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Not nearly as bad as everyone says...
Chromium_51 February 2005
"Waterworld" is one of those movies that everyone would rather passively make fun of rather than take the time to watch. This is unfortunate, because it really is a good movie. Sure, it's borrowing a lot from "Mad Max," but it's not like "Mad Max" was original fare to begin with. It's an interesting take on the genre, with some nice sets and costumes, a great soundtrack, and the coolest boat to ever appear on a movie screen. The script has thoughtfully and intricately worked out a new way of life in a post-apocalyptic world, and the supposed "plot holes" aren't as big as everyone makes them out to be (OK, we never really find out why dirt is so important in the future; so what? Is that enough to ruin the whole movie?).

If anything brings it down, it's Kevin Costner's performance. The brooding, gloomy hero shtick works, but he's still far too serious for a movie like this. If he'd had the good sense to be a little more tongue-in-cheek, it would have helped a LOT. Still, it's not a bad movie by any means, and I really think all the negativity toward it is unnecessary. Enough with all the complaining... just sit back and enjoy it!

8/10 stars.
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NOT the worst movie ever made
reporterman20009 September 2003
I want the Costner bashers to sit down and watch "Rebirth of the Mothra III" on Sci-Fi Channel some time. Then they'll know that they have seen the worst movie ever made.

"Waterworld" is an escapist fantasy/action picture, not unlike the James Bond and Indiana Jones pictures. Costner's performance works on exactly the same level as the Connery/Moore/Brosnan portrayals of 007 and Harrison Ford's portrayal of Indy -- straightforward, grim, stoic, a little mean-spirited, a little cruel, unafraid of dirt, grime, death, or salt water.

It's not perfect by any means. I'm sure Costner hacked it to pieces in order to accommodate the two-hour-running-time maxim imposed by the studio, so that corporate could get their investment back. Now is the time for the extended DVD version; maybe that will explain where all those cigarettes came from, and how the Smokers converted raw crude into gasoline.

7 out of 10. Costner bashers should get over themselves and start giving Michael Bay and George Lucas what they deserve.
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Why do people hate this film?
CuriosityKilledShawn6 March 2004
Warning: Spoilers
I honestly don't understand what all the fuss is about. Why do people hate Waterworld? Why was it instantly disregarded before it was even released? When you really think about it, how much different IS Waterworld from the more recent Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest? They are quite similar if you think about it. Waterworld also cost $75 million less than DMC. But because it has Johnny Depp in mascara the whole world loves it! Hypocrisy! With a lot of behind the scenes trouble (Reynolds walked off the film and Costner had to finish the final third of filming himself) and negative pre-release buzz, everyone expected Waterworld to fail. Boasting a budget of £175 million (the most expensive ever until Titanic 2 years later) it was sure to be a flop, especially with the snooty public and critics blasting it before its release. Then, the unthinkable happened.

Upon release, Waterworld actually managed to prove critic expectation wrong and be a good movie, receiving good (albeit ignored) reviews and finally earning a grand total of $255 million at the Box Office. This is before video, laserdisc, TV, DVD, HD-DVD and Blu Ray sales as well as all of the merchandise. Does sound like a flop to you? The plot is far-fetched. Yes, but so are the POTC plots involving fish-men, giant squids and Orlando Bloom as anything remotely masculine. But you accepted that quite easily. So just, for a minute, believe that if the polar ice caps DID melt that the world WOULD be covered in water. Set hundreds of years after this particular cataclysm, Waterworld follows the journey of The Mariner (Kevin Costner, who is only referred to a few times but never actually named), a man who is one step beyond human as he has the ability to breathe underwater and has webbed feet.

Early on in the movie, The Mariner comes across an Atoll, a floating small town complete with its own hill...er Waterbillies. When the Atoll is seized by crazed madman baddie boss Dennis Hopper as The Duke of the Deez (as in Exxon Valdeez), The Mariner escapes with Enola, a little girl who may hold the secret of Dryland and her guardian Helen (the totally gorgeous Jeanne Tripplehorn). Not happy with anyone leaving the party The Duke sends his army of filthy smokers to catch The Mariner and discover Dryland for himself.

Waterworld has a lot going for it. It's everything an action/sci-fi movie should be. There is so much escapism in the stunning seascapes and tropical feel. James Newton Howard's exotic score (replacing a rejected score by Mark Isham) is breathtaking and I seriously recommend you hunt down the soundtrack CD. The action is almost entirely special effects and stunt-work and it's brilliantly done. The editing is also quite impressive as is the amazing sound design. Waterworld is far superior to many, more expensive action films but still carries this burden of negative, unfair public opinion.

