Beautiful, Fun & Mindless. It's a Hoot!
“Atlanteans are many wonderful things, but forgiving is not one of them” so says Mera (Amber Heard), the gorgeous companion of Aquaman. Thus, we can see in dazzling effects how they go to war to protect their beloved Atlantis.
Jason Momoa, a man of moose-like proportions, bursts through his figure-enhancing costumes by the creative designer Kym Barrett to give little boys something to aspire to and little girls -- and some big ones -- romantic notions of what lies ahead. Momoa is a star who has risen to fame because of his low body fat ratio and his ultra-sized biceps, and not by an acting degree from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. Still, he’s a hero to look up to (he’s about 9 feet tall) and be intimidated by if you are his enemy. Momoa looks Samoan but is half Hawaiian and German.
Modestly, Momoa plays a character named Arthur who is a half breed. That is, his father (Michael Beach) is human and his mom, the luscious Nicole Kidman, is a Queen of Atlantis of the Deep Ocean Atlantis crowd. Well, stranger creatures have mated and we got some of nature’s wonders (anteater, anyone?). So, by the rules of royal accession to the throne, Arthur (Momoa’s earth name) is in line to become King of Atlantis, if only he can hurriedly dispatch his half-brother, who is now King Orm, who’s evil, of course, because we have to have someone to hiss at. So, the producers cast Patrick Wilson in the part of Orm. He’s blonde and looks enough like Kidman to be her son.
For some reasons, the evil Kings always want to overtake the world, the village, or the ocean floor in this case. Wilson does a good job of capturing that ambitious side of his character, so we immediately hate him. It’s inevitable that Arthur and he will clash about ruling the sunken Kingdom where every home is a waterfront property. Real estate must be pricey.
Gargantuan Arthur is just a modest guy and has no intention of becoming King of Atlantis. Mom has disappeared so that she can save his life. He’s just a toddler when she returns to Atlantis, and the boy grows up with his dad. When he’s a teen-ager he is played by Hawaiian model/actor Kekoa Kekumano, a handsome young lad of 19 who shows great promise. He got his start in small parts on the TV show “Hawaii Five-0.” He gets shown how to use battle weapons by Vulko, played by Willem Dafoe.
As Arthur is caught up in the machinations of Evil King Orm, the special effects kick in and we are treated to some of the most imaginative screen images ever produced by the geniuses of this electronic art. With all of the action taking place under water, the eye is delighted by sea creatures, plants bursting with explosive colors, rock formations and coral not seen in real life, plus the beautiful classical architecture of Atlantis. All of the whopping budget can be seen on the screen, and not a penny seems to have been wasted. Especially noteworthy is the effect of having the actors’ hair waver under water as it would naturally. It’s one of the most beautiful films ever seen.
The cast is good, with Amber Heard playing Mera, Aquaman’s sometime friend. She sports crimson red hair that makes Lucille Ball’s electric red-orange look dingy. Nice to see Dolph Lundgren as wise King Nereus. Actor Yaha Abdul-Mateen II is a frightening evil-doing character named Manta.
The writers have included a splash of humor, and the film is awash with opportunities for the actors to get wet with enthusiasm for their Aquarian friends. It’s fun, it’s mindless, it’s a hoot.
(Released by Warner Bros./ DC Comics and rated “PG-13” for sequences of sci-fi violence and action and for some language.)