Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Life Aquatic.

So I saw it.
Here's the deal: I don't want to spoil anything for anyone with any kind of reaction. I remember seeing Tenenbaums months before everyone else and I couldn't bring myself to discuss anything about it, worried that it would fuck with people's first viewing.

If you want to know my spoiler-free, initial reaction, I'll post some thoughts in the comment section.


At 11:36 AM, Blogger Ben said...

First Caveat: I truly believe that you need to view Wes Anderson's films multiple times before they totally settle. I didn't really like Rushmore all that much on first viewing. Seventy or so viewings later (and that's not an exaggeration-- just ask my co-workers from City Video) and I'm convinced it's brilliant. Tenenbaums hit me hard the first time I saw it, but I missed much of its nuance and depth on the first pass. (I thought it ws a really good movie then, now I think it's one of the best films of the past decade.) So that's that.

Now, the movie. It didn't work for me (and you know it kills me to that). I'm afraid to admit it, but many of the complaints that Wes' detractors lob at him--the unrelentingly precocious / arch / "ironic" characters, the suffocating production design, etc--I agree with in this film. I just felt that there was so much going on and Wes was trying so hard to show off all the cool stuff he'd created that the story suffered greatly. That's not to say that there's not a lot of magical moments and really stellar sequences-- there are. It just didn't gel at all with me and so I was left with a bunch of quirky, stock characters and a really well-designed (if super-fussy) set.

On a positive note, I was driving to work today, thinking about the film, feeling depressed at how little I vibed with it. Then I started remembering how truly excellent certain sequences were, and I started looking forward to my second viewing of the film. We'll see what round two brings.


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