I have only ever seen the 136-minute cut of Waterworld that was released into cinemas and subsequent VHS etc. But a Director's Cut of 176 minutes has been shown on TV in America several times. This version apparently restores several scenes that tie up loose ends and answers a lot of questions about how the this particular watery future works as well as revealing that Dryland is actually Mount Everest. Other than TV airings, this version has never made available to the public. Which is quite annoying as there is a huge fanbase for it.

Don't have prejudices against this movie. Think different and see for yourself how cool it is.
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Not bad at all
dale.launer@gte.net29 January 2005
I just had to disagree with the first guy who thought it was simply awful. This is a big budget movie and it looks it. There are a number of metaphors going on in this story - maybe too many. But it really has a MaxMax on the Water feel to it. It's actually pretty fun and like the Mad Max movies - doesn't take itself too seriously.

This was one of those movies that just got creamed by the press because they get very upset when movies cost a lot and in their minds - too much.

Also - Costner was becoming a very big star - and the press loves to buildup stars and once their huge, they love to tear them down. This was a tear down.

Heaven's Gate wasn't awful - but just too slow. This movie isn't awful either, and neither is it slow. And if you're a motorhead - its extra fun. Dennis Hopper chews up the scenery like a famished dinosaur and he's so much fun he makes Kevin's character look a little under-written.
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Waterworld may not have fulfilled its premise, but it's still great fun.
Li-123 July 2003
*** out of ****

Sort of like a Mad Max meets Indiana Jones set on a planet-wide ocean, Waterworld hit theaters back in 1995 with a surprisingly decent critical reception but unforgiving responses from the masses, resulting in a domestic box office tally just north of half of the movie's infamouse 175 million dollar budget. Ever since, there's been quite a bit of debate over whether the film earned money back on its huge production costs (naturally, the movie's detractors say no, while the fans say yes, and it was a hit overseas and on video).

I'm actually surprised Waterworld bombed as it did in the U.S., given that audiences (myself included) have a predilection for big, dumb, blockbuster fun. Hey, there's got to be an explanation for why Jerry Bruckheimer is cinema's most powerful producer. And it's not as if though word-of-mouth after the premiere killed the movie (Waterworld actually showed very good legs at the box office, considering its somewhat meager opening weekend).

I think part of the critical lashes stems from its budget, which led people to believe this movie would be a flop no matter what. I've even heard plenty of complaints from people that never every buck appeared to be on-screen. These days, you never hear such complaints because movies almost as expensive as Waterworld are becoming commonplace, which annoys me in that most blockbusters these days are packed with CGI as Waterworld was not, thus inevitably it had to be about as expensive as it was (filmed on the water, sinking sets, tough conditions, it's a miracle the movie was even finished).

As most everyone knows, Waterworld takes place sometime in the unspecified future where the Earth has been covered by water from the melted icecaps. Kevin Costner stars as the Mariner, a Mad Max-ish loner on the ocean who's boat boasts an impressive array of sails and devices. An opening scene introduces us to the deadly lifestyle of the open sea, with "pirates" ready to plunder and murder to get what they want.

The Mariner arrives at an atoll (a very large trading post) to trade, encounters some trouble when he refuses to stay behind and impregnate a young woman, and is thus imprisoned (and also discovered to be part fish, it turns out he's got gill slits behind his ears and he's got webbed feet). Just as he's to be executed, he's saved when "pirates" called the Smokers invade the atoll looking for a girl who apparently has a map tatooed on her back that leads the way to the mythical Dryland (whether or not such a myth existed before the girl is unknown). So said girl and her foster mother (Jeanne Tripplehorn) save the Mariner, who promises to take them with him. But being a loner, he doesn't appreciate their company. Meanwhile, the Smokers continue their hunt for the girl to continue the search for Dryland.

Even though Waterworld has a great, if also entirely implausible, premise and a fun story, it's not driven by its script. Written by David Twohy (the genius responsible for sci-fi greats The Arrival and Pitch Black), he shows none of the ear for dialogue he displayed in those aformentioned thrillers. Inconsistency abounds in the atoller's lifestyles, as well as their beliefs. No one (except for the Mariner) is aware that there's ground below the water, but they never seem to question where dirt-which is a rare commodity-comes from. The movie's got all sorts of little problems along those lines, but I don't think they're really worth mentioning.

What makes the movie worth watching is the adventure. The movie's all about the search for Dryland, and the journey for it is an exciting and thrilling one. Spectacular action sequences abound, from large-scale battle sequences to boat chases. In fact, the action is the movie's highlight. Director Kevin Reynolds' has an eye for staging and filming fight scenes and gun battles, delivering all this action with plenty of high-energy flair and virtuoso stunts. The attack on the atoll, an eleven-minute setpiece, was 1995's second most thrilling action sequence (right behind the Battle of Stirling Bridge in Braveheart). Also equally thrilling is the climactic battle aboard the Smokers' tanker, which displays some of the largest pyrotechnics I've ever seen.

