Director: James Wan
Cast: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe
Release Date: March 26, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7.5/10
Disc Rating: 9/10
The Atlantean child Orin, son to the Queen of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman), was abandoned as an infant and left to die; however, he was rescued and raised by a kindly lighthouse keeper. The keeper (Temuera Morrison) adopted the boy as his own son, renaming him Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa). Able to survive the harshest depths of the ocean and on the surface world above, the child of two worlds grew to be a hero to both eventually returning to Atlantis to become their King in addition to being a founding member of the Justice League as Aquaman!
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
The DC Comics superhero comes to stunning life in the latest DC film entry. ‘Aquaman’ tells the origin story of Aquaman, aka Arthur Curry (Momoa) who is called upon to claim the throne of Atlantis after his half-brother, the cunning King Orm (Wilson) plans to attack the surface world with all of Atlantis’ force, threatening both those below and above the water. Caught between two separate worlds and with a stake and foothold in each, Arthur will have to join forces with the powerful Atlantean Mera (Heard) in the hunt for a legendary trident that was believed to be mere myth, yet also supposedly holds the power to control the sea. Now he’ll have to embrace the best parts of both sides if he hopes to stop Atlantis from beginning a full-fledged war against the surface world and at the same time protect the people and places that he cares for in each.
Directed by talented filmmaker James Wan (The Conjuring, Insidious) from a screenplay by David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick (The Conjuring 2) and Will Beall (Gangster Squad) which was based upon a story by Wan, Beall and Geoff Johns respectively, Wan does a great job at the helm of ‘Aquaman’ bringing this underwater world to visually stunning life and contributing his unique touches throughout (did anyone else notice the Annabelle doll on the ocean floor?). The film also features a noteworthy cast that includes numerous talented individuals including Jason Momoa (Justice League), Amber Heard (Drive Angry), Willem Dafoe (Spider-Man), Patrick Wilson (Watchmen), Dolph Lundgren (Creed II), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (US), Nicole Kidman (Paddington) and more, with the majority offering solid performances in each of their respective roles for the most part, and Momoa once again doing a great job in the role of Aquaman/Arthur Curry and breathing some welcome new life into the superhero.
‘Aquaman’ is a stylish, action-packed and visually spectacular adventure filled with laughs, fast-paced ride and no shortage of breathtaking visuals and scenery around every turn. It suffers somewhat from abandoning the gritty and dark nature earlier installments of the DC film universe embraced and the more goofy and light natured approach tends to give it a more generic and unoriginal vibe. Fortunately numerous other aspects including some well fleshed out characters and of course the impressive achievement of creating Atlantis in all of its visual splendor help to still make this one thoroughly entertaining ride with plenty of positive elements in its favor. Jason Momoa once more reprises the role of Aquaman, although this time taking front and center for the hero’s first solo film following his recent appearances in ‘Justice League’ and ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ and Momoa does a great job of breathing some new life and heart into the character and somehow bringing a more brutal, yet nonetheless caring and sincere aura to the famous DC hero. Add in the highly capable guidance of talented director James Wan at the helm and it comes together into a gorgeous and quite enjoyable ride. I would certainly urge fellow DC fans that weren’t able to catch this one during its theatrical run to try and give ‘Aquaman’ a whirl whenever you find the chance. It’s definitely far more lighthearted and upbeat than some of the other DC Movie installments, yet still manages to serve up a fun, visually spectacular and just downright enjoyable adventure that shouldn’t have any trouble holding your attention.
Overall, ‘Aquaman’ is a fun, humorous and fairly lighthearted fantasy adventure that dives deeper into the character of Arthur Curry/Aquaman, while offering a brilliantly crafted and visually breathtaking undersea world worthy of the hero. Although occasionally suffering from its tendency to get overzealous and a bit too silly at times and lacking the gritty nature that gave the previous DCEU feature films a unique style and heart unlike the many other superhero flicks around. ‘Aquaman’ is definitely recommended, especially for fellow DC fans who even if somewhat hesitant about the movie will surely at least want to give it a shot and make up their own minds. It should at the very least prove worthy of your time and the cost of a rental one evening for anyone that missed it in theaters and has been looking forward to it.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Aquaman’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing a variable Aspect Ratio that alters between a 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio and a 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio for the IMAX filmed sequences. The video presentation looks great as a whole and offers a sharp, detailed and richly colorful presentation from start to finish that also benefits tremendously from the inclusion of the IMAX shot sequences which open up the entire screen for many visually noteworthy scenes and altogether comprise at least half of the film’s duration, if not more. It holds up impressively even during the numerous darkly lit, fast moving and/or heavily populated sequences throughout, never causing anything onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is a pretty fantastic high definition video presentation that delivers in nearly every way and should altogether thrill most fans.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. It should also be noted that the disc automatically reverts to the 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack also included, so be sure to select Dolby Atmos in the Audio menu before playing for the superior audio experience. This multichannel soundtrack is a true treat and delivers a crisp, clean and wildly aggressive audio presentation throughout. It constantly takes full advantage of all seven available channels in order to immerse the viewer in the onscreen fun, sending underwater ships, creatures, debris and plenty more whipping throughout the various speakers with regularity, along with plenty of on land activity and more, and never resulting in any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously becoming distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a spectacular Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds marvelous every step of the way and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Aquaman’ includes an impressive collection of supplements that fans of the movie should appreciate. Included on the release is an exclusive look at the next DC Comics film in ‘Shazam! Sneak Peek’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length), in addition to numerous Behind the Scenes Featurettes that take you deep into bringing ‘Aquaman’ to life and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus tons of behind the scenes footage and much more. The included Featurettes are: ‘Becoming Aquaman’ (running approximately 13 minutes), ‘Going Deep Into the World of Aquaman’ (approximately 19 minutes), ‘James Wan: World Builder’ (8 minutes), ‘The Dark Depths of Black Manta’ (7 minutes), ‘Heroines of Atlantis’ (5 minutes), ‘Villainous Training’ (6 minutes), ‘A Match Made in Atlantis’ (3 minutes), ‘Atlantis Warfare’ (5 minutes), ‘Creating Undersea Creatures’ (7 minutes), ‘Aqua-Tech’ (6 minutes), ‘Kingdom of the Seven Seas’ (7 minutes) and ‘Scene Study Breakdowns’ for three key action scenes in the film (approximately 10 minutes altogether).