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Waterworld (1995) Poster

(1995)

Goofs

Audio/visual unsynchronised 

Late in the film Mariner picks up a piece of paper from underwater to the distinct sound of dry crackling paper.
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Character error 

While the mariner is in the cage someone comes out to talk to him and his foot is clearly shown as webbed. However, when he climbs up on the gate to help open it there is a brief shot of his foot showing a normal foot.
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Continuity 

Mariner drops a sail on Helen, but the next shot of the boat shows both sails raised.
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When the Mariner ties a rope onto his leg at the end he is wearing boots but when he jumps off he is barefoot.
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When the trader comes aboard he says that he has two pages of paper. When the mariner begins looking through the tube he pulls out at least four pages.
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Helen's outfit turns from a leather top, Capri pants with a mesh covering, to just a mesh covering to seduce the mariner, back to the leather top/Capri/mesh thing then when the crazy drifter arrives, the Capris turn into a skirt.
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When the Mariner offers Enola the eyeball of the fish he has just caught the eye is no bigger than a human eye. Just seconds earlier we see him catch the monster and it is huge, it would obviously have large eyes. You can even briefly see its eyes and they are large and yellow.
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When Deacon is giving his speech to the masses on the oil tanker, the whiskey bottle at the beginning is virtually empty. However, later in his speech it appears half full.
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When Mariner first arrives at the atoll and is trading his dirt, he is told that it is 3.2 kilos (roughly 7lbs) and that they measure it as pure hydro. Even with receiving double the money as he demanded, that would have afforded him at most 2 gallons of water. As he is trying to leave he is seen with at least 5 gallons of water along with all the other items from the store.
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Deacon is talking to Enola and asks her if she wants a cigarette and says she is not too young to start. He lights his cigarette and it appears he has smoked half of it but when camera shots change it's bigger again.
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The sun continually changes position during the battle of the atoll, especially during the Mariner's escape sequence.
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When the balloon starts inflating it is already above the roof, yet after rising 30 feet, roof panels are broken out.
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During the seaplane attack, when the Mariner is trying to free the rope at the top of the mast, he pulls a Gurkha style kukhri knife to do so. He then puts it between his teeth, while trying to shoot the plane. It is still in his mouth as he is catapulted off the mast. However, when he surfaces, the knife is gone. He climbs aboard his boat, then takes the same knife out of its scabbard at his waist to cut the woman's hair.
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After the Mariner throws Enola off the boat, Helen runs past him to jump off the boat and simultaneously the Mariner gets up from the place where he sat. Again you can see him standing (in the right corner) in the next two shots on Helen jumping from the boat and on Enola shouting for help. Then in the following shot the mariner is still sitting in his "chair" and holding his aching cheek.
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When the Mariner is in the cage and Old Gregor is asking him about dry land, Gregor shows him a slip of paper with the dry land markings on it. The paper goes back and forth between being torn and intact between shots.
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After the after the Mariner and Drifter fight below deck, the drifter emerges and collapses on the netting. The next camera shot shows the Drifter on the boat's cross member and the Mariner kicks him over.
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When the line to the plane is released the Mariner has the bone gun, but it is gone as he is catapulted off.
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The size of the anchor that Mariner uses to slide down the cable.
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In the film when the mariner is escaping the atoll and turns the shoot to face Deacon's boat and Deacon shouts, "Charles!" his right hand moves from being cupped around his mouth to being down by his side in the next shot.
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Crew or equipment visible 

Support divers visible when Mariner is diving to the bottom of the ocean [widescreen only].
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Gas bubbles from breathing apparatus when Mariner is teaching the girl to swim.
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In extended version, right after shot when one of unfortunate jumping "smoker" fell on mariner sinking cage, another two jet ski jumping over atoll. Then jump another one ski jet, but is clearly visible, that jet ski is tied on hanging lines and drag in air over fighting atollers.
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Errors in geography 

When Mariner is leaving on the jet ski to rescue the little girl there is a mountain/cliff visible on the right.
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Land visible on the left-hand side of the screen, just before the smokers turn up.
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Factual errors 

