I am not really sure what I thought of Life Aquatic. The obscure construction of fatherhood in it didn't make any sense to me, although I can see that the Bill Murray character seemed to be desiring and detesting the role. In many ways he seemed to be a watered-down Royal Tennenbaum. I guess I just don't get the point. What is it about? Abandonment? Having no father? Seeking adventure? A ten-year old boy's fantasy life come true? (Replete with people carrying guns and all). I'm going to riff on that idea for a while, I think. The whole movie was a kid's fantasy; maybe that is why it is so incoherent.The puzzling question struck a chord in the movie. There are all these relationships gone sideways in the film: the pregnant Jane getting involved with Ned; Zissou himself not really being the father of Ned; the marriage of Zissou and Eleanor and her other marriage with the half-gay Alistair; Klaus's son-like relationship to Zissou and his probable biological fatherhood of Ned. Even reading the statement of these relationships is difficult. Suffice it to say that somehow these people are connected and need each other and at the same time they are their own worst enemies. Ultimately they all end up hurting each other in one way or another (and Ned even ends up dead), yet at the same time they all end up needing each other.
One question, however, why was it made patently obvious that SZ could not be Owen Wilson's character's father? (Remember the conversation between the two women: "He shoots blanks"--a result of too many years of diving.) Is Anderson just hitting on that need to be a part of something theme again? Man, I feel incoherent just thinking about the movie.
At the same time, however, one can say all the non-sense does make a certain amount of sense. Take the guns, for example. Even though it seems arbitrary and boyish to require everyone to carry a gun, that very gun is what rescues them in the long run. I guess what I am saying is like the relationships in the movie, the logic in this movie is also sideways: hey you need to carry a gun because you never know when you will be fighting pirates! That's the same logic I used when I was 9 and carried a big rock in my pocket because you never knew. You just never knew. I don't know what I never knew, but I was sure-as-hell prepared to face whatever it was with my rock if it ever came about.
The movie like the lives portrayed in it are unfinished. Because of their nature to just make shit up as they go along the characters here never really find what they are looking for.