ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Now, in an era of high-budget fan-made films of The Punisher, Nightwing and even Batman fighting Darth Vader, there's no shortage of high-quality superhero fare coming out of the super-engaged fan community. Back in the '80s, though, it was a different story. Before the rise of digital, film-making was a costly and extremely complex endeavor - which makes the achievement of two intrepid UCLA film students - Thomas Farr and Jeff Klein - way back in 1984 all the more impressive.

Y'see, the pair not only managed to make a twenty-minute long live-action Aquaman short on a budget of only $10,000 - of their own money - but actually managed to make one that's legitimately fantastic.

Sure, it's closer in tone to the Super Friends than to the Jason Momoa-starring Aquaman movie we'll be seeing in a year or so - but in a whole lot of ways, that's precisely why it's so awesome.

You can check it out for yourself below, or keep right on going for a breakdown of the short's nine greatest moments:


For anyone reading this without access to video, though - here're some of the greatest moments:

1. The Animated Opening Sequence...

Though, in fairness, animated is a loose term there.

2. ...Featuring Jacques Cousteau

Who threatens to spank a crew-member for failing to film Aquaman.

3. Magnificently Awkward Flirting

Which, since Aquaman just had his head in a fish-tank, was definitely intentional.

4. The Full-Blown Costume...Underwater!

Because otherwise, he just wouldn't be Aquaman. Also, bonus points for not updating the costume.

5. The Villain

Otherwise known as 'The Angler,' who's clearly loosely based on classic Aquaman villain The Fisherman - but who makes the list due to this classic exchange about him:

"Didn't he put 30 Great White Sharks in the Great Salt Lake?"
"He held the Mormon Tabernacle Choir hostage for two days before we could stop him."

6. A Man Being Attacked by a Starfish

I honestly don't need to add anything to that sentence.

7. Surprisingly Good SFX

Including an excellent 'jump.'

8. This...

Yup, he totally lifts a guy up by the crotch.

And, of course:

9. The Dangling Ending


The even better part, though?

It Was Totally DC Approved - and Was Almost Made Into a Series

As its co-director Thomas Farr put it:

"Jeff Klein and I made this during film school for 10 grand. We won Best Fantasy Film from the Los Angeles Film Teachers Association and Best Picture CSUN Film Showcase. DC Comics gave us permission to shoot the film (Thanks Jenette Kahn DC Comics 1979-2002).
"The movie was pirated and sold as a TV pilot. I accidentally found it at a comic book convention in the 90's (as a double feature with another super hero pilot). After the film was screened we had a few Hollywood companies approach us wanting to make Aquaman into a show. New World Pictures brought us into meeting, optioned the material, and basically didn't talk to us afterwards. The show never happened."

Which, quite frankly, is freaking awesome.

Nicely played, Farr and Klein. Nicely played...

via Geek Tyrant


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