To give the adventure an extra boost, the film gives a genuine attempt at character development and actually comes off not half-bad. Kevin Costner's basically aping Mel Gibson with his own rendition of Mad Max, and while playing a part man/part fish is pretty ridiculous, I'd have to say he's quite sincere and convincing in the role. I'm not the world's biggest Costner fan, but I'll be the first in line to say he's sorely underrated as an actor. Tina Majorino is a bit annoying as the cute girl, and I find it rather baffling that her character has Chinese characters tattooed on her back, even though she's clearly caucasian. Dennis Hopper is a hell of a lot of fun as the Deacon, head of the Smokers, playing his role as both villain and comic relief (he even gets in a priceless scene with a fake eye). But faring best of all is the gorgeous Jeanne Tripplehorn as the requisite love interest. I've always been a big fan of hers, and while I wouldn't call this a great performance, she's full of energy and vitality as the tough, strong-willed heroine who doesn't give in to demands so easily.

One of Waterworld's biggest flaws is the generally cheesy acting from the supporting cast. Most everyone in this movie has a different accent (except for the leads, of course, who are distinctly American), which I assume was meant to give the flavoring of variety, but it makes the delivery of the already silly dialogue twice as silly.

That problem aside, I found myself perfectly open to Waterworld's invigorating action and adventure. There was a lengthier version shown on network TV in the film's broadcast premiere, which I thought made improvements on both plot and pacing (the theatrical release runs a fast-paced 136 minutes, and I think the network version is actually almost forty minutes longer). Wish I'd taped it, but hopefully it'll end up as a special edition release on DVD.
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harrios3 February 2019
Back in the day, it was cool to say this was a bad film. But watch it now. It's class
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Far From The Awful Movie People Make It Out To Be
slightlymad2226 August 2016
Continuing my plan to watch every Kevin Costner movie in order, I come to Waterworld.

One of the most controversial movies in KC's filmography. Simply because it had the stigma of being the most expensive movie ever produced at the time. A snip by modern standards at $175 million. Universal initially authorized a budget of $100 million, but production costs eventually ran it up to to an estimated $175 million, with KC putting $22 million of his own money into the film, just as he did with Dances With Wolves.

Plot In A Paragraph: In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is entirely submerged, The Mariner (KC) reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.

KC reunites with Fandango and Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves director Kevin Reynolds for what should be a slam dunk for the pair of them, but with troubled production from the off, the film was plagued by a series of cost overruns and production setbacks. The script underwent 36 different drafts which involved six different writers, including Joss Whedon who flew out to Hawaii to work on it, he later described it as "seven weeks of hell". Sets were destroyed (The Atoll actually sank too) by three hurricanes, KC, his stuntman, Jeanne Tripplehorn and Tina Majorino (who was also drunk by jellyfish repeatedly too) all nearly drowned.

All of that,and then throw in leading man KC's whose marriage fell apart during filming, and when Wyatt Earp opened to empty turnstiles to become his second (third if you count The War) box office disappointment in a row, the critics were gunning for him. Writing that after great success, he was finished, and on his way out. They made out, at 40, he was an ageing gunslinger (think KC would approve of the western metaphor) hearing the footsteps of younger faster trigger men named Will Smith, Jim Carrey, Tom Hanks and Leo Dicaprio.

I know i'm in the minority here along with an ever increasing circle of people who actually enjoy this very under rated movie. I don't think it's fan bias, when I say Waterworld is a thoroughly enjoyable summer popcorn flick, all the performances are good, the action set pieces are impressive and it has a good sense of atmosphere too. Whilst I always end up humming James Newton Howard's score for a while after I have watched it too.

It's not perfect by any means. Locking director Reynolds out of the editing room, KC hacked it to pieces in order to accommodate the two-hour-running-time maxim imposed by the studio, so that corporate could get their investment back.

I'm in the process of trying to track down a fan-edit of the film called Waterworld: Ulysses Cut, which includes all of the deleted scenes. The additional scenes tie up several loose ends left ambiguous by the theatrical release.

Even with all of the above, and opening a week before guaranteed money maker Die Hard With A Vengeance, Waterworld ended the year the 12th highest grossing movie of 1995, with a domestic gross of $88 million.

KC bashers should get over themselves, and start giving George Lucas what he deserves.
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One of the greatest apocalyptic movies ever made
timo-reichert-9319 September 2016
Warning: Spoilers
(I don't really think that I spoiler anything, but I just wanted to make sure)

I love apocalyptic movies - I really do. It is the extreme contrast to our current reality which makes them so interesting. So this was a plus on watching "Waterworld".

