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TOP 500 REVIEWERon January 25, 2016
Twenty years later I revisited Kevin Costner's bloated albatross - y'know, the one that was supposed to sink his career - and found it to be not as horrific as them critics have trumpeted. Is it a flawed movie? Yes, my gosh. There are real issues with pacing and length and the wafer-thin plot. And Costner's lead character could've been portrayed more sympathetically. Because the Mariner is a cold, cold bastard who doesn't thaw until near the third act. But the ups of the movie, I think, supercede the downs of it.

The premise is irresistible to sci-fi post-apocalyptic adventure junkies like me. Imagine a drowned world. Imagine the polar ice caps melting, thus covering the entire planet in water. Hundreds of years elapse, giving rise to mutations and to isolated communities of man that inhabit these ramshackled artificial islands, most of which are comprised of ancient seagoing vessels. What once were things we took for granted are now deemed invaluable bartering chips - things like paper, like dirt.

This is the story of the Mariner, a sullen recluse who subsists by scavenging the oceans and who harbors a secret - namely, his gills and his webbed feet. It's about how he stumbled across a orphaned little girl (Tina Majorino) and her guardian (Jeanne Tripplehorn). It's about the search for the mythical Dry Land and how, just maybe, the tattoo on the little girl's back could be a tricky map to it.

I think most of the hate surrounding this movie had nothing to do with the quality of the movie itself. Waterworld was shot in 157 days and cost roughly $175 million to make, an obscene amount of green that left its detractors in conniptions. Haters also railed at Costner's ego, and maybe even justifiably so. Waterworld was clearly a vanity project.

Except Waterworld works as a summer blockbuster. It's certainly superior to most of the pap we've gotten since that summer of 1995. It is visually impressive, elevated by great production design and photography. There's something so desolate and so frightening about having to survive on water. The movie adeptly depicts water's inhospitable nature, how its sheer might and scope make us feel tiny and insignificant.

I dig the brutal Mad Max vibe. The Mariner's world is dotted with the rusty, decaying remnants of a once-thriving civilization. Everyone is grubby and stenchy and exists in squalor. You know dental hygiene's gone out the window. It's a world where the strong take from the weak, and so we have the Smokers who are essentially pirates or reavers. It's about how the Mariner butts heads with the leader of a band of Smokers, the chain-smoking Deacon. He's played with manic abandon by Dennis Hopper who, back in the 1980s and '90s, was on every casting director's rolodex for playing demented, offbeat big bads. Hopper must've had a rollicking grand time with this role, all camp and cheese and goofy, dumb lines, like the one he directs at the Mariner at the showdown: "Well, I'll be damned, it's the gentleman guppy. You know, he's like a turd that won't flush." The Deacon had also gotten the wind up about the little girl and the map to Dry Land, and, yes, the little girl is the movie's McGuffin. She's also the one that softens up our laconic hero. She humanizes the Mariner, only it takes so long for her to do it that, for most of the movie, I wasn't invested in what Kevin Costner was trying to do.

Give Costner credit, his role was a physically demanding one and I could swear that's him doing most of his own stunts. It was a criticism back in the day, but I actually enjoyed the extensive scenes of him scampering all over his makeshift catamaran, tugging at this, winding that up, whatever. Those scenes work as a tutorial on how the catamaran functions. It's Costner's version of the Batmobile, and, boy, did he want to show it off.

There's a healthy amount of humor, never mind Costner's super-bland, super-stoic hero. Maybe my favorite gag is when we learn the name of the Deacon's derelict oil tanker. It was topical back in the day. I even appreciate that little touch of Portu-Greek, the hybrid chosen tongue of the mariners. (Whatever happened to Esperanto? That was a made-up language that was supposed to sweep the globe.) The action is loud and chaotic and great fun, and, again, you have to marvel at Costner for being in the thick of most of them. You can see where the CG work went in, but there are also tons of practical effects to which George Miller would probably give a thumbs up. Anyway, 3.5 out of 5 stars. Not as shudderingly awful as past folks had made it out to be.
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This movie is a classic. The futuristic grungy sets are amazing, even 20+ years later. The costume design is spectacular. One of Kevin Costner best films. I've watched this movie countless times and it never seems to get old. Special effects are as impressive as can be expected on a 20+ year old film.