If the icecaps melted, the oceans would only rise a few hundred feet; not enough to flood civilization into a floating oblivion.
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When they are escaping from the smokers (who had concealed their jet skis below water) the mariner fires a kite into the sky to increase the speed of his trimaran. However, the sails are clearly set to close haul, which means he is sailing "into" the wind (at 45 degrees). The kite would just get blown behind the boat and act as a drag.
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The Foley artists have used an incorrect sound for the aircraft's engine. The aircraft in the movie has a flat-4 engine, common to any Cesna type, but the sound used was taken from a radial engine typically found in WW2 aircraft (possibly to make it sound more "chuggy" or nostalgic).
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When the seaplane is tied to the Mariner's trimaran by the harpoon cable, it is forced to fly in an ever-decreasing circle around the boat. The seaplane pilot leans out and shoots back along the fuselage, trying to sever the cable - so his line of fire is a tangent to the circle. Yet the shot hits the trimaran sail close to the Mariner - at the centre of the circle! Very bad geometry!
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The map tattooed on Enola's back show the latitude and longitude of Dryland. In the absence of any orbiting GPS satellites, the only way to calculate one's longitude is to know the time at some standard longitude (such as the Greenwich Meridian) when it is local noon at one's current position. Since the world is now covered (almost) entirely by water, there are no standard geographical features against which to measure longitude, and no character in the film possesses any sort of clock. Nevertheless, the characters seem to have no difficulty using the map to find Dryland.
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While escaping the Smokers at the trading station Mariner heels the boat to raise one hull out of the water and escape the net. Both would need to be raised (impossible) to clear the net dragged by opposing sets of jet skis.
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Many of the jet skis shown in the movie have air cooled engines such as a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Not only would these engines never run after being submerged in water, they also would not work with a water-cooled impeller system that jet skis use.
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Deacon is a heavy smoker, therefore his teeth should be coated with cigarette stains, but if you look closely his teeth are white and clean.
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Miscellaneous 

When Helen is telling the Mariner about Enola, she describes her as a mirror - drawing what she sees. However, later in the movie, she is discussing with the Mariner whether or not dry land exists and describes various items on his boat including "that reflecting glass". How does she know to describe Enola as a mirror, yet is baffled by reflecting glass?
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The crude oil contained in The Smokers' tanker would not be able to power their boats, jet skis and other engines without refinement, or high octane required for the seaplane. It would stand to reason that The Smokers possessed the ability to minimally refine the crude oil so that it would run their engines, but not burn efficiently & smoke - giving them the name "Smokers".
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Because of the scarcity of fresh water, it is highly valued. This is clearly demonstrated very early in the film as the Mariner uses a device to purify his own urine to make it drinkable. One would assume that any device able to purify the salt and wastes from urine could be used to purify ocean water. This issue is addressed in the SciFi channel's extended broadcast in which the Mariner, Helen & Anola all contribute their urine for purification. Helen asks "why don't you use sea hydro?". The Mariner replies "The salt's harder on the filters"
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Judging from the trading scene between the Mariner and the crazy drifter, paper appears to be a highly rare and valuable commodity, and yet the Smokers burn large amounts of paper by smoking cigarettes. However, the Smokers are portrayed as pirates, who don't trade with anyone, just take by force, so their idea of material wealth is much different than that of the traders. In fact, the Smokers' technology and oil supply (not to mention alcohol) would be much more valuable than any amount of paper, had they decided to trade with others, instead of robbing them.
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Everyone on the tanker is smoking, even though there's no land to grow tobacco. There's a huge stash of pre-cataclysm cigarettes onboard.
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Throughout the movie the smokers use guns and a variety of machinery. It is entirely possible that they could have a very large cache of ammunition (ammunition keeps for many years properly stored), especially if they also have a large cache of cigarettes. Additionally, while the multitude of boats and other watercraft they launch from their "mother ship" is a bit far fetched, it is also plausible that they might have a shop inside that huge ship to maintain these craft.
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Plot holes 