I've watched Waterworld for the first time about 10 years ago and whenever I think back I have a good feeling about the movie. That's why I watched it again in 2016. And boy - it didn't disappoint.

The story as an apocalyptic movie is great, but the atmosphere is exceptional well done and gripping.

As for the acting goes - I'm not really an expert in it even though I've watched a lot of movies in my 23 years - but I had the feeling that it was superb.

But what I really liked about Waterworld is the connection between Mariner (Kevin Costner) and the little kid. Mariner who became very coldhearted, egoistic and skeptical to other humans through his ruff time on the water for many years, learns to trust and even developed feelings/emotion for other human-beings through his interaction with the little girl. He is the typical "hard shell,soft core"-man.

Last but not least - "older" movies - around 1985-2005 (Lethal Weapons, Rush Hour etc etc) have this realistic feeling/vibe which I really miss on current blockbusters. They all look too much enhanced through CGI.
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sadly overlooked
geoffbeneze4 March 2008
it's a shame so many people spent their time running their mouths rather than watching the movie.

The story isn't new (what story is?) but its' well done, BIG color, BIG scenes,a touch of serious, a touch of humor, clear cut good guy, clear cut BAD guys with a few "grey guys" thrown in the middle.

Costner is always a variable. When the right script hits, no one is better, otherwise it's pretty much a monotone.

FORTUNATELY, this is the kind of script where the dead pan, monosyllabic Good Guy works just fine.

It's a shame the "experts" (i.e. the critics who create nothing) trashed this one. Even if it were the worst movie ever made, Costner would have been contributing more the "creative world" than ANY critic will in their entire lives. geoff beneze
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One of my all time favorites-stimulating to watch the incredible props and great actors.
margmclane20 April 2005
I can see this again and again. Music score- wonderful! Reminds me of Thomas Newman's style, (Road to Perdition) but not him. He's got the sound of happy water down! My favorite part is the ingenious mechanisms used on the big boat/ catamaran type, the workings of the atoll-so creative. There are many lines & terms that stand out for me...." not for sale, not for sale?!" "This wee orchard" is a 1-lemon bush-tree in a pot. Tina Majorino, here a small girl, is a strong, memorable character. Her bond with the main character, the mariner, gives one a good feeling, one of hope about what's possible for the "walking wounded" among us. Dennis Hooper uses his voice to the max, to bring so much interest and color into the picture. The society on the big tanker makes me continue to wonder, to stretch - what would really happen, what would people be like, after generations had gone by, and overcrowding was a problem. Great actors, all. Interesting plot, cool props. Makes one think, laugh, wonder.

RE: All the junk I've heard about this movie, and it's lack of promotion - I think its the non-viewers that have lost out.
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First Rate Action, Adventure Movie Set In One Of The Most Unique Places Ever
85122213 September 2016
Greetings from Lithuania.

I always liked "Waterworld" (1995), despite of its cult classic status of one of the most unsuccessful movies ever. You have to give a credit to those who envisioned and created this movie simply for the concept - how many movies have ever been made completely in the sea (which you can literally feel in every scene) and with this budget, which was the biggest at the time? How many movies have sets THIS good?

Sure, "Waterworld" has some flaws (who doesn't?), and the biggest of them for me was always the main villain. As good as Dennis Hopper is, he was misused in this movie, and he doesn't even hint at being sinister - he is just way, WAY over the top in every scene, and most of his lines felt flat. And that's the only weak point in this amazingly looking action flick.