What would the world be like without land? Watch this movie and you will find out.
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on October 14, 2016
I know this movie has received some really rotten reviews, but I really enjoy it. The scenery is fantastic and Costner does a pretty good job acting in it. I love the girl in it (I've forgotten her name), but Dennis Hopper makes the movie. His acting is a little over the top, but he's a good bad guy. I highly recommend this movie.
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on April 5, 2015
Reteaming with his ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES director, Kevin Costner stars in a post-apocalyptic thriller set far in the future, in which Earth is submerged underwater due to the polar ice caps melting. While there is a slight subtext about global warming and pollution, WATERWORLD is mostly an action star vehicle for Costner (and his massive ego). As far as big budget action/sci-fi goes, this film isn't too bad, though. The production values are fairly high, special/visual effects are well-done, and the acting is mostly above par. However, the biggest hurdle to enjoying the film is getting past how utterly ridiculous the science is. If you can do that, this film can be enjoyed for its visual spectacle and "silliness" factor. And there is quite a lot of silliness. The fashion sense of people who live in this water-covered world tends toward "Mad Max" levels of absurdity. However, no one is more absurd than the "Smokers," the WATERWORLD equivalent of biker gangs who steal and plunder, use copious amounts of oil and, of course, smoke cigarettes...and often all at the same time. Dennis Hopper plays their leader and is yet another great over-the-top villain in his resume. My only quibble is that he's mostly absent for the middle part of the film. But even beyond that, even past the "science," the script just isn't that good. It did a decent job of setting up this world, even if it does require major suspension of disbelief, but it resorts to too many cliches to drive it forward. The worst of these is using the "child in peril" trope as the major conflict to be resolved in the third act. Gene Siskel didn't care for it, and neither do I. Ultimately, when compared to other post-apocalyptic films, or even Kevin Costner's own work, WATERWORLD doesn't hold up too well. Still, it is an entertaining action flick as long as you check your brain at the door.
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on December 22, 2014
I found this SF/adventure film watchable, but definitely not as good as it should have been, considering the huge budget and the talent of all involved. Below, more of my impressions, with some limited SPOILERS.

Somewhere in XXI century waters started to rise and ultimately engulfed all the lands, transforming Earth in a planet-ocean - the Waterworld. With time surviving human communities, living on floating atolls or roaming the sea on board of frail ships (this latter category is called Drifters), forgot about the past and the very idea of emerged land is now considered as a myth. Waterworld is a very tough place to live and the danger from predatory nomadic communities, like Slavers and Smokers, makes the existence even more precarious.

It is in those settings that we meet the Mariner (Kevin Costner), a particularly skilled and powerful Drifter. He owns a beautiful and very fast trimaran, which can outrun virtually any other ship. The film begins when Mariner goes to one of floating artificial atolls to trade. There he meets, amongst others, atoll's sheriff (R.D. Call), a huge, brutish Drifter named Nord (Gerard Murphy), a local woman named Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn, splendid!) and her adoptive 10 years old daughter Enola (Tina Majorino). And then the film really begins...

"Waterworld", which was I believe supposed to be a kind of "Mad Max 2" on water, is not exactly a bad film - it is in fact watchable, interesting in some moments and entertaining in others. Kevin Costner, an actor I am usually not very fond of, plays here well and his grumpy, crabby, unfriendly, frequently (but NOT entirely) unpleasant and very, very lonely Mariner is quite credible. Jeanne Tripplehorn, a good actress and one of the most beautiful women in Hollywood (for my personal taste, in "Basic Instinct" it was SHE who was THE hot one, not Sharon Stone) is a real pleasure to watch. Little Tina Majorino played also very well and, unlike so many child characters in adventure movies, her Enola is an asset to the story rather than a problem.

