Thursday, July 26, 2018

"Aquaman" - trailer breakdown

By s. Thursday, July 26, 2018 ,

Yes, I know it's Thursday and by that time of the week you usually get very poorly written Sharp Objects recaps here on the Corner, but considering that Aquaman trailer dropped on Saturday and I have seen it about 1000 times already just be glad that I'm still alive (to the four people who actually read the recaps - I'll post it on Sunday).

God help us, I have thoughts about the trailer so here we go.

(click the images for ultra high res versions)

"My father was a lighthouse keeper, my mother was a Queen" - as we hear Jason Momoa give us the details of his background we see his father Thomas Curry (Temuera Morrison) finding Queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) near the lighthouse. Two things here - notice the exquisite detail of Queen Atlanna's costume. Also - next to her? That's Quindent. The weapon that belonged to her and that Arthur got from Mera in Justice League.

Lovely shot of Arthur's parents, Atlanna collecting the snow.

"You could unite our Worlds one day" - Atlanna whispers to newborn Arthur.

Arthur being bullied in Aquarium and one shark getting pissed off about it. Arthur's eyes changing color as all the sea creatures focus their attention on him. About the eyes - thank God that this is not the color of the lenses used in Justice League, but I'm still not loving it. There's no need to mess with perfection.

Aquaman swimming towards the submarine and going in. Jason Momoa, shirtless and wet turns around and says "Permission to come aboard". On behalf of all the women in the world allow me to say: we are all pregnant now.

"I have been looking for you. Your half brother king Orm is about to declare a war upon the surface world. The only way to stop this war is for you to take your rightful place as King"

Mera, played by Amber Heard, makes an appearance. Mera, who is engaged to Orm doesn't want bloodshed and wants to stop Orm in his quest to war. So she looks for Arthur, the son of Queen Atlanna. Atlanna, if Justice League is to be believed (is it?), took care of Mera when she was a girl. Mera wants Arthur to help her stop Orm.

Our first shot of Patrick Wilson's Orm, apparently armed with the strongest hair gel invented. This is what I think of when I see this shot. Fabulous.

Stunning shot of Orm's army facing King Nereus's army, we saw in promo pictures already.

The shot of some aquatic mayhem moving towards Arthur driving a car, with his unconscious father next to him.

A shot of Mera, Arthur and Thomas looking at what the trailer leads you to believe is Atlan (below) but it's not, it's from the scene of the waves coming towards Arthur's home. Mera will probably help them get out alive.

A shot of what I assume is King Atlan with the Trident that gives the power to control the seas. I imagine this is some sort of 'hologram' thingy, there is a sequence in the film where Mera and Arthur 'see' the history of Atlantis, so perhaps this is a shot from it.

"Trust me I'm no king". Oh, I disagree.

Arthur and Mera exploring something underneath the surface of the desert. "You do your best thinking when you are not thinking at all". Oh, Mera.

Jason Momoa getting to show off some of his great comedy skills - "That was the worst pep talk.....ever". He is also wearing his armor in which he will fight Orm. So that pep talk he is referring to is no doubt Mera telling him he will suck or get himself killed fighting Orm. Think Hope van Dyne and Scott Lang in Ant Man.

"You might wanna strap in! Welcome home". Classic trailer maneuver and epic reveal of Atlantis midway through the promo, while we look in awe much like Arthur does. Blade Runner underwater indeed.

Is that the super chill sea turtle from the poster? The one that is ignoring all the sharks and other deadly stuff and appears to be trying to get to Jason even though he may get slaughtered? Yes. That turtle is me.

"From director James Wan" - that's good strategy to advertise Wan's name, we need all the goodwill we can possibly get here.

"My brother has come from the surface to challenge me for the Throne!" - Patrick Wilson's line delivery is insane. He is actually the MVP of that trailer. There's also weapons colliding and Orm doing a little Trident twirl. What a diva! Also Jason has a battle ponytail. Respect the battle ponytail!

The crowd in Atlantis going wild.

Arthur lifting the submarine. No CGI here, guys. That's just how Jason rolls in his spare time.