Cigarettes have a shelf life of about a year or two depending on how they're stored. This movie takes place in the distant future so cigarettes should not be available at all and yet the Smokers not only have a lot of them but they even look fresh. The Smokers don't even have the technology or the means to make them or keep them fresh so they shouldn't have them at all.
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The Smokers are portrayed as pirates, but with their technology and crude oil, they could be the richest (and most powerful) people on the planet if they used that oil to distill sea water into fresh. The Smokers don't care about turning sea water into fresh water. They only care about getting to Dryland.
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Two sources of fresh water seem to have escaped everyone's notice in the film: solar distillation of sea water and rain water. It's hard to imagine that, with all the technology and gadgetry displayed in the various crafts in the film, the idea of solar distillation has escaped everyone. Also, no one seems to be trying to collect rain water. There's abundant sunlight and clouds are seen, so it must rain at some time, even if the action of the film takes place in an area with little rain, which is possible.
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Revealing mistakes 

The "rust holes" in the side of the supertanker are much too conveniently placed for the Mariner to easily climb into the hull. They also show obvious signs of being precision-cut with an oxy-acetylene or plasma cutter, not gradually and randomly corroded as they should be.
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When the Mariner rescues Enola just before the three jet-skis collide he leaps off the balloon with a rope around his ankles. Yet when he picks up the girl just in time he bounces back up as if he was on a bungee-rope. He wasn't attached to such a rope and therefore would just break his legs when the rope became taunt.
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At least twice, the point is made that the Mariner has webbed toes. Several times, though, the camera shows his feet and his toes are spread apart.
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When the seaplane shows up to capture the girl and the Mariner dives inside the hull of the boat to grab a gun, fog/misters can be seen on the wall next to him producing the 'smoke' from the gunfire of the plane.
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When Mariner first encounters the two Smokers (lime scene), they are on jet skis. As they start to chase him, the Smoker "hits the gas" with his LEFT hand, when the throttle on a jet ski is on the right side.
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After the 4 water ski jumpers go over the wall 2 more come out of no where and jump over the wall and another one (solo) smashes into the atoll wall. When we only see 4 total being pulled by the only airplane they have. So 7 water ski jumpers show up in less than 20 seconds at the atoll fight when there was only 4.
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Spoilers

The goof items below may give away important plot points.

Continuity 

The machine gun fire that destroys the Deacon's boat comes from a turret pivoting horizontally towards it; however, the bullets striking the waves as they approach the Deacon's boat contradict the turret's movement.
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Factual errors 

To show Helen what is below, Mariner puts her in a dome with air in it. First, the ballast needed to bring down this amount of air would have had to be much greater. Second, the air would have compressed to a fraction of the volume (they descended at least a few hundred feet), and Helen would not have been able to breathe. Furthermore, the Mariner (having gills) would have no reason to own an air dome already - especially with the current rarity of resources.
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Even if all the ice in the world melts, the ocean levels would rise only by a few hundred feet - not nearly enough to flood the continents as shown in the movie, or to force people to live on the water. Even though in the end of the film we learn that there is still some dry land, it is implied that this land is just the tip of the Mount Everest (see trivia), which means that the ocean levels had risen by several miles, and that is impossible.
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After being repaired, the Exxon Valdez was renamed the "Sea River Mediterranean," later shortened to "S/R Mediterranean," then to simply "Mediterranean".
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Incorrectly regarded as goofs 

The "smokers" ship is the Exxon Valdez, which had an unloaded displacement of 211,469 tons (214,862 metric tons). Oars would be completely useless as means of propulsion. However, the Deacon did say that the rowing was just a trick to distract the people from mutiny, not the means to get anywhere. This might imply that the oars were never meant to move the ship at all, which just drifted by the currents. This would fit well with the fact that the Smokers were duped by their leaders about lots of things.
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Revealing mistakes 

The scene where the Mariner takes Helen down in the glass dome to see the ruins: towards the end of the shot covering their initial descent the Mariner can just be seen letting go of the dome and returning to the surface.
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When the three jet skis are speeding towards each other, they explode before they touch.
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In order for the balloon near the end to hover only 100 feet above the water, the ballast must be very tightly controlled. When Enola falls into the water, her weight is removed from the balloon and it should quickly rise. No rise occurs.
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See also

Trivia | Crazy Credits | Quotes | Alternate Versions | Connections | Soundtracks

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