Aquaman (new 2018 DC film)

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Vidiot, Dec 25, 2018.

  1. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Well, I checked my list and checked it twice, and damned if there isn't an Aquaman thread yet.

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    I had all but given up on the DC Comics milieu, but the review on Aquaman have been so positive, and the film has done so well at the box office (over $488 million worldwide so far), I had to see it.

    It's a little creaky, it's long as hell in spots (nearly 140 minutes), but ya know... it was a lot of fun. For those who don't know, the short explanation is that Aquaman is the half-breed between an Atlantis Queen (and by that I mean a somewhat ethereal Nicole Kidman with a ton of de-aging defocus effects) and a humble but beefy lighthouse keeper -- who is torn between his two worlds of living as a human on Earth, and his undersea people in Atlantis. Atlantis in this film is an ancient high-tech civilization that sank thousands of years ago, only the inhabitants changed their DNA to survive and thrive underwater. Don't ask how they've been there so long without being detected by humans; no doubt that'll be explained in the inevitable Aquaman 2. Aquaman has incredible strength and the ability to talk to fish (!!!) -- superpowers that have been satirized many times in The Simpsons and Family Guy -- but you somehow can buy into this if you don't start examining it too closely.

    There's tons of action, there's some snappy one-liners, there's amazing visual effects (and a few not-so-amazing), monsters, explosive battles with spaceships... excuse me, underwater ships, internecine rivalry, bravery, treachery, tragedy, and ultimately, triumph. If that sounds sorta/kinda like the Marvel formula, it's because it is: more than one critic has called Aquaman "the best 'Marvel' film ever made by Warner Bros." (And that's funny, ya see, because this is a DC Comics film.)

    Is it a good movie? It's incredibly derivative: if you've seen Avatar, Starship Troopers, Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, Finding Nemo, Thor, and about two dozen major Hong Kong Kung Fu movies, you've seen a lot of Aquaman already. Director James Wan previously helmed a bunch of horror movies and Fast & Furious 7, so he clearly can handle the action and knows how to move the camera. Surprisingly, the character moments worked very well for the most part, and you will believe a man can fly real fast... underwater. Jason Momoa has got the looks, charm, and muscle to pull off the part, kind of resembling an undersea Dwayne Johnson.

    Momoa had some of the best lines in Justice League -- an otherwise terrible movie that barely broke even at about $650 million, but had a few good moments -- and it's good to see him break out in a franchise of his own. Gone is the dark, dreary Zach Snyder DC world, where everything is sort of a muted blue, very downbeat and drab; Aquaman has lots of light, brilliant color, and every shade of hue in the rainbow. For anybody who feared all we'd see is various shades of, well, aqua, underwater... they travel to Italy, the Sahara, various cities, and the visuals constantly move all over the globe. The director keeps things moving at a frantic pace, so while parts are a bit confusing and maybe a little rushed, by god, it's never boring.

    I totally get why this is Warner Bros.' first blockbuster since Wonder Woman. The hero has enough charisma and charm that you buy him in the role, as do all the other actors, and the filmmakers clearly are having a lot of fun here... something I didn't get with the last few DC WB movies. A few of the actors (particularly villainous Patrick Wilson) chew up the scenery a bit, but you expect this in a superhero movie... kind of the "Loki" of this film: the angry stepbrother who believes the throne is his birthright. I didn't love the film, but I'd have to say it's a far better movie than I had expected it to be. I'd call it "very good," maybe a 4 on a scale of 1-5, provided you don't go in expecting a film to obey a lot of rules of physics and logic. It looks to me like this is the first step on a "re-tooling" of the DC Comics Universe to bring them more in line with what mass-audiences really want to see.
     
    Last edited: Dec 25, 2018
  2. SBurke

    SBurke Nostalgia Junkie

    Location:
    Philadelphia, PA
    Awesome! Great to read this, as I've been looking forward to seeing the picture since last week -- should be going tomorrow night. :thumbsup:
     
  3. Quadboy

    Quadboy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Leeds,England
    I thought some of the Atlantians control of the seas was very derivative of the NTI's of the Abyss.
    It was good that it wasn't an all under water affair (with the distorted voices).
    kind of felt it had a touch of Indianna Jones in the surface action.
    Enjoyed it ...... whilst some of the underwater CGI creatures seemed a bit OTT.
     
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  4. agentalbert

    agentalbert Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Antonio, TX
    You mean like Atlantians jumping out of airplanes without parachutes, crashing into the desert (maybe sand dunes are like cotton?) and getting up and walking as if they'd taken a 4 foot tumble? Why they even need to worry about defending against weapons is beyond me...
     
  5. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    Still trying to understand why DC decided to turn the character with generations of recognition factor ingrained, into a "hot Bluto"...:shrug:



    (...which, by the way, is going on my list of possible name changes...)
     
  6. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    I didn't care for the film. It felt like it clicked all the generic boxes but it was artificial - there was no real excitement or drama involved.