Arthur underwater "I'm no leader. I came because I have no choice". We also see younger Arthur being trained by Vulko (Willem Dafoe, gettin' all that cash money and doing CBM again).

"I came to save my home and the people that I love" - a stunning shot of Mera in Italy. Mera is gonna have a series of 'fish out of water' moments, including an adorable one here in this sequence which causes Arthur to smile. I'll spoil nothing but I will just say - roses.

A shot of Arthur reunited with his dad.

Queen Atlanna kissing Arthur goodbye.

Glimpses of the sequence in which James Wan will get to show off his horror skills - Arthur and Mera on a boat getting attacked by The Trench, nasty and vicious sea creatures. Arthur and Mera hold a flare and dive into the ocean with the creatures following them.

Mera giving Arthur another pep talk - "You think you're unworthy to lead because you're of two different worlds.... but this is exactly why you ARE worthy".

Our first look at Arthur's nemesis - Black Manta.

The Fisherman King, ruler of one of the kingdoms.

Arthur and Mera swimming somewhere, most likely sneaking in to talk to Vulko in secret? (we saw them with Vulko in a promo still released by EW, with James Wan next to them).

Black Manta and some goons (that's as specific as I can be) chasing Arthur and Mera in Italy. The sequence was shown in extended trailer for Hall H in greater detail and apparently it is awesome as hell.

Sharks and sea dragons!

Orm engaging in some epic activities underwater. RIP that Crab creature. "The war is coming to the surface...and I am bringing the wrath of the Seven Seas with me" chillingly delivered by Wilson.

Mera jumping out of the plane without parachute with the pilot - played by James Wan's BFF Leigh Whannell being mortified. Arthur says "redheads, you gotta love'em!" and jumps after Mera. Also - look at that goat doing a double take. Amazing.

I loved the trailer. But could it be better? Yes. There are some shots here, thrown in just to show off how fun and cool the film is, so this trailer is more of an ad than a work of art that trailers can sometimes be. That shot of Arthur and Mera swimming next to shipwreck and Fisherman King add absolutely nothing to the audience's understanding of what the film is about, but that's OK. I did like the music choice here, I liked how they used a lot of humor and that awesome hint at romance between Mera and Arthur with him looking at her like that.

The effects are unfinished yet - it's 5 months till the premiere. There is absolutely no way to speed up the release of the film. They will be working on it until it premieres. Some shots lack a bit of '3D' quality to them and look flat (close ups of sharks and sea horses) but they won't when the film is finished. To me it looks like there are only two shots in the trailer that I'm 100% sure are finished - the first shot of city in Atlantis and the wide shot of Mera and Arthur jumping into the ocean as The Trench is descending after then, I saw the trailer in ultra HD and the level of detail in these two shots is so amazing, particularly that Atlanis shot - there is so much happening you need to pause it to appreciate it all.

I said before that with the bad rep DC films have now and the trailer being delayed - it was supposed to drop when EW did a cover story on the film. I was under impression Wan was making a whole new trailer for us but what we saw was slightly edited CinemaCon trailer - it needs to be the best trailer ever. Well.... I think if Wan had his way we wouldn't see the trailer for few more months. He isn't a guy who likes showing unfinished work. You can tell how intensely they are still working on underwater sequences because for the film that reportedly takes 2/3 of it underwater the trailer features a LOT of moments on land, most heavily focusing on the scene where Manta is chasing Mera and Arthur and Mera and Arthur are on their quest. So this was an impossible situation - either the studio does a big thing for Comic Con and shows footage with unfinished effects causing worse reaction than we would get otherwise OR the studio waits few more weeks to show footage that is closer to being complete but delays the marketing for the movie that needs a lot of marketing. Also WB played itself with that Godzilla trailer. That thing was so well done there was no way Aquaman can win the spotlight fight.

Still, I think the trailer did well. They threw a lot at people to interest them and if the next trailers and promos are going to be better and better there is no reason to worry. On one hand the general audience really doesn't care that  much about flawless special effects. Hell, some of the people I talked to (I have been polling about this trailer excessively, it's a mystery to me that I remain unblocked and unmurdered) didn't even realize they are still working on the effects. The thing is that the one thing Aquaman has other films don't is the setting and to show off this setting the effects must be flawless and for them to be flawless Wan and his crew need more time. You see the problem?

