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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou(2004)
With a plan to exact revenge on a mythical shark that killed his partner, oceanographer Steve Zissou rallies a crew that includes his estranged wife, a journalist, and a man who may or may not be his son.
For more about The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and the The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray release, see the The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on May 20, 2014 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, Anjelica Huston, Cate Blanchett, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum
Director: Wes Anderson
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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, May 20, 2014
Nominated for Golden Bear Award at the Berlin International Film Festival, Wes Anderson's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" (2004) arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion. The supplemental features on the disc include an original trailer for the film; making of featurette; behind the scenes documentary shot and edited by Matthew Gray Gubler; cast and crew interviews; deleted scenes; audio commentary by director Wes Anderson and cowriter Noah Baumbach; and more. Also included with this release is a leaflet featuring a cutaway view of The Belafonte, the ship from the film, Eric Anderson's original illustrations, and a conversation between Wes Anderson and Eric Anderson conducted in 2005. In English, with optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. Region-A "locked".
Steve Zissou (Bill Murray, Lost in Translation) is a maverick oceanographer who has lost his best friend Esteban (Seymour Cassel, Faces) during the shooting of his latest documentary. Now Zissou and his crew -- Team Zissou -- are on a mission to find the giant Jaguar Shark that ate Esteban and kill it.
At a film festival, Zissou is approached by Ned Plimpton (Owen Wilson, Wedding Crashers), a handsome pilot for a small Kentucky-based airline. Ned tells Zissou that he might be his long lost father because his seriously ill mother told him so before committing suicide. Intrigued by the revelation, Zissou invites Ned to join his crew even though he does not know anything about oceanography.
On board of Zissou's ship, the Belafonte, most of the time Ned sticks out like a sore thumb. But he frequently looks like the most rational person as well – though not as far as Zissou's right-hand man Klaus (Willem Dafoe, The Hunter), Zissou's ex-wife Eleanor (Anjelica Huston, The Crossing Guard), or Zissou's accountant Bill (Bud Cort, Harold and Maude) are concerned.
Soon after he joins Zissou's crew, Ned meets Jane Winslett-Richardson (Cate Blanchette, Blue Jasmine), a pregnant British reporter who wants to profile Zissou for a popular magazine. Zissou quickly becomes attracted to Jane, but Ned falls in love with her. Around the same time Zissou discovers that Eleanor might be romantically involved with his arch-rival Alistair Hennessey (Jeff Goldblum, The Lost World: Jurassic Park), who was once married to her.
The mission is seriously jeopardized when pirates board the Belafonte.
Wes Anderson's fourth film The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou is virtually impossible to describe with simple words. Most of the time it feels like a very colorful dream which does not have a beginning, middle, or end -- things just happen in it and some of them even make sense for as long as the film lasts.
The balance between the funny and the sad, however, is very awkward, even for an Anderson film. Indeed, there are too many different subplots that unnecessarily expand the story in all sorts of different directions. Some focus on minor triumphs, others focus on minor failures. There is always a good dose of silliness infused in these subplots, but only a few actually work well enough to justify the expansion.
Murray's character is supposed to be the heart and soul of the film, but after the initial rounds of odd lines the 'distractions' around him become far more interesting. For example, there is a Portuguese crew member (Seu Jorge) doing some really great covers of David Bowie songs, beautiful sea life (created by stop-motion animator Henry Selick), and even an overly energetic three-legged dog that manages to seriously upset Goldblum's character.
The film is complimented by a truly wonderful soundtrack created by composer and Devo member Mark Mothersbaugh. The music has a certain minimalistic/retro feel, but its harmonic structure is very unusual. It works perfectly for the fantasy world in which Anderson's characters exist.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 2.34:1, encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Criterion.
The following text appears inside the leaflet provided with this Blu-ray release:
"Supervised by director Wes Anderson, this new digital transfer was created in 4K resolution on a Scanity film scanner from the 35mm original camera negative at Sony Colorworks in Culver City, California. Thousands of instances of dirt and debris were manually removed using MTI's DRS, while Digital Vision's Phoenix was for small dirt, warps, and jitter. The original 5.1 soundtrack was mastered at 24-bit from the original magnetic track using Pro Tools HD.
Transfer supervisors: Wes Anderson, Lee Kline.
Colorist: Sheri Eiusenberg/Sony Colorworks, Culver City, CA."
The film looks quite beautiful on Blu-ray. Excluding the underwater footage, where some minor clarity fluctuations are present, virtually the entire film looks remarkably crisp and vibrant. The daylight footage, in particular, boasts tremendous depth. Color reproduction is excellent -- there is a wide range of wonderfully well saturated yellows, browns, blues, and greens, and impressively balanced grays and blacks. Overall image stability is outstanding. Also, there are no encoding anomalies to report in this review. Finally, it is easy to tell that dirt, debris, and jitter have been removed as best as possible. (Note: This is a Region-A "locked" Blu-ray release. Therefore, you must have a native Region-A or Region-Free PS3 or SA in order to access its content).
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray, Audio Quality
There is only one standard audio track on this Blu-ray release: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. For the record, Criterion have provided optional English SDH subtitles for the main feature. When turned on, they appear inside the image frame.
The sound is as good as it can possibly be. It has tremendous depth, clarity is fantastic, and the range of nuanced dynamics is very impressive (see the two shootouts). Mark Mothersbaugh's soundtrack has primarily a supportive role, but the music is always well rounded and balance expertly managed (there are no sudden spikes or drops in dynamic activity). The dialog is very crisp, stable, and exceptionally easy to follow.
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Criterion's upcoming Blu-ray release of Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is guaranteed to make fans of the film very happy. In my opinion, the technical presentation is simply flawless. The Blu-ray release also comes with an impressive amount of supplemental features, including a hilarious video conversation between Wes Anderson, cowriter Noah Baumbach, and Italian talk show host Antonio Monda. RECOMMENDED. (Note: My press materials indicate that new interviews with Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, and Jeff Goldblum should have been included on the Blu-ray. Unfortunately, unless they are hidden somewhere in an "Easter egg", I could not find them on my disc).
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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Blu-ray, News and Updates
• This Week on Blu-ray: May 27-June 3 - May 25, 2014
For the week of May 20th, The Criterion Collection is bringing Wes Anderson's flawed-but-unique The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as well as Howard Hawks' masterful Western Red River to Blu-ray. Other Tuesday titles include Sony's Gambit and Drafthouse Films' ...
• Bittersweet Reminiscences of The Life Aquatic - May 21, 2014
The Criterion Collection has uploaded an online-exclusive video in which Wes Anderson, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, and Willem Dafoe reminisce about the challenging conditions under which they made The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.
• Criterion Announces May Titles - February 18, 2014
The Criterion Collection has announced five titles for Blu-ray release in May: On May 6th, the studio will release Billy Wilder's Ace in the Hole (1951). On May 13th, it will release Stuart Cooper's Overlord (1975). On May 20th, it will release Abbas Kiarostami's ...
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