Luke Robertson’s review published on Letterboxd:
This one took me by surprise. I am a big Wes Anderson fan but the first part of this film left me a little bit underwhelmed. There's a massive starstudded cast including Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Cate Blanchett and so many more yet the story didn't seem to be going anywhere. It had all of the usual quirks of a Wes Anderson film, characters that are genius yet broken and the usual excellent art direction.
That all changed once they went on the boat and off to sea. The story seemed to come to life and the cast began to shine. You could see where Anderson was going with this one. Steve Zissou is the real lost soul in the story and he needs to find himself again. He's obsessed with finding this Jaguar Shark but he's masking the hurt he's feeling. Once his son Ned becomes a bigger factor in his life you see a real change in Steve.
The film has many bizarre moments like a shootout at sea where Bill Murray is an actual bad-ass. That is not really something I'm used to saying about the actor. I think my favourite scenes are the ones where Klaus and Ned interact. Klaus is the dissatisfied worker who feels he has been replaced by Ned so he takes all of his frustrations out on him. But they develop into a lovely friendship as the film goes on. Yet before that happens there are some brilliant interactions between them that definitely made me chuckle.
The production design itself is brilliant again and it has that unique Wes Anderson feel. The costumes are also brilliant and add another layer of personality to each group of characters. Especially in the rivalry between Zissou and Hennessey, played by the brilliant Jeff Goldblum.
This is definitely not my favourite Wes Anderson movie but it still has all of the things you want from his movies. Awkward, but still funny, humour and stories that have really important lessons for us all.