic tale through a more contemporary perspective. Through the expansion of the original narrative, Anderson amalgamates the story into modern thought, meticulously transfusing both Roald Dahl’s original message and his own artistic vision, proving once again that the auteur is still at the top of his game.

November 14, 2008 / / Film Notes

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.