According to Jason Momoa, the underwater scenes in next year’s Aquaman will be akin to outer space battles. Both Justice League and Aquaman will do something that even the best CGI struggled with just a few years ago: create believable underwater environments and action sequences. What’s more, bringing Atlantis to life onscreen will also require a number of more traditional character moments to be realized in an aquatic environment; something both director Zack Snyder and James Wan probably struggled with at times.
Justice League‘s underwater scenes have only made brief appearances in the film’s trailers and TV spots, so it remains to be seen how well they work in motion. Aquaman, by comparison, will devote considerably more of its runtime to these moments. Wan has said that he tried to use lots of practical effects in his DC movie, by using specialized rigs and cameras to create the underwater scenes (leaving additional effects, like hair movement, to be added during post-production). For Momoa, Wan’s film will not only illuminate Aquaman as a character, but provide audiences with a new type of spectacle.
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EW spoke with Momoa about his character in both Aquaman and Justice League, and the actor explained why Wan’s film will be especially unique:
“You just get the time to understand who he is. That’s the beauty of the origin. You get to see where he grew up, how he was treated. There’s gonna be huge battle scenes underwater that feel like you’re in space!”
Aquaman will take place in a location closer to home than space, but one that’s even less explored. Add in all the creatures, the water itself, and the fictional Atlantis, and the movie will certainly look like few films before it. Beyond the setting, however, Aquaman will also explore Arthur Curry as a character. The solo film will follow the events of Justice League, but Momoa had indicated that Aquaman will actually span most of the title character’s life. When explaining why Curry is in Iceland as Justice League opens, Momoa had this to say:
“We just don’t know all the reasons why. What made him want to run away, to be away. And I think that’s what we find in Aquaman, in the solo movie. You gonna find out why he is the way that he is, and why he’s wandered so far away.”
While DC movies have used flashbacks before, it could be that a large amount of Aquaman actually travels to the past to see Arthur Curry grow up as a child of two worlds. In fact, it’s that outside perspective that originally attracted Momoa to the role:
“When Zack was creating the character, he really wanted this Outlaw Josey Wales type, someone who’s the outsider. He wasn’t really accepted on land, and not really accepted in Atlantis. That was kind of an interesting thing for me with this character. I could relate to it, coming from Iowa and being Hawaiian.”
There’s no denying that Momoa’s Aquaman will be quite different from the traditional comic book version, but his real-life experiences walking between two cultures should help to make his take on Arthur Curry all the more compelling. Add what are sure to be some breathtaking underwater scenes, and Aquaman could prove to be yet another hit movie for the DC live-action cinematic universe.