Thursday, October 29, 2009

Wes Anderson Week: 'The Life Aquatic...'

All but die-hard fans of Wes Anderson seem to think the filmmaker took his first wrong turn here in 2004. True, this isn't as good as any of his films that came before it, but the world in 'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' is so beautiful that I didn't care that the characters got bogged down in a rambling plot. The ship, especially when Zissou shows us around the craft, is one of the coolest sets ever made. The props and costumes are absurd, and I mean that as a compliment. Once again, thankfully, Anderson's musical choices are at the forefront of this adventure.

Brazilian musician Seu Jorge is a member of the Zissou crew, and he provides much of the soundtrack. He covers several early David Bowie songs while on deck. Jorge sings in Portuguese while playing an acoustic guitar. I wouldn't necessarily call myself a big fan of his work, but his appearance in the film seemed quite natural. I particularly liked his countdown on "Space Oddity" as the pirates board the sub (see video below). Two Bowie songs also appear, sans Jorge. "Queen Bitch" made a nice closing as the crew gathers together one at a time like a group of superheroes. Mark Mothersbaugh's work seemed less important to the film than in the past, but it was still a solid effort. I like The Zombies a lot, but I had never heard the song used for Ned's funeral. Now it always makes my Zombies' mixes. The Stooges' "Search and Destroy" added to the mayhem during the struggle with the pirates, but my favorite song on the entire soundtrack was "Gut Feeling" from 'Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo'. Give it a listen.

'The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou' isn't my favorite Anderson film or soundtrack. Through the years, however, both continue to grow on me. If you haven't watched the movie or listened to the soundtrack in a while, I hope the following inspires you to give them another try.

Devo - Gut Feeling (mp3)
Mark Mothersbaugh - Ping Island/Lightning Strike Rescue Op (mp3)
David Bowie - Life on Mars? (mp3)
Seu Jorge - Rebel Rebel (mp3)
The Zombies - The Way I Feel Inside (mp3)

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