I’m going to try and make this review as fair as possible considering that the film was pretty much ruined for me. I booked in to the super-duper 2DX screen at my local cinema (of you’re not familiar it offers a 270-degree screen experience) which I thought would be fabulous with all the underwater scenes in Aquaman. Well, the technology is new and it decided to break down meaning that we watched the first 15 minutes of the film 3 times while they tried and failed to get the projector system up and running.
Because of the interruption, it took me a while to get back into the film and I was constantly keeping an eye on the time as I had another film booked later in the evening and it was looking increasingly like both films would clash due to the delay and I’d either have to leave early or get in late (both of which I hate to do).
Anyway, I concentrated the best I could and this is as unbiased as I can do!
The film starts with Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison) finding a woman washed up on the rocks at the bottom of his lighthouse. It turns out that the mysterious female is a Queen of Atlantis who has fled to avoid an arranged marriage. The unlikely pair fall in love and Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) gives birth to a son who the name Arthur after a hurricane that’s raging out in the ocean.
While Arthur is still young, guards from Atlantis track down Atlanna and try to take her back. She fiercely fights them off (girls got some moves!) but realises that in order to keep Tom and their son safe she needs to leave but leaves her advisor Vulko to train Arthur in how to fight and what it means to be an Atlantean.
Fast forward a few years and Arthur (Jason Momoa) is now a big burly bloke that likes to have a few beers in a bar with his Dad and rescue submariners from pirates. It’s this confrontation that brings Arthur face-to-face with David Kane who will later become the Black Manta (no, I hadn’t heard of this D.C villain either) and vow revenge on Aquaman after his Father is killed in the submarine raid.
As well as Black Manta as a baddie in this film, we’re also introduced to sleazy Orm who wants to rule the underwater realm by uniting the sea clans using some rather suspect tactics. Plot twist: Orm is Arthur’s half-brother! Way to add a conflict plot point – that’s two boxes ticked!
Orm decides that he needs to get Arthur out of the way for his plan to succeed and launches a tidal wave to take him out, fortunately Princess Mera (Amber Heard) is on-hand to help save Arthur and his Dad so Arthur agrees to help thwart Orm’s plans. I’m not sure if the effects were good in this bit or not as the scenes were so dark that you couldn’t really see what was happening. This seems to be a bit of a recurring theme with films at the moment, if a scene is either difficult or the budget doesn’t quite stretch they make it take place at night so they can get away with shoddy CGI (more on that later).
The rest of the film is set in the underwater realm which is film in a cool and yet odd way. The floating hair is clever but the movement of the character’s bodies is a little off which I found somewhat disconcerting. There are also bubbles. A lot of bubbles. When there are any action sequences they roll out the bubbles so you can’t see a lot of what’s happening.
Part of the problem with this film is that it’s not quite sure what it should be. At one point Arthur turns into an Indiana Jones style character when he and Mera head off to find a lost spear, in other parts he’s almost a sulky teenager that wants nothing to do with his underwater heritage and in others he’s Aquaman, scourge of the underwater pirates.
I also think that having two villians in Orm and Black Manta is a bit much – one would have sufficed but they need to set up a sequel so they bung in an unnecessary character.
It’s not a bad film – it’s certainly 20,000 leagues (get it?) ahead of Batman vs Superman and The Justice League but it’s nowhere near Wonder Woman (despite what the box office figures might say).
Jason Momoa is good as Curry but his performance reminded me a lot of his character Ronon Dex in Stargate: Atlantis (ooooh…. Maybe he was Aquaman undercover and not an alien after all!), Patrick Wilson chews the scenery as King Orm but is perfectly suited to the role, Willem Defoe usually plays a bad guy so I was distracted quite a bit wondering when he’s turn nasty and Dolph Lungren is… well, Dolph Lungren.
I rated this film a 7 which is probably slightly higher than it deserves but I can’t give half-marks on my tracking app and didn’t want to mark it down unfairly.
Watch this film if you want to get away with watching a superhero film and your girlfriend is up for a chic flick.