Thursday, September 09, 2004

"I'm the only one? What's the deal?"

The trailer is up for Wes Anderson's latest, The Life Aquatic, now apparently titled The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. I'm not wild about water movies, generally. If your vehicles don't have four wheels you're in serious danger of losing my interest. The publicity photos in Entertainment Weekly of Bill Murray and Co. in weird looking SCUBA suits didn't exactly whet my appetite either. Will they spend the whole movie in those blue puffy jumpsuits? Is the whole thing on a boring submarine in the boring ocean?

The trailer eases some of those fears. However, this appears to be the first Wes Anderson film to contain special effects, specifically CGI for the fanciful sea creatures present. Anderson's quirky worlds have always skirted the edge of reality, but in the past it was more subtle--the fact that everyone in The Royal Tenenbaums wore the same clothes all the time was there for you to notice or not, consciously or unconsciously. Here it feels more like Anderson is announcing how his worlds have unique, made-up rules. Fair enough. Also, the CGI itself is not great, but then, CGI seldom is. It's odd to see Anderson's style applied to a project of this scale.

The biggest question mark for TLAWSZ is that for the first time, a Wes Anderson picture is not co-written by Owen Wilson, which is understandable, since if Wilson had time to co-write a screenplay in between all his co-starring with Ben Stiller, that would be an incredible feat indeed. It remains to be seen how large an impact this will actually have on the film. I always imagined Owen Wilson to be a Graham Chapman kind of collaborator, the kind of guy who will let you do all the work until you get stuck and turn to him, and suddenly he's there with a terrific idea or a totally unexpected line you never would have thought of, and it fuels you for hours until you eventually turn to him again. Wilson seems to be a major presence in the film, with his most prominent role in an Anderson film since Bottle Rocket, so his influence will surely be felt regardless of his lack of writing credit.

Even so, it's something to watch out for.


Anonymous said...

It's not CGI. It's claymation.


Kenny said...

Oh. In that case, that seems exactly right. Watching the online version you can't really tell.

Anonymous said...

"Kicking and Screaming" was pretty good, so I have high hopes for Noah Baumbach's contributions to the movie.