This morning I watched The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).
This might be the one movie that has been interchangeable as my favorite movie with The Two Towers for the longest period of time. I'm sure a lot of the reason is that both movies came out while I was in college. It's kind of like the theory that you fill find the music you like in college then never stop listening to it for the rest of your life, and everything else that comes out after that is just the crap kids listen to. I don't quite think the movies now are the crap that kids watch these days, in fact I think most movies are better than they have been since I was young even if this year was a less impressive, down year for "great" movies.
If Royal Tennenbaums had a hint of surrealism, The Life Aquatic dives right in with animated fictitious sea life and an incredible cut-away of the main ship as the viewer is given a tour of the whole Zissou operation. There's a sense that there's a little more to the Zissou empire from glimpses into their footage or trips around their compound where no two looks of the place are the same.
It's a great cast and Willem Dafoe shows another piece of his odd acting range. He plays a childlike adult who just wants to be a son to Steve Zissou, and also has a German accent. He seems comepletely natural in the role, as he has been in other incredibly different roles in his career ranging from acting in The Last Temptation of Christ to Antichrist.
I was also impressed by the action in this movie. It touches on the surreal sets to stark reality of tragedy that Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent has in it's plane crash in the action scenes and the helicopter crash. The shootout scenes have electric energy shot with a handheld camera.
I saw recently that Wes Anderson is going to make another stop motion animation movie like Fantastic Mr. Fox. He seemed to really love making that movie and it's exciting to see another like it, but I can't help but feel greedy to see other live action worlds that he builds that exist out of time.