The Darjeeling Limited is a remake of Bottle Rocket in the current Wes Anderson schema.
The film turns out to be a lot simpler than the overpacked Royal Tenenbaums or Life Aquatic, with a more basic plot and limited cast. This gives the meandering more room to breathe than in those other movies. The set design and custom logos are the biggest connection to the days of Team Zissou, but Anderson reuses a bunch of other tricks he's employed before. In Darjeeling, the sadness is marginally less undercut by jokes, but the jokes are pretty much along the lines of other Wes Anderson fare.
I enjoyed the movie, and I would expect anyone who saw it on its opening Saturday (especially those people, who like myself, bought tickets days in advance) would most likely enjoy it. Unless you were expecting to not like it; with this movie, I think any expectations would be met. Slate suggests Anderson has issues with depictions of race, and this movie doesn't really dismiss those claims. Reflecting on that article, I think a better argument can be had over Anderson's depiction of women; probably someone will do that sometime soon if not already.
It turns out that The Hotel Chevalier is just another way of providing an in-joke cue to Anderson's audience.
I guess this is an interesting enough marketing strategy, and would work best for artists like Anderson with a built-in enthusiastic audience. (One happy enough to link to his AT&T commercials.)
I saw pre-release suggestions that the short film would help viewers understand Darjeeling better by providing back story, but that is less accurate than admitting that what the short does is make viewers insiders who can chuckle in a couple places where the couple sitting a few rows down don't get it.
Since everyone will get the (funny) Bill Murray joke, there had to be something else for the elite.
Perhaps there will be an outbreak of nostalgia for the pre-click wheel iPod, as modeled by Jason Schwartzman in the film.
I saw a suggestion that the short was an iPod commercial, but it's an obsolete iPod. But I'm sure Apple could position themselves for an iPod retro. Afterall, that hideous looking U2 ipod lasted longer than it should have...
Darjeeling Limited on metacritic
It's at 62 currently, up from a few days ago. That's in line with Life Aquatic and Bottle Rocket, a bit off Royal Tenenbaums, and well below Rushmore.
I'm pretty sure that The Darjeeling Limited is either the second best or the worst Wes Anderson film.
Darjeeling Limited on IMDB