Well, Wes Anderson polarizes viewers. Generally, people either vehemently defend or despise him. But it's important to remember that foremost, he is a maker of comedies. His goal is to make you laugh and feel good and even when he goes for sentiment, I feel this is another device for making the next laugh that much bigger. He wants you to care about archetypal characters presented in an extremely formal fashion, which challenges some folks. Getting to the point, I think he tried for this cocktail of laugh/care/aesthetics in Tenenbaums and failed (mildly). Not that I don't like that movie. Ultimately though, it is about a bunch of dressed up caricatures who don't do a whole lot. A lot of ornaments on the tree, but too few branches, knowhatI'msayin? Not enough unexpectedness. Not enough exploration.
I like Life Aquatic better because I think it's funnier. And more inventive. Better paced. More Bill Murray. A lot of unexpectedness. It's got a better plot, I think. A silly one, but something to hurtle everyone along.
The general taste on this board leans more toward movies that hit a raw nerve. Love those. But sometimes I like to go into the comforting world of Wes Anderson - to laugh and be delighted. It's okay, we all deserve the right to be delighted every now and again.