    It's "paint by numbers" superhero material - it gives us lame, trite one-liners, mediocre action and forgettable characters acted without life or passion.

    Oh, and the CG tends to be pretty awful.

    I wanted to like the movie but was bored. I don't know if it's the worst DCEU flick but it's pretty lousy...
     
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  7. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    BTW, can anyone explain why the Nicole Kidman character didn't age - other than Kidman's vanity?

    Sure, they gave "older Nic" some gray in her hair, but otherwise, she looked just the same as "1980s Nic".

    Her character actually looked younger than her son - it was disconcerting!
     
  8. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I took a good close look, and Ms. Kidman had zero wrinkles in the 1980s, but just a few wrinkles and crow's feet today (but no eye bags). Still a ton of makeup, a little plastic surgery (and Botox), and a lot of skin defocus.

    Note that Jason Momoa is 39, while Nicole Kidman is 51, apparently implying she was fairly wild as a child... :sigh:

    My joke was, it's as if the DC execs analyzed the last 20 Marvel films and reduced every one to a spreadsheet, then made sure they precisely duplicated every character and plot point every 5 minutes: backstory, characters introduced, conflict established, reluctant hero rejects the challenge, gets drawn in, villain introduced, motives established, treachery ensues, hero defeated in first battle, retreats, figures out the challenge, gets more powerful, returns to vanquish the foe, and triumphantly assumes the throne (literally in this case). There are literally thousands of stories and legends that follow this story arc, as dictated by Joseph Campbell's The Hero with a Thousand Faces.

    They definitely hit every archtypical superhero movie bullet point throughout the entire film, but I think James Wan's visual style and the actors' talents helped bolster the effort quite a bit. I agree with you that some of the VFX were really marginal, particularly the outdoor stuff in Sicily. I had a chuckle at the closing credits that cited huge crews involved just in grabbing the background plate shots without actors, since all that stuff was shot against green screen. Also note that a ton of the underwater scenes had CG bodies and real-life faces pinned to the bodies, which I found disconcerting. All the floating hair was CG and didn't quite work to me, but I can imagine they tried very, very hard to get this right.

    On some levels, it sucked, but it's a helluva lot better than Batman vs. Superman or Justice League, let alone Suicide Squad. I could add a whole bunch of influential movies to the list above: I forgot Karate Kid and Iron Man... the former for the scenes where young Aquaman has to learn how to fight from his respected trainer, and the latter for the scenes where a guy dons a flying suit that has laser death rays.
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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  9. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    I wasn't clear: when I reference "80s Nic", I meant her character. The prologue takes place in 1985 (IIRC) and shows a "youngified" Temuera Morrison - replete with terrible wig - and a "young" version of Nic's character.

    Of course, the 2018 movie Morrison looks 33 years older - bald, aged, etc. - whereas the 2018 movie Nic looks almost the same. They added some gray to her hair but otherwise the character doesn't look like she's aged a day.

    If the movie claimed Atlanteans didn't age like humans, that'd be one thing, but the evidence is that they do. Willem Dafoe's character looks substantially older in the 2018 scenes vs. those supposed to be 20-25 years earlier.

    I recognize that Nic looks young for her age - thanks to all the work she's had done, mainly - and I don't think they had to do that much for the 1985 character, though even so, she clearly didn't look 18.

    Just seems weird that every other character ages in the course of the movie but not Nic! And it became a distraction for me!
     
  10. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    I'll need to see the movie again to have a "final opinion". Right now, I like it less than any of the DCEU movies other than maybe "MoS", but I also went into it with moderately high expectations. It's not getting rave reviews ala the new animated Spidey movie, but the reviews are good enough that I expected it to be... good!

    And it wasn't. At least I entered the other DCEUs - save "WW" - with knowledge of bad reviews and my expectations modified.

    So maybe I'll like "Aquaman" more on second viewing. I just know that I thought it was pretty awful last week!
     
  11. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    That's what I meant as well. "1980s Nicole" refers to the character in the 1980s, with a lot of defocus and careful de-aging CG & makeup. Technically, I think Momoa's character is supposed to be about 35, and the boy's flashback is about 30 years ago, which would make it about 1988.

    The scores are split on Rotten Tomatoes: 64% by critics and 82% by the audience. 55 on Metacritic. I think all Warner Bros. cares about is that it grossed $500 million in only less than 2 weeks, which I think is as good or better than Wonder Woman...

    ‘Aquaman’ Swims Past Half Billion WW, Eyes $100M Stateside By End Of Christmas Day

    Box Office: 'Aquaman' Rules Christmas Eve, Crosses $500M Globally
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  12. Oatsdad

    Oatsdad Oat, Biscuits and Abbie: Best Dogs Ever

    Location:
    Alexandria VA
    Oh - okay. I thought you were comparing the movie character to actual Nic in the 80s!

