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The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou

4

A man setting out to snare the shark that devoured his best buddy doesn't sound like a Wes Anderson film. This is the man behind Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums that we're talking about, after all. Don't worry, though - the plot may have the scent of Jaws, but the essence is about as Yellow Submarine as ever.

Bill Murray is Steve Zissou, the Jacques Cousteau-esque sealife filmmaker on a mission to find the allusive beastie that chowed down on his right-hand man. Embarking with him on his last voyage are pregnant English journalist Jane (Cate Blanchett), his overprotective second-in-command Klaus (Willem Dafoe), his icy missus Eleanor (Anjelica Huston) and Ned (Owen Wilson), a former airline pilot who just might be Steve's offspring.

Like the best of Anderson's strange, self-mocking and wistful movies, this is a comedy about fathers, heroes and death. From the brilliantly deadpan Murray on down, it's underplayed to within an inch of its life, but somehow that just seems to make the gentle laughs, half-hidden insights and occasional bursts of unexpected action all the more endearing and effective.

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