Second Union

Second Union

REVIEW: Aquaman Sinks to the Bottom

Amber Heard as Princess Mera and Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry

This is one of those movies that makes you wonder if the filmmakers were testing how keen the public is to watch an overload of CGI. The producers, along with Warner Brothers, are no doubt cracking a bottle of champagne on the basis that the D.C. Cinematic Universe is clearly profitable after reviewing box office receipts from the opening weekend, and because the studio insists on a damn-the-cost attitude with production costs. Wonder Woman was the only film that generated large enough margins and critical acclaim. While this film will boost the margins, the critics (myself included) are going to speak against it. On a cinematic level of visual storytelling, Aquaman starts out great and progresses downhill until the last 45 minutes when the film becomes a cluster —-. Sadly, no amount of dark satire or comedic humor will prevent the studio from greenlighting a sequel.

The movie travels at a fast and steady pace, jumping right into the story with little build-up, as any motion-picture should – and few do. The opening scene, before the title credits, sets up the opening chapter brilliantly. An equal and generous helping of not one, but two villains, work perfectly in the script and the special effects of characters floating under water is a feat that even computer could not have provided two decades ago. Regrettably, this is the only saving grace in a movie that involves over-blown computer-generated special effects with a lack of concern for scientific details. How can so much fire-power, liquid lava and explosions (with flame) be accomplished under water? Why is there a cartoon squid banging on drums for music? Why does Aquaman smell his armpits while he is under water?

One of two villains in the movie, Black Manta.

Even with suspension of disbelief, the character of Aquaman becomes more like a cartoon character for children. Perhaps the best part of the movie is Amber Herd, who is magnificent as Mera, a hydrokinetic-powered princess who will ultimately understand why Arthur Curry (a.k.a. Aquaman) chooses to concern himself with the land folk.

Not a fan of Zack Snyder’s dark take on superheroes who should be making the world a brighter place, and possibly inspired by the movies produced by Marvel Studios, I could not help but notice somewhere in all this scramble it manages to hit the reboot button. There might be hope for this franchise if they can avoid the computer and instead focus more on the story.

For those looking for a faithful adaptation from page to screen, Aquaman has enough to please fanboys. With a plot that is routine and formulaic, such a franchise should not be falling into the paint-by-the-numbers trap. This reviewer has seen so many films that he wishes an opportunity like Aquaman featured good storytelling; sadly, the movie was downplayed to an endless animated rumble. 

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