Bill Murray plays Steve Zissou with underwhelming relish. Zissou is supposed to be a kind of Jacques Cousteau, or a National Geographic oceanographer filmmaker or something, but he’s actually a grass-smoking aquatic fraud in the midst of a midlife crisis that may have begun at least thirty years previously. At least.
When his best friend and partner (? we never see him) is killed by the Jaguar shark (?), Steve pledges to go and find the shark and kill him. When he is asked why, he says, “Why for revenge, of course.” That’s about the funniest line in the movie.
Team Zissou is in debt so Steve asks his wife Eleanor (Anjelica Huston) to ask her parents for help. She refuses at first, and she refuses to go on the voyage. A pregnant reporter tags along (Cate Blanchett) and Steve is interested in her, but things get complicated when Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson) shows up. He’s a pilot from Kentucky Airways and he thinks Steve is his biological father, so he comes on the voyage, too. Alistair Hennessey plays Steve’s wealthy rival, in love (he is Eleanor’s former husband) and in discovery.
And so on and so forth. Enter Filipino pirates who take over Steve’s ship and who leave their three-legged dog behind when Steve fights them off. This makes Steve think the pirates were really dumb, but he kind of takes to the dog anyway. This part was pretty funny, too.
There was also about a three minute black out in the film when somebody threw the electrical switch on the ship; we couldn’t tell if the projector broke down at just the right place or if it was intended. Everyone stayed in the theater, though, and that’s when the laughter picked up a bit. It was so awful it was funny.
If you like quirky, you might like this film.
I like quirk, but only the kind from Australia.
This one’s from the sea of Mars.
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