Overall, "Waterworld" is a superb action, adventure sci-fi flick set in absolutely unique place (even to this day). It has amazing production values, great action scenes, super cool Kevin Costner and a great MacGuffin (a way of setting a story). Still, a great flick.
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Underrated action movie with some very funny scenes
smlewis-13 July 2004
There is no point going through this film and trying to make all the science fit. The scientific fact has been stretched to breaking point. I found this a very enjoyable experience with some of the best comic strip bad guys in any movie. Costner plays a likable, although traditional, nomadic hero taking care of no 1. Fortunately, there isn't really a love element in the film to spoil it too much. This film has numerous memorable scenes that verge on the hysterical including the oars coming out of the oil tanker, the dropping of the match into the oil tanker and Costner's bungie jump to save the girl. Great stuff. I can't wait for the producers to make a sequel.
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spectacular, mad max on water
tanmarktx28 September 2003
"thanks" to some false news reports about people walking out on this great movie during prerelease screenings and about the sinking of the set, it was doomed before it was released this is not a "Citizen Kane" or a "Das Boot", obviously, but it's an extremely entertaining movie with a great story and awesome shots the same movie with someone other than Kevin Costner would have made 3 times the money. to bad peoples ill feelings towards Costner, didnt let them enjoy this movie
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lots of action, little reality
helpless_dancer25 March 1999
This is an unpopular movie, and I don't see why it is so. Admittedly, it is unbelievable, but so are James Bond films. There was enough action in this one to keep thriller buffs going all the way through. Costner did a good job portraying a lonely vagabond in a crazy, violent world. Dennis Hopper, as usual, was an effective villain; he kept me laughing all the way with his insane antics, and his stupid henchmen. I have to wonder, however, if the full nude shot of the girl was really the actress I had been watching. With clothes on, she didn't look all that well endowed. Not a bad movie, really.
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Absolutely Fantastic!
jcdugger13 October 2000
Warning: Spoilers
I heard so much bad press about this movie (including user comments on this site) that I put off seeing it until late 1999. Boy do I feel like an idiot for not seeing it sooner and/or at the theater! At home, the movie looks wonderful - I can't even imagine seeing how beautiful it would have been on the silver screen. If you like science fiction like Planet of the Apes and The Postman (another great movie for "End of Civilization" movie lovers like myself), then you'll love this one. Waterworld had a great sci-fi story, a great cast with great performances, challenging movie-making, and most importantly: it makes you think "what if this cataclysmic event happened?"...What would the world be like? Just a great movie.

If you are the type who wants your movies to fit like a puzzle, one piece by one piece until you can understand and see everything, then this probably isn't the movie for you. For example, if you liked Speed II, you probably won't dig this movie. If you liked Scream, then you might need to seek help - and you probably wouldn't like this movie either. But if you like to be challenged as a movie-goer, and you are a deep thinker, this one is for you. It is visually stunning as well.

This movie ranks as one of my top 100 favorite movies of all time. A classic if you ask me! :)

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strange but good
cat_casse5 November 2001
I found the entire movie held my interest. Maybe it is just because I'm a sucker for strange movies. I dont know if it was the plot so much that kept me watching, but I think it had a lot to do with the atmosphere. It made me think and wonder about a lot and that's the kind of movies I enjoy.
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Not all washed up
Ms H19 February 1999
I only just saw this movie for the first time the other day and was surprised that it was pretty good, because I had heard so many bad things about it. From now on, I will not be taking public opinion so seriously and will watch anything with a promising premise and good actors.

Tina Majorino was, as always, (see "When A Man Loves A Woman" and Corrina, Corrina") believable. It amazes me how many tears this child can summon and I still believe each one of them.

Kevin Costner wasn't really anything special. I had just seen The Postman the week before (which prompted me to watch Waterworld), and he seemed to me to be the same character. I could go on and on about comparisons, but I'll leave it at that. Although, I have to let you know there was a strange deja-vu thing happening between plot points and character developments.

Jeanne Tripplehorn was quite convincing. I thought their tans were all apt considering the habitat of the characters, but a bit overdone.

The most disappointing thing for me was how the film turned from a unique, (pre-Postman) fairly intelligent plot into a typical action film with explosions and chases. There were explosions toward the beginning that were a little overdone, but I felt they were necessary to introduce us to the Smokers and to Dennis Hopper's character. This film could have turned out quite well, if the last few scenes were completely re-written.
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One of those Movies
nowego11 May 2017
This is one of those movies you will either love with a passion or do the opposite and hate with a passion, there is not much in between.

If you are a Kevin Costner fan, which admittedly I am, you will love it. The addition of Dennis Hopper doing his thing just adds to the fun of the movie, and it is fun if you keep and open mind.

There is lots of blood and guts, action, explosions and gun fire, but it is fun as well with many laugh out loud moments.

This is a movie I have been able to watch over and over, it just does that for me and the list of movies that do that for me is not overly long.

From what I have read, this was a critical failure, well that can be said for a lot of movies crapped on by critics. It does't mean it is a bad movie.

One of my rules I have adopted is, if it is a critical failure it will in all probability be something worth watching.

7/10 for me, easy to give it higher, but 7 will do.
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How to boil water
lwjoslin25 September 2002
Recipe for "Waterworld":

1) Take "The Road Warrior." Add water.

2) Replace Mel Gibson with Kevin Costner (which would be about like removing Errol Flynn from "Robin Hood" and replacing him with... well, Kevin Costner).

3) Give the Feral Kid a sex change operation and some manners, taking care to swap his lethal boomerang for a box of crayons.

4) Take the Gyro Captain out of his copter and put him into a balloon.

5) Stir in generous but subtle portions of liberal eco-propaganda: without using the term "global warming," have it understood that the world is flooded because of something awful "the ancients" did.

6) Add a dash of oil by making the villains a marauding gang of oilmongers living in a certain famous oil tanker.

