Aquaman

2018

Director: James Wan

Starring: Jason Momoa, Nicole Kidman, Amber Heard, Willem Defoe, Patrick Wilson, Dolph Lundgren, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II

Where to start with Aquaman. The character has been a bit of a joke in the comic community for years. Then Jason Momoa was cast and suddenly Aquaman was cool. Next, James Wan jumped off The Flash so he could realise his own world with Aquaman. Things were looking good for the fish talking hero. Then, Justice League happened. Jason Momoa came out unscathed from that train wreck, and even bagged some of the films best lines. The film didn’t highlight anything that made Aquaman different though, he seemed to have the same skillset as any other hero, and the scenes shot underwater were dreadful. When two sea dwelling characters have to create an air bubble to speak to each other, you know that this world hasn’t been fully thought through. Thankfully, Aquaman has been made as an almost soft reboot, and Wan has promised a new experience for cinema goers.

Aquaman, played by Jason Momoa, is Arthur Curry. The son of a lighthouse keeper and an Atlantean Queen. He is half human and half Atlantean, although he has distanced himself from the underwater world since he found out that upon learning of his existence the king of Atlantis sacrificed his mother to The Trench, a part of the ocean filled with monstrous sea creatures. He is forced to return though when Mera, played by Amber Heard calls him back to deal with his brother Orm, who plans to wage war on those who live on land.

My thoughts coming out of this film are generally positive. It completely erases any memory of Justice League, and it was great to see a film in the DCEU which felt completely stand alone. The cast all did a pretty great job, and Momoa lives up to top billing with a performance full of confidence and charisma. Patrick Wilson did feel slightly out of his depth as the main villain, but that may be due to the fact that as a villain his character is never really that interesting. James Wan obviously had a total blast with the world building, and some of it is fantastic, but there is a lot of it, sometimes too much.

Aquaman is best described as a real mixed bag. A pick’n’mix of a film. It wants and tries to do everything at once, and can become bogged down in the sheer amount of storytelling going on. There are so many worlds visit, creatures to see, plot points to tie up, and characters to introduce. It all becomes a bit too much. It should be applauded for its ambition, but maybe a more stream lined version of this film would have made for the more enjoyable experience. For me the film really finds its feet when our characters are on land. The scenes both in the desert and Sicily being two standout moments in the movie. These scenes recall classic adventure movies like Indiana Jones and Romancing The Stone, they also don’t rely as heavily on distracting CGI and the action scenes here feel more real and have more weight to them.

This might be the biggest problem with Aquaman: they still haven’t mastered the underwater world. When it works it looks fantastic. The scene where Arthur and Mera get attacked in The Trench is gorgeous to look at, combing dazzling visuals with some horrific imagery. It’s epic. Then there’s the scene where Curry fights Orm for the throne of Atlantis. It’s awful. None of it looks real, and it’s hard to invest in a fight between two cgi characters. The actors are obviously restricted by the wire work, and whilst there is no air bubbles for them to talk in this time, they’ve still made the decision to add a little reverb when they speak to give the impression of talking underwater, which is more than a little distracting.

The pick’n’mix nature of this film also refers to the tone, style and references on display. One scene is straight out of Black Panther, another from Iron Man, there’s a little bit of Jurassic Park here, a lot of Star Wars. Indeed when they first enter Atlantis it’s hard not to think of our first visit to Jar-Jar Binks’ home in The Phantom Menace. Some of them work, some of them don’t. There is also a sub-plot which involves another, more interesting villain. We get to travel to a lot of different worlds, there’s people riding sharks, octopus playing drums, there’s a lot going on. One things for sure, it’s a long film, but it’s way too interesting to be called boring.

The Aqua parts of Aquaman tend to be its weakest, but don’t let that put you off one of the most creative blockbusters this year. It is a little all over the place, but that comes from a filmmaker taking his first chance at a superhero blockbuster and wringing it for all its worth. There’s a lot here to be commended even if it’s not quite the home run that DC fans were hoping for.

7/10

The Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018 – Part One

2017, Uncategorized

2017 is drawing to an end, and so it’s the perfect time to look ahead at 2018, and see what movies will be filling our theatres next year. This article will be looking ahead at the most anticipated movies of next year. First of all, this blog is based in England, and whilst there are some movies coming out next year which I’m really looking forward to, they have already been released in the US. These films, such as Three Billboarda Outside Ebbing, Missouri, or Lady Bird, have been omitted from this list. They have already been received incredibly well, and this list is more about films where the anticipation is high, but we don’t know how they will turn out. This list might also be slightly heavy on the big blockbusters. Anticipation is a subjective thing, and it’s hard to predict how smaller, independent films will do. Get Out was one of my favourite films of 2017, but if you’d asked me in 2016 what I was looking forward to seeing, it wouldn’t have made my list. There are surprises every year, and I’m not trying to predict them.

