Reviews

‘Aquaman’ Review

The newest entry into the DCEU is pretty shiny, but all that glitters is certainly not gold. One of the most imaginative and visually stunning movies of 2018. Aquaman is a ton of fun, but the movie lacks a solid foundation.

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Arthur Curry 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.


So, Arthur Curry, I hear you can talk to fish? For as long as I can remember, Aquaman has kind of been treated as a joke in the comic book world. People mostly thought he was a punchline and wasn’t really capable of doing much other than talking to fish. When Geoff Johns reinvented the character with his spectacular New 52 run in the comics, he managed to do something that really had done before him, he made Aquaman cool. In fact, it’s one of the best New 52 runs that you can read, and I highly recommend it, if you’re a fan of comic books. I say this because the new Aquaman movie is very much influenced by this run. When we first met Aquaman back in Justice League, Jason Momoa certainly was a scene stealer and people certainly wanted to see more of his character and especially Atlantis. We dive right into the sea and the lost city of Atlantis, but at the end of the day, I felt Aquaman lacked a solid foundation and at times felt like a big old mess.

When you go through the Rolodex of Hollywood stars, you will come across certain actors and actresses that people just want to see. No matter the movie, good or bad, audiences will come out in herds to watch them. Jason Momoa is now one of those stars. He has so much charisma, and he’s so likable, that it really makes disliking Aquaman a difficult task. James Wan’s Aquaman is so colorful, at times it reminds me of Avatar underwater, mixed with a little bit of Star Wars. This is a large scale movie, with incredible action-packed sequences. But when all of this stuff isn’t going on, it was hard for me to stay invested in Aquaman. It has one of the worst scripts for a super-hero movie that I can remember. There’s a clear difference between being a cheesy film and flat out having a piss-poor script. I understand what James Wan was going for, making this an over-the-top cheese-fest, but sometimes if you want to be taken seriously, especially after your title character has been a running joke, maybe that wasn’t the best way to go. For all the stuff I disliked, there was also a ton of good and a lot of building blocks for future installments.

Much like her co-star, Amber Heard is perfectly cast as Mera. She might not have the best material to work with at times, but she’s giving it her best, and her character is one of the coolest in all of the DCEU so far. In a movie about water, being able to control water is a unique thing to watch. Her chemistry with Momoa is great, and it’s what carries the whole movie. If these two were the stars of the show, this could have been something truly awful. But when your two stars are so damn likable and they fantastic on screen together, it will be the driving force behind your film. When you toss in two kick-ass villains with Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen), who I couldn’t finally wait to see on the big screen and King Orm (Patrick Wilson), who is always a treat to watch. Both of these baddies are top-tier DCEU villains, and I’m glad we got to see them on the big screen. It’s a shame we don’t get to see them share the screen together, but that will come in due time. My only complaint is the lack of actual Black Manta in the film. I thought his character design was damn near perfect, although I thought he needed a bigger helmet! In a world where comic-book villains can lack motive and in all honesty backstory, King Orm was a nice change of pace. I would almost say he is an anti-hero. His world, the oceans have been getting abused for over a century by the land, and well he’s sick of it. It’s not difficult to understand where he is coming from and why he would be so upset. Nicole Kidman as Queen Atlanna was again one of the best aspects of the film. Watching her kick so much ass was a surprise to see and at times pretty shocking. That is not the Kidman I know, so seeing her in this role and her execution was flawless.

When you decide to get out of the shallow end and dive deep into the vast oceans, you might have wished you brought a life-jacket. The entire story feels rushed and muddled and held together with wet tape. Even someone as talented as William DaFoe and the almighty Dolph Lundgren can’t save this film. I will say that Dolph Lundgren was so enjoyable to watch, and the scenes he was part of, were what I wanted the whole movie to be. Tonally, the film flip-flops so much, where it doesn’t know what it wants to be. One minute we have a tense and emotional action set piece, which is followed by Pit Bull singing Toto’s Africa. When a large movie like Aquaman can’t decide what it wants to be, the moviegoer will have a hard time figuring out how to react. At least that’s how I felt.

