Action Adventure

4K Blu-ray Review: ‘Aquaman’ Takes Viewers on a Deep Dive into the DC Universe

April 4, 2019Ben MK

Much like Wonder Woman's crowd-pleasing first appearance in Batman v Superman, Aquaman's introduction in Justice League teased great things ahead for the character. But does the Atlantean hero's long-awaited standalone adventure have what it takes to endure the scrutiny and stormy waves of comic book fandom?

Enter Jason Momoa, who made more than just a mere splash when he first stepped into the boots of the "half-breed" Arthur Curry. Recruited by the Atlantean Princess Mera (Amber Heard) to stop Arthur's half-brother, King Orm (Patrick Wilson), from uniting the armies of Atlantis' seven disparate kingdoms in order to wage war, Arthur's ability to communicate with the creatures of the sea and to breathe underwater were what got him shunned as a child. However, now that he's a man, what makes him different is what makes him the only hope for preventing a deadly conflict between Earth's underwater kingdoms and the humans who dwell on land.

Throw in laser-wielding sharks, an Assassin's Creed-inspired rooftop pursuit, and a third-act battle that evokes an undersea version of The Lord of the Rings' most epic moments, and what you get is a film that oftentimes feels cheesy and tonally inconsistent. Yet, despite its shortcomings, Aquaman still manages to achieve the near-impossible — making its titular character cool — and that's something of a superheroic feat unto itself.

With its vibrant color palette, Aquaman boasts no shortage of ultra hi-def eye candy, and the King of the Seven Seas' 4K debut does not disappoint. From the depths of Atlantis, to the sprawling sand dunes of the Sahara, to a rustic Italian village by the ocean, image quality is consistently stellar, with the most spectacular visuals to be found in the film's action-packed final act. Throw in a fully immersive Dolby Atmos sound mix that truly leaves no seashell unturned, and there's literally nothing left to be desired from this technical presentation.

Warner's two-disc 4K release includes a digital copy and a Blu-ray copy of the film. There are no special features on the 4K disc, but the following extras can be found on the Blu-ray disc:

  • Becoming Aquaman (13:03) - A look at what Jason Momoa brings to the role, from the physicality to his larger-than-life personality.
  • Going Deep into the World of Aquaman (19:28) - A behind-the-scenes look at the production design, costume design, cinematography and stunts, from shooting practically wherever possible to the challenges of simulating underwater scenes with VFX.
  • James Wan: World Builder (7:42) - Director James Wan and Production Designer Bill Brzeski discuss the world of Atlantis that they created for the film.
  • The Dark Depths of Black Manta (6:39) - Actor Yahya Abdul-Mateen II gives viewers some insight into his character, from his comic book origins to the technology he wields.
  • Heroines of Atlantis (5:31) - A look at what Amber Heard and Nicole Kidman bring to their roles as Mera and Queen Atlanna.
  • Villainous Training (6:21) - Actors Patrick Wilson and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II discuss the physical preparation they underwent for their roles as King Orm and Black Manta.
  • A Match Made in Atlantis (3:12) - Jason Momoa and Amber Heard talk about their chemistry together.
  • Atlantis Warfare (4:40) - A look at the weapons wielded during the film's climactic battle sequence, from tridents, to guns, to the Atlantean armored suits and more.
  • Creating Undersea Creatures (7:15) - A look at the various creatures to be found in the film's seven underwater kingdoms, from seahorses and sea dragons, to sharks, tylosaurs and many more.
  • Aqua-Tech (5:42) - The filmmakers discuss the stage-of-the-art VFX technology used to make the film.
  • Scene Study Breakdown (10:15) - A behind-the-scenes look at the creation of three of the film's memorable scenes ("Submarine Attack," "Showdown in Sicily" and "The Trench").
  • Kingdoms of the Seven Seas (6:59) - Actor Dolph Lundgren gives viewers a rundown of the film's seven undersea kingdoms, from Atlantis to Xebel.
  • Shazam! Sneak Peek (3:27) - A brief featurette for the DC Universe's next film.

Aquaman is available from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment as of March 26th, 2019. The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray features English Dolby Atmos, English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, and English Dolby Digital 5.1 Descriptive Audio tracks. The film is presented with English SDH, French and Spanish subtitles. The total runtime is 2 hrs. 23 min.

* Reviewer's note: Portions of this Blu-ray review were adapted from my original review of the theatrical release, published on December 18th, 2018.

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