L&D continued our busy December with tickets for the late opening-night showing of Aquaman this past Thursday. Regular readers probably know that we don’t particularly like trailers and try to time our arrival right for when the Marcus Theater promotion hits the screen. This turned out to be something of a problem, as the building was locked when we arrived, and we had to wait a good five minutes before an errant customer finally exited the building, allowing us to get into the theater and to our seats during the opening aquarium scene starting around midnight.
Well, let’s just say that we probably would have been better off had we remained locked out the the building. The movie is spectacular and it is a spectacular mess. By 12:20 I was looking at my watch. At 12:45 I almost asked L if he wanted to leave. After that, I just kicked back in my recliner and got what I deserved from expecting more from a DC movie.
So what about all of those critics and fans who say this is a triumph? I’d say, yes, Jason Momoa plays the title character with gusto. And, yes, the underwater visuals are pretty “trippy.” Actually, the above-water visuals are pretty outstanding, too — I’m definitely up for a trip to the beach. And, yes, it is an action packed affair.
But, there’s always a big but…
This story? Really? It’s a combination of canned story (evil stepbrother, disputed line to the throne, quest for world domination) and make-believe backstory rubbish thick enough to make the writers of the Star Wars prequels blush. Even if there are seven kingdoms of Atlantis, do we have to visit all of them and have the evil stepbrother (Patrick Wilson) carry out a gratuitous execution followed by a series of explosions at every one of them? It’s like Thor and Loki meet Jar Jar Binks and Kylo Ren (Black Manta?). At least there were no annoying alien sidekicks in this one. Even the extra scene during the credits is a disappointment: that guy was mad before, but he’s really mad now. Sorry for that spoiler.
As for the acting, aside from Momoa, the script doesn’t really allow for much. L&D favorites Willem Dafoe and Nicole Kidman are both in the movie and both remarkably forgettable. Is that fun for them? Were they even in it? Or is it just a CGI recreation? Maybe we can ask next time they are in town.
What we are left with is $200 million in beautiful visuals and lots of drama-free action, and I just shake my head and wonder what could have been. It amazes me what some of the most talented people in the world choose to spend their time doing. The recommendation for this one is to keep your money in your pocket. On the other hand, “box office don’t lie!” But, in this case, it might be telling you a little bit of a fib.