Before seeing Aquaman, I referred to this song as “Pitbull’s Toto’s ‘Africa’.” After witnessing Aquaman, I now understand “Ocean to Ocean” for what it truly is: the love theme from Aquaman. After exiting the theater, my companion and I listened to it for an hour straight in the car on repeat. If this were the '90s and single CDs were sold for many dollars in stores, I would pony up immediately.
“Ocean to Ocean” functions as an index to the whole of the film. It is big. It is ridiculous (and purposefully so, according to director James Wan). It references Tupac and the Great Gatsby in the same breath. It asks you to push past your discomfort and embrace this big, brawny fun action film with open arms. If you don’t like “Ocean to Ocean,” you won’t like Aquaman. And you might not like having fun?
Just hearing Mr. Worldwide’s signature trill as your brain tries to process “wait, I think these are the opening strains of ‘Africa’, a song I know very well” is like sinking into a beanbag chair while trying to mosh; it is both comforting, exciting, and thrillingly disconcerting. Adapting Aquaman to live-action has always been plagued with accusations of “Well, it would look silly!” Aquaman solves that problem by running full tilt to the degree that several third act revelations could serve as the climax of their own film and you, the viewer, will barely blink.
In fact, the only thing wrong with Aquaman is that “Ocean to Ocean” does not play over the end credits for ten straight minutes. But that’s okay. That’s what single song Spotify playlists are for.