7) Add a simultaneously anti-religious AND anti-technological zest by making sure the villains' leader (Dennis Hopper) has a pseudo-religious name (the Deacon) and gives "sermons" about "progress" and "development."

8) Add a smoky flavor by calling the villains "Smokers," not only because of their use of speedboats and jet-skis, but because of their consumption of cigarettes, which were Clinton's drug menace du jour at the time. (Exactly where these cigarettes come from, in a submerged world where no tobacco grows and paper is viewed with awe, is anybody's guess.)

9) Finally, add a pinch of Oriental spice by having the tattoo-map to Dryland rendered in Asian ideographic characters--another implied rebuff to "evil" Western culture.

10) Set oven temperature to 450 degrees and incinerate $175 million.
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kirbylee70-599-52617917 January 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I was one of those rare people it seems in 1995 when WATERWORLD was released to theaters. I saw the trailer and looked forward to it. The internet hadn't taken over yet so bashing the film was limited to the press and shows like ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT. All they could seem to focus on was the expense of making the film. They were calling it a train wreck before anyone had even seen it. I ignored it and went to the theater to see the film and loved every minute of it. But before I get into all that what is the movie about?

In the future the ice caps have melted and the world is now covered in water. A lone mariner (Kevin Costner) sails the seas in his trimaran looking for items to trade at various atolls that exists, bonded together ships and such where groups of people live and continue to try and survive. Sailing the seas as well are "smokers", pirates who raid and kill to take what they want. He escapes one of these groups and heads out to trade.

The atoll he comes across seems safe enough. The people there exist, use their dead to renew their fertilizer pit and dream of a world called Dryland. He trades the most precious commodity there is for chits, dry soil. Taking his chits he goes to the nearby store and meets Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and her little girl Enola (Tina Majorino). A group of townspeople question him and angry at his responses notice that he has gills; the Mariner is a mutant, able to swim underwater. They capture and cage him, deciding he must die.

But before that can happen smokers attack the atoll. They're searching for a girl one of their spies learned about. That girl is Enola and she has a special tattoo on her back, one that is supposed to be the map to Dryland. A battle follows and Helen's friend Gregor (Michael Jeter) escapes in a balloon he made but is unable to rescue Helen and Enola. Seeing him as her only way out, she releases the Mariner and boards his trimaran and the three escape.

The leader of the smokers is Deacon (Dennis Hopper) who is wounded during the escape losing an eye. He now not only wants the girl with the map but revenge for his loss. And he will do anything in his power to find the Mariner and his passengers.

Nice set up, eh? So much more happens including the interactions between the Mariner and his passengers, the search by Deacon and the smokers and the fight sequences that take place not just with them but other ships that come upon the trio. Through it all the Mariner begins to change. He learns to become more human and the non-mutant humans with him learn that he isn't any different than they are. And all along the quest for Dryland rumbles beneath everything.

So here is the deal. When the movie came out in 1995 Kevin Costner was at the top of his game. He'd just come off of a huge string of hits and was box office gold. Starting in 85 and through 94 he made SILVERADO, THE UNTOUCHABLE, NO WAY OUT, BULL DURHAM, FIELD OF DREAMS, DANCES WITH WOLVES, ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, JFK, THE BODYGUARD and WYATT EARP. What I've noticed about Hollywood, and especially the press, is that when a star reaches a point like this they begin to try and tear them down. It's as if they are jealous of their success and suddenly none of the movies they make gets good press. It doesn't matter if the movie is good or not, they slam it and find fault with it. This movie was Costner's take down flick. After this film he continued to make great movies but you'd never know that based on critic's reviews. He still does but don't expect them to say so.

This movie has some amazing elements to it and that should have been the focus. The concept was original and the work that the team behind the cameras did to make it plausible was fantastic. The methods of filtering body water to continue to drink it, the various ways the trimaran is able to be controlled by one man (not really but it is in the film) and the locations where survivors gather are so realistic and believable. That alone should have made people marvel at the film.

But it offers more than that. There is a great story being told here as well. Not just about those trying to survive but the humanizing of a character far too long on his own. It also provides a new twist on an old story at the same time, pirates searching for treasure and seeking a map to find it. That's as old as TREASURE ISLAND. But for me the best thing was that the film harkened back to the swashbuckling films of Errol Flynn. As a die-hard Flynn fan who still loves watching CAPTAIN BLOOD and THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD this film presented that same sort of adventure. And Costner was up to it. He fit the mold perfectly and yet go no credit for doing so.

The special effects here are mind boggling. The vehicles are real enough to survive the sea and be shot on film. And speaking of the cinematography is wonderful as well. Dean Semler shows why he is one of the top directors of photography in the business. Kevin Reynolds also does a great job here too, bringing all the elements together in the most marvelous ways.