Any way, 2018, there’s a lot of good stuff to look forward to. We have Marvel movies, Star Wars Movies, video game adaptations, auteur returns, and some original properties, all vying for the blockbuster crown. Here are our most anticipated movies of 2018…

 

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Black Panther

The first Marvel movie out this year, and the first Marvel movie in our list. Black Panther sees Chadwick Bosman reprise his role as King T’Chala, last seen in Captain America: Civil War. With Creed writer/director Ryan Coogler behind the camera, the trailer for this movie looks fantastic. It also serves as a lead in for Avengers: Infinity War, but more of that later.

Anticipation level: 9/10

 

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Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic World was a huge hit. Whether you liked it it or not, there’s no denying it was a box office phenomenon. Whilst many felt it was the perfect mix of new and old, some felt it cleaved to close to the original, but with the world now reastbalished, Fallen Kingdom can now venture into uncharted territory. Yes, the trailer was awful, but apparently it only contained footage from the first act. So there are still plenty of surprises left in store.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Tomb Raider

Lara Croft Tomb Raider looks the perfect video game for a big screen adaptation, but, as we all know, it’s not that simple. Whilst some enjoyed Angelina Jolie’s portrayal of the titular heroine, those films were largely awful. Can Alicia Vikander break the video game to film curse? The trailer looks promising, and focusing on the grittier origin story of the most recent games seems to be a smart move. We’ve got our fingers crossed.

Anticipation Level: 6/10

 

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Isle Of Dogs

The first original property on this list. Isle Of Dogs is the new stop motion animation from indie auteur Wes Anderson. The story is set in Japan, and follows the tale of a boy as he goes in search of his new dog. The trailer showcases all of the style and charm that we are used to from Anderson, along with a fantastic voice cast. It’s also his first stop motion since Fantastic Mr Fox, which was great. So we can expect this to be another instant classic.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Solo: A Star Wars Story

Any other Star Wars movie would instantly be a must see, but Solo comes with baggage. Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller were fired off the project only to be replaced by veteran film maker Ron Howard. Tracing the origin of charming rogue Han Solo, this could turn out to be great. We just wish we could see the Lord and Miller version, as we love their left field vision. We’re excited for this, but apprehensive too.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Aquaman

The next movie up on DC’s slate is Aquaman. It’s the first movie to be released after Justic League, and a reshuffle behind the scenes at Warner Bros. but that shouldn’t effect it much as it’s too late to change much now. It’s still got a lot going for it. James Wan is in the directors chair after showing he can do big budget with Fast and Furious 7, Jason Mamoa’s take on the character has been well received, and it’s stand alone, with the makers even saying that the under water dynamics which didn’t work in Justice League will be different in this one. Here’s hoping for the next Wonder Woman.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

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Mute

Set 40 years from now, and about a mute bartender in Berlin going up against gangsters to find his missing partner. Mute could be the sleeper hit of 2018. It’s Duncan Jones’ return to more personal film making after the disappointment of Warcraft. Starring Alexander Skarsgård and Paul Rudd, it’s an idea which Jones has been teasing since Moon came out. We can’t wait.

Anticipation Levels: 8/10

 

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Ready Player One

Who isn’t excited to see a new Steven Spielberg movie. We can’t wait. Adapted from Ernest Cline novel, the film see’s a future where people escape the day to day by entering the Oasis. A virtual reality world. The creator of this world dies, but leaves behind an Easter egg which will grant the finder access to his fortune, and control of the Oasis. Mixing together a whole bunch of pop culture, including Freddy Krueger and a DeLorean, it’ll be great to see Spielberg play around with the pop culture he helped to create.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

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The New Mutants

Set within the same universe as X-Men, and directed by The Fault In Our Stars’ Josh Boone, The New Mutants follows the Fox playbook of experimenting with their properties, as seen with Logan and Deadpool. The film follow a group of teenagers struggling to come to terms with their mutant powers. So far, so generic, but The New Mutants is positioned as a straight up horror movie. The trailer teases the scares, but most exciting is how little we do know about it.

Anticipation Level: 7/10

 

Incredibles 2

Incredibles 2

Following on from where they left us in 2004, 2018 sees the return of our favourite super hero family. Not much is known about the plot, but the teaser trailer shows that Pixar haven’t lost their touch when it comes to physical comedy. Pixar sequels have been hit and miss, but their reluctance to bring out a sequel to Incredibles makes me think they must have had a prettt good story to bring them back.

Anticipation Level: 8/10

 

So that concludes Part One of our Most Anticipated Movies Of 2018, tell us what you think in the comments below and keep your eyes peeled for Part Two.