Aquaman Mera 16-bit scene
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Credit: John Stratman

Aquaman scene recreated in 16-bit animation washes over like a wave of nostalgia

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Mar 6, 2019

One of the biggest set pieces in Aquaman has received the 16-bit animation treatment from John Stratman, who has tackled films like Avengers: Infinity War and Star Wars: The Last Jedi in the past. He also did Aquaman's first trailer back in August.

The scene in question finds Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) and Mera (Amber Heard) in Sicily, attempting to track down the Trident of Atlan, when they're attacked by Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) and a couple of Atlantean cronies. What ensues is an epic chase across old-fashioned Italian rooftops with lasers flying all over the place.

"This scene was a great candidate because it had a lot going on," Stratman exclusively tells SYFY WIRE. "The scale of the chase scene and the action happening at multiple places at once."

Watch the animation below, which includes a side-by-side comparison with the live-action footage at the end.

Stratman turned the scene into a piece of retro gaming via the use of Adobe After Effects and Paint.net, the latter being a program that allows a person to create the pixelated visuals that so characterized the classic video games of the past.

"Compared to other scenes in the movie, it doesn't use too many characters," the animator adds. "It has half a dozen characters at most. The most appealing thing about it is the distance the characters cover and how the chase goes on top of rooftops and inside buildings at the same time."

That animator also provided SYFY WIRE with this exclusive look at the map constructed for the second half of the video. Check it out below:

Aquaman 16-bit animation map

Credit: John Stratman

"I had to build the village as the chase went on," he says. "Figuring out the logistics was a challenge. At one point, I zoomed out and realized that the character positions didn't make complete sense."

The film netted more than $1 billion at the global box office to become the highest-grossing DC movie of all time. Naturally, a sequel is already in the works (arriving in 2022), as is a horror-based spinoff about the Kingdom of the Trench.

Directed by James Wan, Aquaman is now available to watch on digital platforms, and will dive onto DVD and Blu-ray on March 26.


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