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‘Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom’ 4K UHD (Blu-ray review)

Warner Bros.

 

The almighty sequel.

What happens when a movie makes so much money that when a follow-up is forced into production it’s literally for no other reason than to not leave money on the table?

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom is the perfect example of when a movie just has to be made, but nobody has a good idea. So instead of pumping the brakes, actually thinking about it, they cobble together ideas from a bunch of other movies, use tired, trite storylines and bore the audience for the better part of two hours while mixing a bunch of CGI action sequences, manufactured conflict and unsatisfying resolution.

Here’s another little failure of films like this. The visual innovation doesn’t have the same impact it did originally.

In the first Aquaman, star Jason Momoa’s flowing locks swirling around his head as he poses majestically underwater were a compelling visual that captured the attention and looked super cool. This time… I mean, we’ve already seen it.

It’s still cool, but never the same.

This film also wastes the brilliantly funny Randall Park. I mean, if you’re going to cast him as the sort of comic relief scientist who sort of unwittingly helps the bad guy sort of awaken the conceptually worse villain than actually LET HIM BE FUNNY! Use him?  You don’t think he’s good?  Watch Always Be My Maybe and then tell me he couldn’t have done a lot more to help the film. Instead he was generally relegated to a speaking prop. It was another disappointment in a pretty disappointing film.

Also, when are we going to address human bad guys with an almost limitless supply of hench-people?

I mean, it’s easy to understand why Black Manta wants to kill Aquaman.

Yahya Abdel-Mateen II is actually pretty good as the heartbroken angry son seeking revenge. If he read the whole script it’s pretty likely he didn’t have to fake his anger. What’s kind of baffling is why all the other people signed on?  There really wasn’t anything in it for them except helping the boss get revenge.

Literally the only film I can recall ever dealing with the baffling motivations of the baddies was Live Free or Die Hard. At one point Bruce Willis says to Timothy Olyphant, “You got to be running out of bad guys by now, don’t you?  Where did you get these guys, 1-900-Henchman?”  By the way, that line is 100x more entertaining than anything you’ll see in The Lost Kingdom.

They try really hard to make Aquaman into Thor in this movie. The soundtrack usage was transparent and more annoying than complementary. The funny parts aren’t particularly funny. The hope for reconciliation between brothers is generally earnest and sweet, but it’s mired so deeply in the nonsense plot it loses any of its impact.

Also, if we are going to have an Aquaman movie, can we keep AQUAMAN IN THE WATER FOR MOST OF THE MOVIE PLEASE??? I know the water effects are expensive, but his powers are water powers for the most part. Maybe we just reboot it with Adrian Grenier, the way it should have been made to begin with. (That’s a deep cut Entourage reference for the uninitiated

The cast is good. They just didn’t have a lot to work with here and that is the big problem with this film. The effects were good, but not eye opening. That actually may be cynicism on my part, but I expect seamless, mind blowing effects in my superhero movies and I think a lot of other people do too, so when we don’t get them, it has an impact on overall enjoyment.

Extras include several featurettes.

Look, if you have two plus hours to kill on a rainy Saturday, you get sweaty for Momoa, and are a DC Comics fan, go ahead and give it a watch.

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