AQUAMAN (director: James Wan; screenwriters: Will Beall/David Leslie/Johnson-McGoldrick/story: Geoff Johns, James Wan, Will Beall, based on characters from DC; Aquaman created by Paul Norris, Mort Weisinger; cinematographer: Don Burgess; editor: Kirk Morri; music: Rupert Gregson-Williams; cast: Jason Momoa (Arthur Curry/a.k.a. Aquaman), Amber Heard (Mera), Willem Dafoe (Vulko), Patrick Wilson (King Orm), Nicole Kidman (Atlanna), Dolph Lundgren (King Nereus), Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Manta), Temuera Morrison (Tom Curry), Ludi Lin (Captain), Michael Beach (Jesse), Randall Park (Dr. Stephen Shin), Graham McTavish (King Atlan); Runtime: 143; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Safran, Rob Cowan; Warner Bros. Pictures; 2018)
“It’s such a mess not even a fine performance by Jason Momoa as the shirtless and trident wielding good-ol’-superhero can rescue it from the bottom of the sea.”Reviewed by Dennis SchwartzAustralian horror maven James Wan (“Robotech”/”Saw”) directs the laborious sixth (Wonder Woman/Man of Steel/Batman v. Superman/Suicide Squad and Justice League), and one of the lesser films, in the ponderous DC Extended Universe movie franchise. This soggy and overlong blockbuster doesn’t get going until the final 20 minutes, which at least gives you something to savor. It’s such a mess not even a fine performance by Jason Momoa as the shirtless and trident wielding good-ol’-superhero can rescue it from the bottom of the sea. The story is by Geoff Johns and Wan, and is based on characters from DC; Aquaman is created by Paul Norris, Mort Weisinger. The screenplay is written by Will Beall, David Leslie and Johnson-McGoldrick. The original story tells the back story of Aquaman’s infancy and childhood, and his adventure to save the world. There’s a stunning visual beauty in the underwater shots, a psychedelic atmosphere that plays out well with the fantasy story and enough explosions to keep you awake, even if you start nodding off or tripping out.Arthur Curry, eventually becoming the multi-tattooed Aquaman (Jason Momoa), after being trained as a boy for that role by the underwater royal counsel, Vulko (Willem Dafoe). When Arthur learns as an adult that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, he returns as the reluctant savior. Aquaman is a half-breed, born to an Atlantean queen (Nicole Kidman) and a human lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison), who had a fling together in Amnesty Bay, Massachusetts, in 1985, when she mysteriously came out of the sea on a turf visit–which we see through flashbacks. When the queen is forced to return to Atlantis on personal business, she is executed. Meanwhile, her other son, the bad one, Orm (Patrick Wilson), is a nasty guy who takes the crown and picks a war with the polluting surface dwellers in his desire to unite all the undersea kingdoms under his corrupt rule of the mythical city of Atlantis. Arthur, while wondering if he belongs to the underwater or above water world, learns that only he can stop the war by usurping the throne and he goes underwater to fulfill his destiny. Before confronting Orm he must first work out a series of ancient puzzles and secure a powerful trident in the Sahara, which might only be a legend. An Atlantean redheaded princess, Mera (Amber Heard), the daughter of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), the one who called for his help, falls in love with Arthur and tours with him the seven underwater seas and on land goes with him to Sicily and the Sahara, to help him get the golden trident (from Arthurian legend) he needs to prove his legitimacy as king. One action sequence follows another, as do many lame quips and a tinny dialogue. Another villain is the Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II), a mercenary hired by Orm to kill the superhero, who must be on his toes to stay alive. The likeable Aquaman is more interested in drinking and having a good time than being a king, which endears him to viewers. All the hokum leads to the long awaited battle between the two brothers for the fate of the worlds – above and beneath the surface.
REVIEWED ON 12/1/2018 GRADE: C+
Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”
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