Sunday, December 23, 2018


Movie Name: Aquaman
Year of Release: 2018
Director: James Wan
Stars: Jason Mamoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Temuera Morrison, Dolph Lundgren, Ludi Lin, Michael Beach, Randall Park, Graham McTavish, Leigh Whannell, Kaan Guldur
Genre: Action, Adventure
Score out of ten (whole numbers only): 3
View Trailer

Synopsis & Review:
Following the success of "The Conjuring 2", director James Wan is back, this time around tackling a comic book movie, with the adaptation of the classic character, Aquaman. The film follows the story of Arthur Curry, who we learn is the son of a lighthouse keeper, and Atlanna, queen of Atlantis, the mythical underwater realm. In the present times, Arthur goes under the moniker of Aquaman, and helps those in need, but that suddenly changes when he is approached by the beautiful Mera, who warns him that his half brother Orm, wants to declare war on the surface world. In order to establish a balance, Arthur has to uncover an ancient artifact, that grants him power over all underwater creatures, and allow him to rightfully take his place by the throne. He and Mera are however being chased by Orm and his posse, who will stop at nothing to capture and bring them in.
"Aquaman" is quite possibly James Wan's biggest budget endeavor so far in his career, but coincidentally enough, also the most generic and least successful, narratively speaking. It's shocking that a film that has so much production values and visual effects, is surprisingly so threadbare when it comes to creating an engaging story, one that is polished, fresh or enticing. There isn't a single cliché that is untapped in this film, and sadly they're all touched upon with a level of taste and lack of restraint that is very surprising, considering the films that James Wan has directed and released so far in his career. There's a cacophony of visual styles and aesthetics, that makes this film at times look like a carnival, one that mixes James Cameron's "Avatar", Steven Spielberg's "A.I." and even Joseph Kosinski's "Tron: Legacy". It's a film that also suffers from pacing issues - for a feature that jumps around, from location to location so quickly (and seemingly instantaneously), it drags on for what it seems an eternity (the film runs for 135 minutes, but it feels like 195). There are some positive points, namely the beautiful cinematography from Don Burgess, the costumes from Kym Barrett (who usually works with the Wachowski siblings) and the stunning visual effects on display. The cast is mostly underused, with Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman basically lost and perplexed at the material they're having to work with, while the equally talented Patrick Wilson does what he can with a cartoonish villain role. It's a hollow endeavor, one that even when it tries to engage on actual problems such as ecology, ends up pushing those to a footnote. It's a pass, from an intelligent director, who this time around, got swallowed up by the material.