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AQUAMAN

SYNOPSIS:
Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) learns that he is the heir to the underwater kingdom of Atlantis, and must step forward to lead his people and be a hero to the world.

Review by Louise Keller:
Visually spectacular with an exquisite aqua colour palette, the film is an inventive and immersive underwater fantasy firmly anchored by its larger than life star, Jason Momoa. As the heroic Aquaman, Momoa is so darned likeable, while his rippling tattooed physique leaves no doubt as to his brute strength. His long wavy hair drifts like shafts of seaweed swaying with the tide. As for that booming voice, it seems to reverberate from the depth of the ocean.

At the helm is Australian director James Wan (Saw, 2004), who skillfully choreographs the underwater ballet in which tridents preside, as winged seahorses gallop, cloaks flow, giant turtles and other exotic sea creatures swim in a wonderland of sheer beauty punctuated by futuristic structures. With its themes of jealousy, courage, bravery and loyalty, Aquaman dazzles. It is action packed entertainment, complete with generous doses of humour and a dash of romance.

It is 1985 in Maine when the backstory begins: the meeting between different worlds. Tom the lighthouse keeper (Temuera Morrison) discovers Atlanna (Nicole Kidman, having great fun), Queen of Atlantis, who could be a beautiful selkie - at the end of the dock. Their courtship is hilarious. 'Don't eat my dog,' Tom tells his new guest after she swallows his goldfish. Then along comes their love child, Arthur, who eventually becomes... Aquaman.

We dive headlong into the ocean for the main event - a struggle of jealousy and struggle for power to rule Atlantis. Patrick Wilson is suitably nasty as Arthur's misguided half brother Kim Orm and Dolph Lundgren is fine as King Nereus. I like Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Arthur's ally, who trains him as a boy for the role that awaits him. The flash back sequences morph beautifully into the present and we get a real sense of life and the world at the bottom of the sea. I struggled occasionally to make out the dialogue - it sounds waterlogged and Rupert Gregson-Williams grand score is cranked up loudly.

Amber Herd is striking as the titan-haired Mera. The first kiss between Mera and Arthur, with swirls of hair dancing with the currents, is seen in its 360 degree glory. It is what you might call underwater romantic. Watch out for the wonderful sequence in Sicily, when we learn that knowing your history pays off. There is a lovely use of Roy Orbison's She's a Mystery to Me, as Mera learns the ways of the surface world by eating red roses.

The action keeps flowing and becomes foreplay for the finale - the long awaited confrontation between the two brothers and the determination of the fate of the worlds - above and bemeath the surface.

I thoroughly enjoyed this cinematically rich fantasy - and the light touch of its superstar hero, Jason Momoa, who makes Aquaman into an experience you will want to have.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

AQUAMAN (M)
(Aus, US, 2018)

CAST: Jason Momoa, Amber Heard, Willem Dafoe, Patrick Wilson, Nicole Kidman, Dolph Lundgren, Yahya Abdul-Mateen, Temuera Morrison

PRODUCER: Rob Cowan, Peter Safran

DIRECTOR: James Wan

SCRIPT: David Leslie Johnson-McGoldrick, Will Beall

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Don Burgess

EDITOR: Kirk M. Morri

MUSIC: Rupert Gregson-Williams

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Bill Brzeski

RUNNING TIME: 143 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: December 26, 2018







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