I wouldn't say that this is the damndest movie I ever saw, because I've seen damnder and I don't know whether that's a compliment or a criticism.
Wes Anderson, who wrote and directed this movie, lives in his own special world. It's not one in which I could live long and stay sane, but it's a curious place to visit for two hours. That's "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." As you can see from the product description and other reviews, it has a dynamite cast. While Bill Murray, who in my book can do no wrong, is clearly its leader, this is very much an ensemble piece. it's a comedy that made me laugh out loud about three times, though I wasn't counting, rose an occasional chuckle and a sustained smile. It's whimsy committed to celluloid, without a mean bone in its body or a strong bone in its plot. In fact, it moves from one curious episode to the next, with almost no story at all so. If you've just finished "The Collected Works of Raymond Chandler," this would be a nice warm toddy to calm you down. It's a character piece with some very strange characters, set in a production design that may remind boomers of their high-school chemistry classrooms. Its last thirty minutes are "20,000 Leagues Under The Sea" if Walt Disney had ingested his Kingdom's Magic Mushrooms. Visually, it's a lot of fun. The stop-motion animation is charming: Ray Harryhausen on Uncle Walt's mushrooms.
I struggled between three and four stars on this one but leaned leniently. For a Criterion Collection item, it was dirt-cheap: about six bucks. I'll watch it again to convince myself that it's just what I thought I saw the first time. It may grow on me. If it doesn't, I'll let you know. If it does, I hope there's a mild disinfectant that will clean it off.