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May 15th, 2005

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02:14 am - why not yell at the Sealab 2021 character as well, guys?
The Criterion edition of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou is worth it just for the full performances of Seu Jorge and the Bowie tunes in Portuguese. And of course the film looks beautiful and there's extras and easter eggs galore. modpixie is going to adore all the Wes Anderson interview footage, I am sure, as well as the commentary track recorded by Anderson and co-writer Noah Baumbach in the restaurant they wrote the screenplay in. (The location is a clever touch, but my god, the background sounds are terribly distracting.)

I didn't realize there must've been some bad blood between the Cousteau Society and Anderson, because the name "Cousteau" is bleeped out of the audio commentary. Every single time. There's also a giant disclaimer in the end credits, along the lines of "Dedicated to Jacques-Yves Cousteau, but the Cousteau Society had nothing to do with this film whatsoever, nope, no way, here's their URL, sorry for the confusion." I don't remember seeing such a large disclaimer in the theatrical release.

The bleeping was mandated only by legal threats, no doubt, but it's hilarious and irrelevant -- I mean, really. Wes will say something like "Of course, the main inspiration for Steve Zissou is [BEEEEEP], the famous oceanographer and filmmaker..." What other famous oceanographer could've been the inspiration, folks? I know all about following the letter of the law (er, edict in this case) if not the spirit, but the bleeps accomplish nothing except to annoy us all. Attn Bleep Society: We know who he's talking about, dammit. You're not fooling anyone with this half-assed attempt at commentary revisionism. And anybody watching this film with the commentary on by default already has more sense than God gave a goose, and so would not make any horrible, reputation-destroying presumption that since the film is about a Cousteau-like figure, the Cousteau Society obviously must have been behind it all.

And what's with feeling like this destroys a reputation, anyway? Hell, Steve Zissou is human, he's got human problems and can be a bit of a problem, but who can't be? He's also fictional, fer crying out loud. Cousteau was a great guy, but I bet he was no saint. Hell, I bet he peed in the ocean all the goddamn time. If the Cousteau Society is angry at the "we'll just make up our own version of reality for the documentary" angle, feeling like Life Aquatic is accusing J.C. of having done the same, I might take this moment to point out that getting someone to bleep out every mention of your buddy's name in a DVD commentary certainly could never be construed as changing reality to fit your own needs. Nope, no how. No way. Nuh uh. The only fitting conclusion is the one I said around 1993 or so: "Drop dead, Cousteau!"
There's a story behind that and it involves mistakenly believing Cousteau was dead at the time, and then flubbing an apology. But hey. He didn't demand the bleeps. Because he's already dropped dead-- sorry.

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


Date:May 15th, 2005 08:40 am (UTC)
cousteau (v): to pick one word and bleep out its every occurrence in a film.
[User Picture]
Date:May 15th, 2005 04:49 pm (UTC)

You've inspired me to write a haiku:

Cousteau was no saint
and he peed in the ocean
all the goddamn time.
[User Picture]
Date:May 16th, 2005 10:53 am (UTC)
after reading your post, i did a google search, which turned this up.
Date:May 17th, 2005 07:59 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that largely ad-libbed apology sequence probably wound up being the funniest thing in the show ... well, that and the claymation.

"Mr. Cousteau is alive and not dead. We are very sorry about this."

"Wait ... no, we mean we're sorry he's still alive ... um no, not that ..."


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