James Wan Says Aquaman Is Inspired By Star Wars, Spielberg And The Lord Of The Rings

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The DCEU could really use a bonafide hit right now. Wonder Woman is a distant memory and audiences are rightly doubtful about the franchise after Justice League. Fortunately, James Wan’s Aquaman seems like it might be just the thing.

Early reactions are calling it the best DC movie since The Dark Knight and it’s currently doing extremely well in advance ticket sales. I’ve been a bit skeptical for a while about whether the movie will be any good, but the most recent trailer looked promising. Not to mention that the prospect of Willem Dafoe riding some kind of armored battle shark is probably worth the ticket price alone.

Buoyed up by the positive buzz the film’s currently receiving, director James Wan has been diving into his inspirations for the pic, and in an interview with Empire, he said the following:

“This movie is my embrace of all the filmmakers I grew up loving; those sort of Spielberg-inspired wonderment movies from the ‘80s […] I finally get the chance to design some really fantastic worlds, the kind you’re used to seeing in Star Wars and Lord Of The Rings.”

Really getting into the nitty-gritty of a fantasy universe is a singular challenge for a filmmaker. He’s right to reference Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings movies as if you’ve watched any of the Making-Of features on the Extended Edition releases, your mind will boggle at the insane amount of detail WETA poured in, some of which was never and could never be seen on screen. Capturing that for the undersea kingdom of Atlantis should be key to making this fantastical world believable, and if we believe in it, it’s easier to care about the characters who live in it.

Despite all this though, I’m still on the fence. I mean, the signs right now are good, but studios are notorious for controlling who sees the film early and advance notices often praise the movie regardless of its actual quality. Plus – and I hate to admit it – it’s just difficult to get that excited about an Aquaman film. Still, I need to know if James Wan has pulled it off, so I’ll definitely be there opening night to find out.

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