Filmmaker James Wan has not been shy about his displeasure at learning that Aquaman didn’t make the Academy’s shortlist for the Best Visual Effects Oscar, and now you can see for yourself all the hard work that went into bringing the DC film to life. In many ways, Aquaman is DC’s biggest VFX challenge thus far, as much of the film takes place underwater. Zack Snyder attempted to tease a bit of how that might work in Justice League, but Wan and his team hit upon a few different key ways to create the illusion that Jason Momoa and Co. were hanging out and talking underwater.
Probably the biggest revelation from this Aquaman VFX reel is how they created the hair. As it turns out, they didn’t use wind machines or anything like that—the hair on the cast’s heads underwater was completely digital, and the actors filmed their scenes completely dry with their hair tied down. I knew there was some VFX element to the hair while watching the movie, but had no idea it was this extensive.
It’s also nice to see some of the impressive practical sets that were built for many of the scenes, even though they also involved extensive blue screen for the backgrounds. And while I found the film itself to be underwhelming, the visual effects and artistry of bringing the underwater worlds of Aquaman to life were undoubtedly impressive. I have no idea why the Academy chose to snub the film from the shortlist.
Check out the Aquaman VFX reel below, and click here to catch up on all of our Aquaman coverage thus far.