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Monday, December 03, 2007

Aquaman: The Pilot DVD - 2007

sgOk, so I finally got around to viewing the late, lamented(?) Aquaman pilot film. I knew as soon as I heard it was being made available as part of some Smallville boxed sets, it would show up on ebay by itself. And of course, ebay didn't let me down.

The main complaint I've read about this is that "its not Aquaman." And in a lot of ways, those criticisms are correct--there's a huge of amount of differences between this Aquaman and the one we/most people know, but I think it matters what kind of "different" it is.

The Gene Hackman Lex Luthor was certainly very different from the one in the comics(at the time), yet I don't know too many people who complained--the movie Luthor was a murderous, vain genius who could face down Superman, so it seemed like the people who made the movie understood what Luthor represented in the Superman mythos.

Then there's Catwoman, the Halle Berry movie where you got the sense the producers didn't give a crap about the character or its fans; it was just a "property" to be mined for whatever bucks could be squeezed from it.

To my relief, I felt that Aquaman was much more the former; an attempt to take some of the basic elements of the Aquaman story(mother from Atlantis, can communicate with sea life) and turn it into a contemporary, ongoing series. Plus, all we ever got was the pilot, where of course the differences from the source material are that much more stark. Smallville seemed a pretty big reinvention of the wheel when it first debuted; after six seasons it's become almost a live-action Who's Who in the DC Universe.

Justin Hartley is pretty good as Arthur, Ving Rhames is a bit one-note as his mysterious mentor(but again, this was just the pilot), and of course(this being a show aimed for the WB audience) its filled with lots of eye candy for both sexes. It opens with Arthur being arrested--again--for freeing some dolphins from theme park captivity; a nice, humanistic touch that I thought lines up perfectly with the Aquaman most of us know.

The effects are pretty good--Arthur looks good swimming at superspeed, and a scene of him jumping out of the water onto a boat was suitably heroic. There's a backstory involving Atlantis that clearly would've provided the backbone for several seasons. And he occasionally dons a t-shirt/shorts combo made of orange and green, which made me smile every time I saw it.

While certainly no masterpiece, I thought it was a solid show and certainly deserved a chance(hey, if there's room for another season of One Tree Hill, there was room for this) to find its creative footing. If they had been a little more far-sighted, perhaps the struggling CW Network would now have a show poised to take over for Smallville and entertain its large, youthful audience. Good job, CW.

sgShameless Plug Department: I just updated
TreasuryComics.com, so for all you regular readers of the site(and you know who you are), please head over there and check it out!


Anonymous said...

Man.........I could have wept when I found out this series was canceled. It was a great, unparalleled chance to make Aquaman awesome in the public eye and wipe out the stigma of Super Friends.

When I downloaded it off of iTunes, I realized just how much of a tragedy it was. This series wasn't perfect, you already hit on some of its flaws, but it was a darn sight stronger than Smallville was when it first started. It had a really cool take on the whole Atlantis thing, and they set up a mystery that was had great potential. Even my wife, who is far from a comic fan, enjoyed this pilot!

At first I had hope that someone else would pick the show up.....but that seems more than a little unlikely at this late date.

Scurvy said...

Never was I so disapointed as I was when the carrot dangled by the CW was snatched away. Booo! Hisss!! ...oh well, at least I enjoy Smallville and love seeing Aquaman on there. Still, I think this show could have been great, and the writers could handle the character in a way that would make hime interesting to non-comic audiences. Plus it already seemed to have a large audience as evidenced by the public outcry of this show's shelving.

Luke said...

The main reason why Aquaman was not picked up is the merger of UPN and WB. Beyond the fact that it cut the broadcast hours in half, obviously, the fact that the Warners crew was basically squeezed out by Paramount meant that a lot of fare with WB origins was tossed, "Aquaman" included. Which sucks, but eh, what can you do?

Anonymous said...

I would have much rather seen him play Aquaman, but they did buy the Actor a career by making him the Green Arrow (minus the kick ass Goatee) I want Aquaman on the big screen kicking ass and taking names. Just have John Favreau direct it!