The Dallas Movie Screening Group

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Thursday, December 20, 2018

Aquaman





Director: James Wan Studio: Warner Bros.

“Aquaman” swims, but sinks!


I may love the films that take place under the sea like The Little Mermaid and Finding Nemo, but Aquaman contains both underwater and above-water adventures with shocking, yet surprising twists to it. What makes James Wan the king of the Aquaman production is that he throws the astonishing amounts of action sequences with a little heavy duty of bouncing the CGI usages back on board. Back then, Batman v Superman become a critical disaster, but Aquaman soars up in the water. Aquaman features the returning star Jason Momoa who gets his own solo film as the titular character after appearing in Batman v Superman and Justice League. IN addition, the film includes the supporting cast of Amber Heard, Patrick Wilson, Temuera Morrison, and Nicole Kidman.

In the film, I get to see Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), raised from the lighthouse and become the heir to the throne of Kingdom of Atlantis, steps forward to battle his half-brother, Orm (Patrick Wilson), who plans to take over the seven kingdoms under the sea against the human world on surface. He later adopts the name of Aquaman and does whatever it takes to survive the sea and end the sea domination for good.

Let me say, I enjoy parts of the plot, but the plot and the story structures seems messy. These two are very complicated, yet predicable to see how the story of Aquaman really fits in for the film’s main course for the audience and DC fans. There are many entertaining ways to keep the film as great with surprising explosions, bizarre moments in the sea, the chemistry of Momoa’s Aquaman and Heard’s Mera character, and Nicole Kidman’s performance at the beginning and end. I also love how Momoa bringing an inside joke of Disney’s Pinocchio just to add comedy and points to it as well as the Star Wars-alike battle which gives the film more praising feel to it.

The director really outdone it with some good character development on Momoa and Heard, parts of the plotlines that fits the two characters’ flow, and providing comedy for the characters. The music and the composition from Rupert Gregson-Williams are just as stunning just like 2017’s Wonder Woman which he also composed. I sort of love the visuals and parts of the CGI usages. However, the massive usages of CGI really sink down in the bottom of the try-hard dead zone. These two things have focused more than the character developments of Momoa, Heard, Kidman, Abdul-Mateen, and Wilson. I also found that the time length of the film is just as boring and easily conflicted for the time being.

I gotta hand it to him, Jason Momoa did such a great job keeping up with his character performance just the same as Gal Gadot keep her character performance really well and intense in 2017’s Wonder Woman. Momoa and Gadot both got some meatier roles to face certain challenges and a bigger fish to fry when it comes to saving the world. Don’t forget about Amber Heard who bears a resemblance of Ariel from The Little Mermaid. She seems to have a great chemistry with Momoa character and becomes the theme of exposition for parts of the story structures. Though, I disliked the actor Otis Dhanji, who played as the teenage version of Arthur Curry, as he is too cringey and cheesy for the part that gives me a confusing look. Although parts of the cast are good, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II who plays the villain Black Manta really made his character over ambiguous, but on the inside, he keeps his act as a villain for the better sake.

Also returning is the actor Willem Dafoe (The Florida Project) who portrays the supporting role of Nuidis Vulko, the advisor of the Atlantis and the mentor to Arthur Curry. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly love Dafoe’s performance in Aquaman comparing to Disney-Pixar’s Finding Nemo which Dafoe also starred in as the lead fish named Gill in the dentist. His Nuidis Vulko performance is almost brings the similarity from 2002’s Spider-Man, his first superhero film, where he played Norman Osborn/Green Goblin.

As I aforementioned, Aquaman is an ok movie. Though Aquaman may not swim up to greater heights like 2017’s Wonder Woman, but it certainly does show bits of improvement than the garbage Batman v Superman and Justice League. Momoa really takes every inch on the surface and space as well as running several miles out in the ocean for a less-deceitful charm. The observable tone of adventure is marvelous. The entire cast is great but really deserves better than the tempest of CGI. If you want to just have a good and silly time at the movies, you can do no worse than this. It would been a hard pass to watch it. Running time: 143 minutes



GRADE: C+

(Review by Henry Pham)




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