The DCEU has been a bumpy ride, to begin with, all sorts of missteps and shortcomings and now Aquaman, which will end up being the highest-grossing DCEU movie ever, says a lot about where we are within the DC Universe. Visually, this is what I wanted from Aquaman, I just wanted a little more meat on the bones. James Wan does hit a home run with all the visual spectacle going on, but I wish there was a little more detail to the plot and the story he was telling, then making things so bright and colorful. Because I’m getting to the point, where as much as I want something so beautiful to look at, I also want a great story to be told. That’s what separates the great comic-book movies to well the duds. This is not a dud, and I did have fun with it, but is it so hard to ask for a little bit more and more polished script? I still remain hopeful for the future DCEU movies, and I know they will take what worked with Aquaman and improve on what didn’t for the sequel. Jason Momoa shines as its star and we can all thank Zack Snyder for casting him in this role because it simply doesn’t work without him.

Check ya later.

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Aquaman = 66/100

Reviews

‘Baywatch’ Reviewย 

Not even The Rock or slow motion boobs, could save this heaping pile of hot garbage. What this movie needs, is a life jacket…

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Remember back in 2014, when 22 Jump Street hit theatres? Remember the running joke throughout the movie, where they insisted “to just do the exact same thing as last time?” Going into Seth Gordon’s Baywatch, I honestly thought it would be, The Rock + some boobs + the beach, and hopefully a 21/22 Jump Street vibe. Well we got Dwayne Johnson, that much is for certain, but everything else, not so much. I can’t begin to describe the utter mess this movie was. My god, just DO THE SAME THING JUMP STREET DID! Before I go on a tirade, I will say this, I’ll give the actors in this movie a lot of credit, they did what they could with the material they were given. It seems like they really had a lot of fun making Baywatch and seem to come together as a cast. The chemistry is terrific between these people, especially Dwayne and Zac Efron, but that really is the only good takeaway I had. It feels like Dwayne Johnson really mailed this one in folks, it’s a shame, because he still remains the most likeable movie star and person on planet Earth. 

Our story is pretty simple, Baywatch is a sinking ship, getting no money from the city and people are finding it harder to trust them to do their job properly. Leader of Baywatch, Mitch Buchannon (Dwayne Johnson) thinks that the city not only needs the watch, but they are doing a great job. When the head of Baywatch thinks they need a promotional boost and need to spice things up, he brings in outsider and two time Olympic Gold medal winner Matt Brody (Zac Efron). Joining Buchannon on his team, is CJ (Kelly Rohrbach ๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€) and Stephanie (Ilfenesh Hadera). It’s summer time and that means they are looking for new recruits, when Brody joins the team so does two new comers, Summer (Alexandra Daddario ๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€๐Ÿš€) and Ronnie (Jon Bass). Like I said above, this movies problem is not the cast, in fact I thought they all had such terriffic chemistry and worked really well together. It was pretty obvious from the very get-go, that Ronnie’s character was written and suppose to be Josh Gad. Jon Bass was okay, but that’s what I was thinking the entire time the movie went on, maybe he had a scheduling conflict, or read the script and bailed. When the team discovers that drugs are being smuggled into the city, they suspect it’s the head of the country club, Victoria Leeds (Priyanka Chopra). Brody thinks that this is a job for the police and refuses to help at first, thinking that being apart of Baywatch is just making sure people put on sunscreen and saving people from ocassionally drowning. Honestly not a whole lot happens throughout the movie, considering it almost clocks in at 2 hours, just a lot of filler. Mitch wants Brody to be a team player, and believe that being part of Baywatch is more than being a lifeguard. 