    Old Nic does look good anyway. She sure looks to be in great shape - unless they CGed her body, too! :D
     
  13. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Just went today with my girlfriend, and we were pleasantly entertained for the most part. The movie has a frentic pace that’s not boring. I agree with you that this film is derivative in ways of Thor, Black Panther, Wonder Woman and Avatar. But it all mostly works together.

    I think the “retooling” of the DC Universe movies started with Justice League actually, after the negative critical response to Batman vs Superman. Justice League was a lot lighter in tone in some ways and jokier.
     
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  14. Michael

    Michael I LOVE WIDE S-T-E-R-E-O!

    I Like the actor and I'll like the movie...and I will own the BD.
     
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  15. pblmow

    pblmow Forum Resident

    Location:
    Fresno.
    I would be honestly surprised if the general consensus wasn't negative in here......:thumbsup:
     
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  16. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    I think Wonder Woman was the first big step, but now we see there's going to be a whole new style of movies from the studio from here on out. As many have said, imagine going back in time 20 years and predicting that by 2018, the biggest new DC Comics movies ever made will be Wonder Woman and Aquaman! :eek:
     
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  17. Ghostworld

    Ghostworld Forum Resident

    Location:
    US
    Just gimme Samuel Jackson in a Nick Fury movie and I'll be happy.
     
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  18. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    Forgot Black Panther! That's a good call.
     
  19. The Hermit

    The Hermit Wavin' that magick glowstick since 1976

    Visually beautiful (if admittedly-impressive CGI up the wazoo is your thing!) and I'm not just talking about Amber Heard ;), highly derivative, and waaaay too long (120-something minutes tops would have sufficed)... it was DC again trying to be Marvel and only succeeding in showing just how so much better the latter is at these films...

    What I found particularly ridiculous was it took 143 minutes - the entire film's frankly ludicrous running time - to show the titular character's origin story... Dick Donner did it in 40 minutes of screen time back on Superman: The Movie!!! These kids nowadays don't know the meaning of brevity in storytelling anymore it seems...
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
  20. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    Location:
    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    I'll be seeing this one soon. Meanwhile, I watched a DC animated movie over the weekend; Justice League, Throne Of Atlantis. It's such an anomaly to me how these guys make such good cartoons and such lousy movies! The plot of the movie, described upthread, especially his origin, is all in the cartoon. You get that, PLUS the League, all in little over an hour, and it totally works! I get that the cartoons, tv shows, and movies are basically being done by 3 separate companies but I'll never understand why they don't look at each other's work. Some of the tv shows work, most of the cartoons are great. The movie guys basically have blueprints, with their own logo, on how to do these things properly at their fingertips. And yet.....
     
  21. Chrome_Head

    Chrome_Head Forum Resident

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA.
    Hell, imagine going back and predicting that Ant Man, Black Panther, Guardians Of The Galaxy or Suicide Squad would all be moderate to huge hits.

    Of course, twenty years ago we didn't even have the first Blade or even the first X-Men movie yet. So everything that's come since would blow every comic fan's minds. We have the success of the first Matrix film to thank for all this, I suspect (definitely pushed the SFX forward).

    I just can't believe they can't figure out how to do a Superman movie that anyone cares about. I thought Man Of Steel was pretty good, and underrated. I liked it in the theater, but I like it more and more as I catch it again on cable.
     
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  22. Madness

    Madness Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    OMG I thought this was a horrible movie. Stupid storyline, horrible acting by Momoa. I couldn't wait for this movie to end.

    So how did Anabelle get to the bottom of the ocean? Did anyone else notice she was sitting there before Aquaman took off with the red head in the sea cruiser?
     
  23. Vidiot

    Vidiot Now in 4K HDR! Thread Starter

    Location:
    Hollywood, USA
    And the latest prediction is that this film could hit $1 billion dollars in worldwide box office in another couple of months...

    Aquaman Reportedly On Track To Earn $1 Billion At Worldwide Box Office

    I'm guessing she swam. Do you mean Atlanna (the name of Nicole Kidman's character)? There's no "Annabelle" in the movie that I know of.

    BTW, yes, that was a quick appearance of Stingray (the 1960s Gerry Anderson "Supermarionation" show) in Aquaman, which apparently was a little joke between filmmakers James Wan and Edgar Wright:

    Aquaman: James Wan Reveals Which Easter Egg Was Added for Edgar Wright
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2018
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  24. SamS

    SamS Forum Legend

    Location:
    Texas
    Saw this today, it wasn't very good. Only went cause I had a free movie ticket for it via a FandangoNow promotion. The humor wasn't great, and of course waaaaay too much CGI. It could have been worse, but it's a long way to go from a great popcorn flick a la "Avengers: Infinity War" or Thor: Ragnarok.
     
  25. Madness

    Madness Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland, USA
    Annabelle, the possessed doll from The Conjuring series, is at the bottom of the ocean.
     

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