This was a re-watch of… I don’t know how many times I’ve seen it, but I am completely happy to re-watch Wes Anderson films and this is one of my favourites. There is so much to like, especially but in no particular order:
1) Bill Murray who could not be more perfect in the role of Zissou. It would be so easy for Zissou to slide into caricature, but instead there is such depth and nuance to the character. The story — though in some respects light and almost silly — manages emotional depth as a result of the characterization. It’s such a fine line in storytelling, I think, to manage that. And it is one of the things that Anderson does so well. This wonderful layering of varying emotional content.
2) The cross-section of the boat which is spectacularly theatrical, as well as just wonderfully detailed. One of the things that I love most about Anderson’s films is the incredible attention to detail, every object is perfectly curated — it has purpose and meaning and a particular place/role. I just want to wallow in it. (I would live in Moonrise Kingdom, but that’s another post.)
3) The orca in the background when Cate Blanchett‘s character first interviews Zissou.
It took us a while to finally watch this, but I am so happy that we finally did. I think this movie, more so perhaps than some of the previous Muppet movies, very much embodies the spirit and sensibility of the television show (which I adore and still like to watch from time to time). There is a multi-age appeal to the Muppets that a lot of other ‘kid’s’ programming tries to emulate, but more often, gets wrong — the double entendres and such that are, typically, either forced or bordering on the really inappropriate.
The cast is good, too. (Tina Fey is wonderfully funny as the gulag guard.) And there are so many cameos by very recognizable actors. That part especially has that feel of the tv show (that people wanted to be a part of).
Also, I like any movie that can be legitimately called a caper.
We watched this on Wednesday for obvious reasons. A and I had not seen it before, but all (or some) of the kids had. It’s a pretty typical family/comedy movie of the silly but heartwarming variety. Robin Williams really does pull it out of mediocrity, though. (Comparable, perhaps, to John Candy in the Great Outdoors — a similar-ish premise, although to different effect as Candy and Williams, obviously, had varying approaches to comedy.)
The story — about a modern, disconnected family forced to spend time together — is cliched, but presented nicely nonetheless. Aside from Williams’ performance, the other notable aspect of this film is the kindness that pervades it. The ostensibly ‘weird’ family that Williams’ family meets at an RV park turn out to be compassionate and unexpectedly intelligent.
In the end, there is nothing spectacular about the film, but it is sweet and silly and there are some excellent action sequences.