Aquaman is an outrageously fun superhero movie that might not break new ground in terms of story, it does introduce audiences to a relatively unexplored world. Jason Momoa was the perfect casting of a character that was once a joke.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Science Fiction
Warner Bros. | PG13 – 143 min. – $44.95 | March 26, 2019
Date Published: 03/17/2019 | Author: The Movieman
Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.
THE MOVIE — 4.0/5
Plot Synopsis: Once home to the most advanced civilization on Earth, the city of Atlantis is now an underwater kingdom ruled by the power-hungry King Orm (PATRICK WILSON). With a vast army at his disposal, Orm plans to conquer the remaining oceanic people — and then the surface world. Standing in his way is Arthur Curry aka Aquaman (JASON MOMOA), Orm’s half-human, half-Atlantean brother and true heir to the throne. With help from royal counselor Vulko (WILLEM DAFOE) and Queen Mera (AMBER HEARD) who is betrothed to Orm, Aquaman must retrieve the legendary Trident of Atlan and embrace his destiny as protector of the deep.
Review: After the release of Wonder Woman, there was hope DC had turned the corner but the Frankenstein’s monster that was Justice League said otherwise (should be noted, I loved the Ultimate Cut of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice). And now with new leadership heading DC, as well as Warner Brothers, there is some re-alignment currently on.
However, Aquaman is sort of part of the old guard however it’s easily the most entertaining thus far within the so-called DC Extended Universe (think it’s now just World of DC). Is it the best of the bunch? Not by a long-shot with Wonder Woman and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: Ultimate Cut ahead of it.
Having seen Aquaman twice now as I did make a rare trip to the movie theater, I actually kind of enjoyed it more this time around, perhaps partially because knowing what to expect, plus watching in the comfort of my own home, even though I only paused once in order to refill my refreshing beverage (A&W Root Beer for nobody who was wondering). The issues I had the first time, mostly to do with the pacing, didn’t feel as bad and even the odd song choice, particularly the Pit Bull song “Ocean to Ocean”, wasn’t as jolting, even though a simple score piece would’ve been better in its place.
What worked in both viewings was a strong cast. Jason Momoa rules as Aquaman, commanding the screen with every scene, not unlike Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, to the point I could not and do not want to see anyone else in that role. Credit once again to the much maligned Zach Snyder.
Patrick Wilson did a fine job as the film’s main villain, who was a bit more complicated not just for his jealousy toward half-brother Arthur, but has an ecological angle to his goals. It’s nice to see Willem Dafoe play a true good guy and Nicole Kidman, for her brief role, was wonderful as Arthur’s mother. Last is Amber Heard as Mera, I did like her in the role, however can’t say I was as in love this time around and could see the role recast, especially if things don’t go her way in real life and the libel lawsuit submitted by her ex, Johnny Depp.
Taking the directing reigns is James Wan in yet another case of a filmmaking going from the horror realm to doing a comic book movie (Scott Derrickson – Dr. Strange, James Gunn – Guardians of the Galaxy) and while in parts Wan was out of his comfort zone, “The Trench” sequence going towards the third act, he was in really in his elements and visually these were striking scenes, not to take away from the introduction to Atlanti, a society, not unlike Black Panther, I hope gets explored in the sequel (currently set for December 2022).
Aquaman might not be the best amongst the few within the DC live action Universe, but certainly turned what was once a silly character and embraced its weirdness — including Arthur riding a freaking seahorse, and made him, and his world, pretty bad ass culminating with an insane epic finale.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 4.0/5
This release comes with a title-embossed slip cover and inside is a redemption code for the Digital HD copy. All of the features are contained on the Blu-ray disc.
Becoming Aquaman (13:03) finds actor Jason Momoa discussing taking a starring role with behind-the-scenes footage and interviews conducted before, during and after filming which made this a fun featurette.
Going Deep into the World of Aquaman (19:28) is a more rounded view of the production with more on-set interviews with members of the cast and crew, where we get to see how this unique world was created.
James Wan: World Builder (7:42) looks at the challenges and solutions Wan faced in both performances and visual effects in order to bring a new world to life.
The Dark Depths of Black Manta (6:39) goes into the background of the character as portrayed by Yahya Abdul-Matten II.
Heroines of Atlantis (5:31) profiles Nicole Kidman and Amber Heard as they discuss their respective roles and how they are important to Arthur.
Villainous Training (6:21) – Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II gives us a first-hand look at what it’s like to face off against Jason Momoa and the training involved.
A Match Made in Atlantis (3:12) is about the on-and-off screen chemistry shared between Momoa and Heard, as shown with behind-the-scenes footage and bloopers.
Atlantis Warfare (4:40) breaks down the epic finale with the visual effects and stunt departments.
Creating Undersea Creatures (7:15) shows the creative process of developing a galaxy of creatures that comprise the Seven Seas (kingdoms).
Aqua-Tech (5:42) follows James Wan as he uses both original and classic filmmaking tools to help push the boundaries.
Scene Study Breakdown (10:15) looks at three scenes: “Submarine Attack”, “Showdown in Sicily” and “The Trench”.
Kingdoms of the Seven Seas (6:59) – Dolph Lundgren hosts a tour of Atlantis following the earthquake that sank the kingdom and broke it into pieces, resulting in seven distinct and dangerous undersea regions.
All told these 12 featurettes total 1:36:47 and while it’d been nice to have one big documentary, I realize that’s difficult given the contracts with the talent, so this is the next best thing and each one gives a good glance at how the movie was made and, best of all, how some of the more memorable sequences were filmed.
Last up is a Sneak Peek (3:27) at DC’s next feature film, Shazam.
4K VIDEO – 4.75/5, BD VIDEO – 5.0/5
|I knew when I saw Aquaman in theaters this would look brilliant on both 4K UHD and I was not disappointed. The 2160p high-definition transfer looks absolutely fantastic, detail is incredibly sharp and colors are incredibly vibrant, especially noticeable during the Atlantis scenes, but also the detailed costumes from Arthur in his classic look to the greens in Mera’s form-fitting suit.
Now, the reason for the slight deduction is while the HDR was a great aid, there was one scene, when Arthur first meets Orm, the white environment appeared a bit washed out, something which was not present on the Blu-ray disc. This wasn’t anything terribly distracting, though not as egregious as it was on the Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.
As for the Blu-ray, the 1080p high-definition transfer also looks fantastic in its own right. Where sometimes the video can get in trouble is with the water where banding can be noticeable, not the case here, the color arrays smoothly flow from one to the next and detail was amazingly sharp throughout.
Note: A good portion of the movie is in the 1.78 aspect ratio for the IMAX shot scenes while the rest is in 2.40 AR.
AUDIO – 5.0/5
|Both the 4K Ultra HD and Blu-ray discs come with Dolby Atmos tracks and no real surprise here, this is an immersive (no pun intended) experience. The “underwater” sequences show off some great depth with every channel outputting the variety of ambient noises, dialogue coming via the center speaker is crisp and clear, and the action scenes pack a punch with the LFE channel giving the movie an extra kick, including the aforementioned final scene.|
OVERALL – 4.5/5
Aquaman is an outrageously fun superhero movie that might not break new ground in terms of story, it does introduce audiences to a relatively unexplored world. Jason Momoa, like Gal Gadot, was the perfect casting of a character that was once a joke. This 4K UHD/Blu-ray combo pack offers up excellent video/audio transfers and a good selection of bonus material.
The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.