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An Auteurist Critique of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Wes Anderson is a world-renowned filmmaker identified for creating vividly colourful movies which are consistent together with his auteur signature. Though he has only directed 7 films (not together with his upcoming movie and two quick films), he is an ideal instance of how even a small physique of work can reveal auteur theory. Anderson’s films have frequent themes, visible and methodological style and he even uses a lot of the same actors in most of his movies.

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The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004) is a great instance to demonstrate Wes Anderson’s stylistic use of pastel color schemes, symmetrical shot composition, and thematic use of story components such as trust, acceptance, child-like habits in adulthood, dysfunctional families/ relationships, and death.

All of Anderson’s movies have an simply recognizable color-scheme. Red and beige are particular colours in all of Anderson’s movies from The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) to Moonrise Kingdom (2012). In The Life Aquatic, the oceanographer’s outfits are a shiny baby blue, full with yellow accents, and purple berets.

The submarine aboard Steve Zissou’s ship the Belafonte is yellow. Even the varied sea creatures observe this identical pastel shade palette. This particular colour palette unites with the superb amount of element Anderson places into his movies. Complete with a Steve Zissou impressed pinball machine, Zissou’s ship is stuffed with tiny trinkets, photos, and numerous memorabilia that the typical moviegoer would by no means see. These tiny details that Anderson puts within the mise-en-scene add a exceptional quantity of element to the universe of the movie.

Of course a cinematic universe is nothing with out its characters. Like any of Anderson’s primary protagonists, Steve Zissou is flawed, egotistical, and reckless with sure child-like attributes. From the beginning of the movie Steve reveals resentment and smug habits to the critics who question his work. His melancholy perspective in the path of life is ever persistent all through the film. When his spouse leaves him and openly informs him that she will be staying together with his archenemy, Steve shows neither remorse nor grief in the direction of the state of affairs. When confronted by a reporter aboard his ship about his newest documentary, Steve resorts to infantile name calling as an alternative of accepting the reality that his opinion just isn’t the only opinion. Steve Zissou reveals no hesitation risking his own life and that of his crew when looking for a mysterious shark that ate his pal and fellow colleague. Anderson commonly uses household issues as a thematic gadget in all of his movies. Steve Zissou’s lengthy forgotten son, Ned Plimpton, abruptly reveals as a lot as a screening of Steve’s documentary, and shortly after they begin a “deep search” for an actual relationship.

This relationship is short-lived, nonetheless, as a result of Steve’s neglect to switch the old helicopter atop the Belafonte. Near dying experiences are quite common in Anderson’s films, Sam Shakusky being struck by lightning in Moonrise Kingdom, and Francis’ near-death experience in The Darjeeling Limited (2007) are two examples. In the case of The Life Aquatic the whole crew aboard the Belafonte comes face to face with their dying. While carelessly lounging in the onboard spa, Steve inadvertently lets his ship be taken over by pirates. Steve (and his ego) take it upon himself to save tons of the crew single-handedly.

At this level in the film, the cinematography takes a unique flip than what’s usually portrayed by Anderson. Wes Anderson is known for his use of the digital camera stylistically. His films are filled with symmetric set design with the digicam sitting completely in the middle of it all. The Life Aquatic is stuffed with photographs like this; from the grand theatre initially of the film, all the way in which to the office of Steve Zissou, and even the rooms contained in the Belafonte. Anderson additionally makes use of an ample quantity of monitoring shots all through his films.

The most notable scene that takes advantage of the monitoring shot is the scene where Steve and Ned argue whereas walking in regards to the ship. The camera follows the characters as they go through rooms, doors, climb ladders and stairs till they end up on the highest deck. Anderson also tries to fit as many people into frame as potential in every film. Near the end of The Life Aquatic is a medium shot of 11 people sitting in Steve Zissou’s tiny submarine. These shots are a trademark of any Anderson movie. In reality, he uses this framing no less than 5 different times within the movie. These forms of photographs often have so much happening inside them.

The foreground is often where the vital thing action takes place but Anderson takes full advantage of his framing. Often instances there are minor characters interacting with the scene components behind them. For instance, within the scene where Steve is speaking to his producer, one of the crewmembers within the background is tinkering with an electrical box and causes a blackout on the ship. Behind the producer a toddler is reaching his hand inside a fish tank and antagonizing Steve’s pet fish. Lastly, Anderson makes use of over-the-head-shot when displaying a message or phrases of significance.

This may be seen in Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdom, and naturally The Life Aquatic. Wes Anderson’s thematic and stylistic parts are tremendously established throughout the 7 films that he has revamped the past thirteen years. From his symmetrical photographs, to his desaturated pastel colour palette, to his flawed, dysfunctional characters, Wes Anderson has certainly proved his status of being an auteur. Anderson has showed that he can rise above what Hollywood considers the standard, and without compromising his artistic type in the course of.

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