I wrote a post here nearly two years ago (at my yearly movie outing, so sad!) about Wes Anderson. Today, I watched “The Life Aquatic” again on DVD and though I adore it, it was as if I had never seen it before. Turns out I barely remembered the movie, though it’s my favorite of Anderson’s. I noticed things this time I either saw and forgot or never saw. I watched the background this time, allowed myself to look away from the principal humans and around the room, as it were, and linger in my tour of the Belafonte.
The film’s similarities to “Buckaroo Banzai” (another favorite film) were more beautifully apparent this time. One Banzai moment with Team Zissou was the curtain call, which some loving film geek posted here in mashup. (There’s also the Jeff Goldblum connection linking the two films. And as my husband said, TZ would have mirrored BB and the Honk Kong Cavaliers more fully had they brought back Ned for the curtain call, as W. D. Richter did with Rawhide. But not bringing Ned back does a more authentic job of continuing and closing the film’s narrative rather than opening it up, so maybe in the lineage of collective filmmaker evolution, this omission makes some sense.)
But in addition to the visual homages that Anderson paid Banzai et al, much more fundamentally, he followed the Buckaroo Banzai Principle as outlined here. It’s, briefly:
When a work of fiction is so confident in itself that the reader just enters the world and goes with it.
Applies equally to a written or cinematic world, but as I thought about it today, I realized how I’m not quite doing that with my new novel, and thought of one little way that I can follow the BBP more closely. For which I owe Mr. Anderson a card of thanks. If only I had some Kinglsey (Ned) Zissou corrsepondance stock.
(Dear Mr. Anderson, if you are reading this: Thank you. Thank you for caring enough about your audience to make something so fully realized. Thank you for following your own obsessions and idiosyncrasies with such commitment and grace. Thank you for Seu Gorge reinterpreting Bowie. Thank you for your hard work, which looks effortless as breathing in and breathing out.)