Hopefully, in December, as there is snow on the streets or, in case of here in Poland, hellish mud and dog feces everywhere, we will all want nothing more than to go to the cinema and spend 2,5h with Jason Momoa in his underwater Kingdom and get super wet.

All puns intended.


  1. Awesome post! It was fun to read all of the scenes where I didn't quite know what was going on (like who Willem Dafoe will be playing etc), but that's mostly 'cause I'm quite new to Aquaman. I basically just saw Jason, Nicole, and Amber, and was like I'M IN. I couldn't tell the special effects were unfinished, and they look amazing. In my post, I said I'm not the most loyal DC fan but I always want the best for them and the fans. I hope they're able to work out everything in time from the marketing to the effects. I know I'll be seeing it in December. :)


    1. Dafoe is his teacher who trained Arthur when he was younger. He also has some crazy bun going on but I think whatever Wilson's hairstyle is here is just gonna get all the attention - that thing is insane lol There are so many people whining about CGI online, my God. Someone compared it to Green Lantern and I almost pulled Ron Swanson and threw my PC out of the window. Almost :D

      Amber is so beautiful it's practically outrageous.

  2. I think the trailer did really well to be honest. I know inevitably it's going to get a lot of comparisons to Black Panther (which isn't the movie's fault, the comics are similiar in a way) but I loved how Atlantis looked.

    I also love Wan's name in big letters because they really need to advertise that Snyder didn't have his hands anywhere in this lol.

    1. I knew people will compare it to BP as soon as I read there is ritual combat scene. As soon as I read it I was like "there go "RIP OFF!" shouts!". You know, like BP invented scenes like that ^^

      Of course Snyder fans still shout that he cast Jason in the role. Like if this film is successful that's all to Snyder's credit when it's Wan working super hard on it and doing his best and it will be practically all his doing. I swear no one gets as much praise for casting as Snyder.

  3. Great post! Just like Katy, I enjoyed reading it because I'm not very familiar with Aquaman and I didn't really know what was going on in some scenes. The special effects look amazing to me but I watched the trailer on my phone (it has so much better colours than my computer) so I can't really judge that.

    Also, let's make "We are the turtle" a thing haha

    Thank god we "only" have to wait until Sunday for the recap of Sharp Objects. I started to think we would never get it

    1. Thank you! ON YOUR PHONE? My God I had my face practically right there few inches from my 43' TV set.

      We really should. That turtle is my hero.

      Good God people actually wait for this garbage I write? :D

    2. I rewatched it on the computer multiple times but it wasn't as beautiful :(

      lol I do! I love your recaps!

    3. Sounds like you watched it wrong.

      did you pray to Jason before clicking play? :)

  4. Awesome post! I'm hesitant to get too hyped up but Wonder Woman was amazing so I have to admit I'm getting excited.
    Funny story - my Step Dad actually saw Jason Momoa in London last year. He did this double take because he knew that he knew who Momoa was but couldn't place him. Apparently Momoa gave him this funny smile and was gone before my Step Dad worked it out!

    1. Jesus Christ so many people in our blogospere met him or know someone who met him! He just teleports all over the place blessing people with his appearance doesnt he

      I would not survive

  5. This will probably be a good flick. I am not a fan of Wan at all, apart from Saw 1. Hopefully he does something different - I hope this flick will hit hard.

    1. Does hitting ladies' ovaries hard count? :D

  6. The trench scene stood out to me, looks reall cool. I was wondering about the effects, because they did seem a bit off. I'm glad they're going with a different aesthetic, I really dislike the dark and rainy DC world, it's too fake where it should feel real.

    Oh boy I smiled like an idiot at "permission to come aboard", that man makes everything sound dirty. 😂 You are so going to die in that screening.

    1. Seriously. If that line is an indication of the shit he will say in this movie....I'm so not making it out alive.