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The DC live-action universe is currently on a major high note, in direct juxtaposition with the shared universe's rocky start. While movies like Justice League and Suicide Squad failed to live up to expectations, the studio is surfing the massive success of James Wan's Aquaman. The movie has broken box office records, while also providing DC with its second critical success, following Wonder Woman.
Aquaman is notable for its outstanding visuals, as James Wan did the impossible with his underwater sequences, with the myriad Atlantean characters given the appearance of weightlessness through extensive wire work and CGI. And now Titanic director James Cameron has given his two cents on Aquaman's underwater scenes, saying:
I think it’s great fun. It’s a movie I never could have made. You know? Truthfully, I never could have made that film because it requires this total, dreamlike disconnection from any sense of physics or reality. It exists in a kind of, somewhere between a Greek mythic landscape and a fairytale landscape. People just kind of zoom around underwater because they propel themselves mentally I guess? I don’t know! But it’s cool, you buy it on its own terms.
Despite his experience working with underwater scenes, James Cameron admits he could never have pulled Aquaman off. Mainly because he doesn't have the cognitive dissonance required to make those sequences function.
James Cameron does have a point, as Aquaman largely functioned outside the rules of reality. Instead, James Wan didn't overthink things, and allowed the superhero flick to ignore things like physics. For instance, Atlanteans swim without having to move their arms or legs, and are somehow able to speak underwater. Its these disconnections from reality that seem to intrigue and/or infuriate Cameron.
In his same conversation with Yahoo, James Cameron went on to explain how the unrealistic underwater action took him out of Aquaman as an audience member. As he tells it,
I’ve spent thousands of hours underwater. I’m very literal about my underwater. It needs to look like it’s real. And while I can enjoy that film, I don’t resonate with it because it doesn’t look real. And by the way it doesn’t help us with our issues of actually understanding the ocean, exploring the ocean and preserving the ocean. They do throw in a couple of things with like whales and things like that to remind us we’re using the ocean as a toilet, a garbage dump. So, I applaud the film for that absolutely.
While James Cameron seems to have some points of contention for Aquaman, there are parts of James Wan's blockbuster that he did enjoy. Namely, the plot point about Ocean pollution, with Patrick Stewart's Oceanmaster using his powers to wash the garbage back onto the surface.
Do you agree with James Cameron's Aquaman criticism? Sound off in the comments below. In the meantime, check out our 2019 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.