I watched Wes Anderson’s “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” again not long ago, and I found it remained as fresh and funny as it was when I reviewed the original two-DVD Criterion release. Here we are, nearly a decade later, and Criterion has finally upgraded that excellent set on a single Blu-ray disc.
The upside: Everything has been ported over from that original standard-def release, including the fold-out insert with a conversation between Anderson and his brother, Eric Chase Anderson, and the film has never looked nor sounded better on home video.
The downside: There’s nothing new in this release, so if a video and audio upgrade isn’t important to you, you might as well skip this release. While some recent Criterion Blu-rays have included DVDs, this one doesn’t, so if you don’t have Blu-ray capability everywhere you watch movies, you’ll want to keep that previous set if you grab this one.
It’s a shame nothing new was included here, since a video of Bill Murray, Willem Dafoe, Wes Anderson, and Jeff Goldblum reminiscing was recently posted on the Criterion web site, so obviously there was some desire for “let’s look back a decade” stuff. While that video isn’t of the greatest quality, it would have still been nice to see on the disc, or even on a second Blu-ray. (And I’m sure there was more than the 7.5 minutes that was released online, as shown by the rough edits.)
Perhaps it was nixed over quality concerns, or because some bean counters didn’t want to spring for a second platter, but, c’mon, this is a Wes Anderson movie: less-than-stellar quality can always be excused in the bonus features, and I can’t imagine another Blu-ray would have cost that much more.
However, I won’t ding this release for not offering more, since a Blu-ray port of the old DVDs is better than nothing. Your mileage may vary.