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LEGO DC Comics Super Heroes: Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis
Before getting into Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis, I have a random story here, which I've scantly harkened back to in similar DC Comics/Lego/Warner collaboration efforts. My almost two-year old is a fan of Moana, and watched it a ton, to the point where instead of saying ‘TV' to request us turn it on, he says ‘Moana.' Recently though, I successfully weaned him onto stop action movies, specifically Wes Anderson stop action movies. So now he watches Isle of Dogs for the doggies, I watch it for the jokes. Viva parental trickery!
Anyway, Rage of Atlantiswas written by Jim Krieg, who has done work on animated films about Green Lantern and the Justice League in various efforts, and directed by Matt Peters, who did artwork for several animated Batman productions. Aquaman (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker, Space Jam) hosts a gathering in Atlantis for his Justice League compatriots. Aquaman's evil brother Ocean Master (Trevor Devall, Stargate Atlantis) sets up the meeting for an ambush that negates the League's superpowers by Atrocitus (Jonathan Adams, The Death of Superman), who wants to destroy the League. The League tries to fend off the attempt and rebuild trust between Aquaman and the other League members, as the King of Atlantis may not be as pure as people think.
I've felt when it gets to the Justice League, the peripheral characters really don't merit the time investment because cinematically the stories of the main characters are a little ham-handed, as far as recent installments go. So you're left with supporting characters whose stories are going to be told a little flawed from the start, whether Aquaman is Jason Momoa or a pile of computer generated bricks. To Baker's credit, he has fun with the role and tries to own it as much as possible, but the story starts flawed and doesn't break out from a formula that DC/Warner/Lego seem to think works at the moment; create a superhero environment with legos, add some jokes about the real-life environment somehow, and move on to the next. While it may be nice, and on occasion works, it's a flimsy structure that can get trite quickly.
A couple of the moments in Rage of Atlantis do have a laugh or two, and Baker has a J. Peterman confidence in his tenor that could be considered superhero-y. In this DC film, Green Lantern goes from being a man to a Latina (Cristina Milizia) who does fine with the role, so much so that this package comes with a Green Lantern collectible figure in shrink wrap, though in a hour-long production that wasn't all that memorable, she fell more into the list of things that have the fewest qualms about over Rage of Atlantis. Troy Baker, who voices Batman in a Will Arnett tone, is fine in making you hear this, and Nolan North (Pretty Little Liars), who does Superman, and Khary Payton (Astronaut: The Last Push) who does Cyborg, are all solid contributions to pre-existing work as well.
When these Lego superhero films work, like the big ones with Arnett and Chris Pratt, they work well, everyone goes for it and has fun. Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis feels more mandatory then indulging, despite the characters' attempt for otherwise, and the result of this Aquaman installment is probably going to be along the lines, if not better than, the live action one, which is scary on a couple of levels.The Blu-ray:
As a computer generated production, Rage of Atlantis doesn't disappoint. Colors look vivid and sharp, fine detail and textures are discernible and the image is devoid of haloing or artifacts. Black levels are fairly deep and the backgrounds have a slight multidimensional look to them. Warner doesn't do anything special with the film but doesn't really have to, and the results are fine.The Sound:
The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 lossless which does the work but doesn't really do anything to set itself apart from similar efforts. Dialogue sounds consistent through the feature, and the dynamic action of it (numerous explosions and various loud noises) include a bit of subwoofer engagement. There isn't much in the way of directional effects save for an Atlantis moment or two, and channel panning is also nonexistent or at the very most, unconvincing.The Extras:
Nary a thing.Final Thoughts:
If you're looking to entertain your child or children with an animated superhero film and you decide to put on Aquaman: Rage of Atlantis, I have to wonder about your parenting. Not because it's a bad movie, it's just not a good one, and what did you pass on before landing on this? The disc is good technically and the lack of extras unsurprising and disappointing. Try to con your kid into Wes Anderson films and you'll both laugh, believe me.