I understand this movie is based off the 90’s TV show, which was cheesy and kind of silly all on its own, so they needed a little revamp for the movie. Making it a raunchy rated R comedy really didn’t do it any favours. I was sitting in a decently crowded theatre and well no one was laughing…….Maybe here or there, but every joke was falling flat. Not good, considering this is a comedy. I’m all for a great dick joke, in fact I enjoy a good dick joke, but my god, I think 45 percent of the jokes in this movie were dick jokes. There’s even a real human dick in this movie. That’s never a good thing, especially when they are just limp, and not hitting. (dick joke!) Going in, I thought this was going to be a really funny movie, Dwayne Johnson can be really funny, but it just seemed like he mailed this one in big time. Actually I know he did, because there’s a 20 minute stretch where he’s just not in the movie. His heart just wasn’t in this one I don’t think, I know he’s a busy guy, but being gone for the majority of the third act is just never a good sign. I will say this about the movie, remember in Batman & Robin when all Arnold Schwarzenegger did was speak in ice puns? Well Dwayne Johnson really only speaks in ocean puns in this. I swear to god, he even blurts out “I’m oceanic mother fucker!” towards the end! What is that nonsense!? That’s all I could think of, was Mr. Freeze and how on Earth he agreed to this script. Still with all that being said, you loved his character, you were rooting for Mitch the entire movie, because it just goes to show, that people will literally watch anything with Dwayne Johnson in it. Here’s another thing, we had two cameos from the TV show, David Hasselhoof and Pamela Anderson, who actually doesn’t speak a word of dialogue which I found amussing. Here’s the kicker, so Hasselhoff is known as “the mentor” but his name is Mitch Buchannon, Dwayne Johnson’s name is Mitch Buchannon, and this movie takes place in the same universe as the television show. How is that possible? There’s just no way they have the same name, these are the little things that pissed me off while I watched the movie. There’s a little scene at the end, where Hoff asks if he will be in the sequel, sorry but there isn’t going to be any sequel my man (this movie bombed). 

So I knew this movie was going to be hot garbage almost immediately. The movie opens and we see Mitch running to go save someone, and when he pops out of the water with the person in his arms, BAYWATCH rises from the water and we also see dolphins dancing and doing flips in the background. It was so fake and cheesy that it just set the tone of the movie. That and the first lines of dialogue spoken need “subtitles” because they are like speaking in surfer. Baywatch tries hard to be cool, and it makes it less cool, they were one strapping it the entire time and we all know, it’s now cool to two strap it. Also, the effects and CGI in this are laughable, there’s a scene where a boat is on fire, and it’s the fakest looking fire I’ve ever seen. Like spend some money on these sorts of things, it makes the movie look even worse. That and they green-screened parts of the movie, where literally they are just on a boat in the water. ARE YOU KIDDING ME!! You couldn’t even be on a boat, in the actual water? It’s a joke, like it has to be a joke, right? Things like this don’t usually bother me, but the amount of edits that were happening in certain scenes, was incredible. I don’t usually notice this, because well I mostly watch good movies, but it was sticking out like a sore thumb, just overall terrible film making. Sometimes I can never understand how these things get made, I know, it’s got the worlds biggest movie star, but a little more effort would be appreciated. Oh, and they totally waste a perfectly good funny human being; Hannibal Buress. He doesn’t have anything funny to say, and he’s barley in it. He’s one of the funniest guys around right now and you completely wasted him, the movie needed more Hannibal. Speaking of being wasted, the talented Alexandra Daddario is pretty much in this movie to stand around and give reaction shots and facial expressions. They don’t give her anything to do, or funny to say, she’s just there. Kind of disappointing if you ask me, because she deserves better. One tiny bright spot, Yahya Abdul-Manteen who’s playing Black Manta (one of the coolest villains ever) in Aquaman was really funny in this. So that gave me even more hope for Aquaman and I think he’s going to rock it in that role! 

Overall Baywatch is just a mess. It has some of the worst writing for a summer blockbuster in a long time. This honestly felt like a Michael Bay movie, and I happen to think he can put out some good movies. The whole movie was just so predictable and I can’t even really remember one memorable moment, that didn’t invoke some sort of dick joke. They really messed this up, because with a great cast, this had success written all over it. Now I don’t see another coming, unless they really make good money overseas, but I highly doubt that. I wanna see Zac Efron in more things, he’s actually really funny and always finds a way to have great chemistry with his co-stars. I just hope this isn’t a sign of things to come with other properties Dwayne Johnson is rebooting, like Jumanji and Rampage. This summer movie season has kind of been a bummer so far, it’s making me sad. The only positive that comes from this, Zac has motivated me to get a real nice summer bod, so thanks for that Zac. 

Check ya later,

Nate’s Summer Movie Tour – Baywatch =51/100