If that weren't enough there isn't a cast member in here who falters. Costner I've said enough about. Tripplehorn was still in the early stage of her career having just been in THE FIRM with Tom Cruise. Hopper was at his wildest and brings Deacon to life as no one else could have. And Majorino, at the time only 10 years old, showed that she could keep up with the stars. That she's gone on to have a successful career is good news having had roles in both VERONICA MARS and SCORPION on TV as well as the cult favorite NAPOLEON DYNAMITE. Yes, that really is her!

So the movie's been out on disc in the past and even on blu-ray. So why would anyone want to pick up a new version of this film. Two words should make that an easy answer: Arrow Video.

Yes Arrow Video has gone all out on this one. It's not enough that they treat it like they do all their releases making them the best version possible. Oh no, they had to make this one special. How special? Let's begin with the fact that this is a 4k scan from the original camera negative making it the most amazing looking version of the film since it was released. But wait there's more. There is not one, not two but THREE versions of the film to be seen here. There is the original version at 2 hours and 15 minutes long. Then there is the TV cut with an additional 40 minutes that includes alternative footage. But then they went and made an extended European cut that restored previously censored shots and dialogue to that TV cut making the film run 2 hours and 57 minutes long! Take a breath!

Wow, pretty good. That should satisfy most people. Oh no, there is more. More? Yes, more! There are 6 collector's postcards, a double-sided fold-out poster, a limited edition 60 page perfect bound book with new writing by David J. Moore and Daniel Griffith with archival articles and original reviews, a reversible sleeve with original and new artwork done by Paul Shipper, MAELSTORM: THE ODYSSEY OF WATERWORLD a feature length making of documentary on the film, an original archival featurette on the making of the film, GLOBAL WARMING a featurette with film critic Glenn Kenny exploring the subgenre of ecologically aware Hollywood films, production stills, visual effects stills gallery and the original trailers and TV spots. Arrow, you're making everyone else look bad, keep it up!

I can't begin to recommend this movie enough or this version of it. As a fan it is a dream come true, a movie that deserved better than it got. It's easy when you're not making the movie to criticize everything about it and to ridicule it for going over budget. But the money spent at least ended up on the screen. While I was only able to watch the first version of the film so far I know I'll be watching the other two in the next day or so. I finished that first and can't wait to get started on the next version. But it's coming out now and I need to let readers know. This is a great movie that you can now re-discover or find for the first time. I suggest that you take the voyage to Waterworld today.
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An Expansive Alternative Action World Perspective
tabuno20 January 2019
22 November 2009. This enduring action adventure sci fi epic considered a megamillion dollar flop still resonates with action, adventure, humanity and inhumanity that is well paced, well scripted, and compelling in its music and action. This balanced perspective on a world undergone global warming in is waterworld that contains all the action of the MADMAX series (1985), the post-apocalyptic world of THE POSTMAN (1997) that would be released two years later, but not quite the sweeping vision and in-depth authenticity of DANCES WITH WOLVES (1990). Kevin Costner retains his standoffish male figure and in some ways by the end of the movie retains his independence and differences in the face of nature even more so than most of his similar movies. Under-rated, this movie appears to continue to re-run in syndication, a testament to its value when other of its ilk have long since been forgotten.
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The $200 Million Dollar Roger Corman Film
MadReviewer30 August 2001
I'll admit it: I liked "Waterworld" . . . or parts of it, anyway. No, "Waterworld" is not exactly Shakespeare -- for that matter, it's not exactly James Cameron, either -- but it hits a certain "Mad Max/Road Warrior" vibe that's moderately cool, and it provides a handful of decent thrills. Should two hundred million dollars been spent on this flick? Probably not, but I'll ask you this: Does it matter? If you only have to plunk down three bucks to rent a movie, does it really matter what that movie's budget was, provided that you were at least slightly entertained?

"Waterworld" is the story of the Mariner (Kevin Costner); a tough, grizzled loner who roams the seas of post-apocalyptic Earth. The polar icecaps have melted, flooding the world, and land has become little more than a legend. During his travels between the tiny man-made islands that comprise the remnants of civilization, the Mariner meets a woman named Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and a small girl named Enola (Tina Majorino) who claim to have knowledge -- or at least a cryptic map -- of where to find land. Of course, a rowdy gang of pirates known as the Smokers also are aware of the fact that Helen and Enola have this knowledge; so, under the guidance of their mad leader Deacon (Dennis Hopper), the pirates try to hunt down the two. Faced with his one slim chance of ever finding land falling into the hands of complete madmen, it's up to the Mariner to protect Helen and Enola -- and ultimately, to try and defeat the Smokers -- if he wants to keep his dreams and himself alive . . . .

