Aquaman Ocean Messages
For those who saw ‘Aquaman’, the eagerly anticipated Hollywood blockbuster, there were subtle references throughout hinting at human ignorance and their incessant polluting of the ocean. King Orm, the films lead antagonist is incensed that the humans have mistreated his ocean realm and unveils a plan to return the trash to whence it came. I’ll be honest, I related to the King. Not dissimilar to Killmonger, the villain in Black Panther, Orm has a valid point and as a member of the audience it is easy to agree with his ideals and actions to a certain degree. However, he was the villain of the movie, and was subsequently beaten by his brother, the land-dwelling, cliché hero. Justice, its seems not!
Hollywood has had its fair share of detrimental ocean themed movies however. Often responsible for demonising the creatures of the ocean, obvious examples including ‘Jaws’, ‘The Shallows’, ‘The Meg’ and ‘47 Metres Down’. The consequences of vicious shark attacks on screen have resulted in the culling and near eradication of some of the oceans most important apex predators. No country has experienced this more than Australia, infamous for its shark nets and culls. Unknowing to so many, the destruction of the shark has greatly impacted various other species on the food chain, creatures such as dolphins, turtles and reef fish that are so loved by billions.
It is with hope that Hollywood will begin to convey the ocean and its residents in a favourable light, however with many of the general publics desire for drama and violence, the shark is an easy villain to produce. Even in Finding Nemo, the light hearted animation, the sharks were almost portrayed in a positive light, that was until they became incensed and tried to kill the protagonists. It’s obvious that being a shark in Hollywood is not the most favourable position, and while many think its only a film, the impact on the real ocean food chain is evident and distressing.
There can be no doubt that Aquaman is a fun watch and gives young and old audiences alike an insight into the ocean world. Most scenes are mythical and far-fetched, yet can still create an appreciation of all things nautical. Asides from riding sharks, there is often a benefit to Hollywood representing the ocean. Inspiration is at the forefront of this importance. Witnessing sharks, whales and other creatures on the silver screen can stir an awakening inside many and a passion for the next generation to visit and care for the ocean. Conservation efforts and charities have been created directly through the efforts of the producers and actors that star in them, an undoubted positive. In a social media generation, 20-second instagram videos from the likes of Jason Momoa, Aquaman himself, have resonated with like-minded people. The star even spoke at the United Nations on climate change, Hollywood has certainly provided a platform for the environment.