The premise of "Waterworld" is interesting enough; I like the fact that the film actually tries to show (at least in the opening scenes) how people would survive in a world flooded by salt water. There's some cool flashes of originality in here regarding what the world would be like -- for example, the fact that ordinary dirt has become so valuable as to become the standard of currency -- but unfortunately, that originality gets ignored the second the action starts rolling halfway through the film. Overall, the script isn't terrible -- however, it's quite predictable. For example, the first part of the film is spent explaining painfully how there is no more land, and how it's just a myth . . . gee, wonder what our heroes will find towards the end of the film? A couple of twists spring readily to mind (for example -- there genuinely is no more land, or dry land can be found far beneath the sea in domed cities, like some kind of "Atlantis", perhaps) -- one such twist would've been nice to see. While the story does have its good moments (particularly any scene involving Dennis Hopper), it's too formulaic to be called exciting. Nice? Yes. Exciting? No. The few good scenes are very, very good, but there's a lot more average -- or even dull -- scenes spread out between the sparse fun.

The most puzzling part about "Waterworld", though, is the direction. The film is loaded with action, and I'll give credit where credit is due -- nearly all of the action looks great, especially since all the fights and the action take place out on the water. But for $200 million . . ? It doesn't look THAT good. I know a significant part of the film's budget was spent on floating sets out in the Pacific -- but the camera cuts and shot selections are usually so quick and tight, it's hard to notice the background. There's no long, slow shots basking on the glory of these expensive sets. "Waterworld" is filmed exactly like a typical action movie, which is okay, I guess, but it completely fails to take advantage of its resources. Quite strange, to say the least.

As for the cast . . . it's a mixed bag. Kevin Costner does a very good job as the grizzled Mariner, playing against type as a hardened, almost amoral anti-hero. It goes against the good-guy grain that Costner has typically played in most of his films, and Costner seems to relish the change. Dennis Hopper is terrific as the villainous Deacon; the role is completely over-the-top and absolutely ludicrous at times . . . in short, the part is perfect for Hopper. His lines simply drip with withering sarcasm, making him a quite memorable screen villain. The rest of the cast . . . ehh. Nobody does a horrible job, but nobody's particularly memorable, either.

Should "Waterworld" have been a $200 Million Dollar Dud? Probably not. In a perfect world, "Waterworld" would've been a $20 Million Dollar Sleeper, directed by John Carpenter and starring Rutger Hauer . . . or a $2 Million Dollar Cult Classic, directed by Roger Corman and starring Lorenzo Lamas. However, this isn't a perfect world (as evidenced by the fact that Freddie Prinze, Jr. keeps making movies), so "Waterworld" is forever branded as the bad film with a runaway budget. Too bad. "Waterworld" is by no means a great movie, but it has some entertaining moments, enough to warrant at least a rental . . . and some frequent pushes of the fast forward button. Grade: B-/C+
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" They've taken the land and covered it with water "
thinker16914 October 2007
Reaching a few thousand years into the future for a story, two writers (Peter Rader and David Ywphy) penned the world according to Aquaman. Their work becomes the basis for "Water World." In this futuristic setting, the Earth is complete inundated leaving only a few dots of dry land. Here on this watery planet, a hybrid human (Kevin Costner) eeks out a marginal living, trading rare dry soil for passing necessities. Skimming the oceans from one part of the world to the other, he finds little company until he meets up with a group of wondering but murdering sea gypsies called "Smokers." Led by their psychotic leader, whom they refer to as 'the Decon' (Dennis Hopper) they will attack and destroy anyone to steal and take what they need. Their secret goal is to find a 'legenday' map of the world which will lead them to a utopia of dry land. The map is tattooed on the back of a little girl who becomes a pawn for the bickering parties involved. Lots of excitement, aerial action, explosive violence and spectacular stunts highlight this awesome watery film. Kevin Coatner fans will really enjoy this exception story. ****
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20 years later, it has aged well and is better than most sci-fi coming out these days
vithiet29 December 2018
Ok, it was a financial disaster. So what? The film itself may have a few too many cliches but is not bad; I'd say it is actually very enjoyable for sci-fi fans.
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Underrated by far!
MikoLaas20 August 2017
I recently watched this movie again after seeing it as a kid.

What appeals to me are the fine attention to details and things that actually make sense logically - something what lacks in soooo many of the modern sci-fi flicks.

It's well thought out and delivered, I was thoroughly enjoying this movie as a die-hard Sci-Fi watcher, I believe it to be better than 90% of the modern post-apocalyptic movies.

Give it a shot, I do not get the prejudice of people when it comes to this movie, it's immersive and enjoyable because it does not break your immersion with stupid logic-holes or over-done CGI.
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