However, even with all those good points, the film ultimately disappoints. It is absolutely nowhere near the level of two great classics of post-apocalyptic genre: "Mad Max 2" and "Escape from New York". I was very disappointed when I saw it in cinema in 1995 and recently, after purchasing and watching the 179 minutes extended version, I could only confirm this first feeling. It is a cruel disappointment, because in principle the director, Kevin Reynolds, should have aced this film, as he made earlier two ABSOLUTELY EXCELLENT movies, "The beast" and "Rapa Nui" (they are both on my list of great favourites). BUT, he also made earlier "Robin Hood, prince of thieves", definitely the sh--tiest "Robin Hood" film ever - and in this film, very sadly, he made exactly the same mistakes.

The greatest problem of "Waterworld" is the absolute failure in the bad guys chapter. Already in "Robin Hood" both the Sheriff and the Witch were a parody - but here it is actually worse. The Smokers are totally pathetic and their leader, the Deacon (Dennis Hopper) is simply ridiculous! When one remembers Humungus and Wez from "Mad Max 2" or the Duke of New York City and Rehme from "Escape from New York" and then looks at Deacon and his main sidekick - well, one wants to sit down and weep...

Let's not even talk about the "ideology" of Smokers, who, other than being predatory bandits, are even more evil because they 1) smoke cigarettes 2) use fossil fuels 3) seem to be influenced by Christianity, as they are organised in a "parish" led by a "deacon" 4) refuse to control the growth of their population (on atolls "illegal" babies are killed - but Smokers refuse to do that) 5) worship Captain Joseph Hazelwood, the unfortunate skipper of "Exxon Valdez", as "Saint Joe" (there is actually a reason for that) 6) want to find land to build an 18-holes golf course on it (I am not kidding!). At another moment the Deacon insists, with an evil grin, that theirs is the society of "continuous growth"... I rather appreciated the strong environmentalist message Kevin Reynolds placed in "Rapa Nui" (an infinitely better film) - but here it is so over the top that it becomes completely ridiculous.

Continuing on the bad guys. Kevin Reynolds made an ENORMOUS BLUNDER giving them massive firepower. Possible the first rule to observe in post-apocalyptic adventure movies is: "Remove the firearms!". It was in part the vision of a world with modern vehicles but Middle Age weaponry that made the success of "Mad Max 2" and "Escape from New York". The removal of almost all firearms helped also to create uniquely tense action scenes and to introduce the concept of "magical weapons" in the modern world. Indeed, the one revolver and its precious handful of rounds owned by Humungus and Max's sawed off shotgun and its one, last cartridge in "Mad Max 2, are precious, cherished possessions, which made a great difference in the world of bow and war club. In "Escape from New York", Snake Plissken's MAC 10 and revolver make him into a great power in a place until then ruled by crossbows and knives. And in "The road" father's revolver (and two last cartridges) is the supreme "magical weapon" which keeps the darkness at bay...

Here on another hand we have dozens and dozens of "bad guys" with firearms, some of them even with fully automatic weapons. In fact they even have calibre 0.50 heavy machine guns, and TONS of ammo for all this heat! This firepower immediately removes all interest from the one big battle scene, because what possible chance can have a community armed with exclusively with harpoons, crossbows, spears, clubs and knives against an army lavishly equipped with firearms... In later parts of the film this presence of massive firepower keeps hurting this film also later.

Pathetic, lame action scenes are another great weakness. Some SPOILERS AHEAD! Other than the terribly disappointing atoll battle, the final confrontation between Mariner and the Smokers is amongst the most laughable things I ever saw on the screen and the way in which Smokers floating fortress is destroyed is amongst the biggest let downs in action/adventure cinema. I appreciated also the cowardice of the director, who first insisted in the film that Smokers are doomed because they have too many children, but when their society is shown and then mercilessly obliterated, many hundreds of adult men and women appear - but absolutely no kids are shown... Because we would have obviously some trouble to relate with "the hero" after he incinerated alive hundreds of pre-teens, children, toddlers, infants and new-borns...

The director also used 175 million dollars to make this film - and we do not see it really on the screen. There is one floating atoll, some small ships and they are OK, but nothing else. There is also one huge floating fortress and it could have been a great and fascinating place - but it appears ultimately rather shortly and is poorly made. Also, everything is dirty, primitive and very much used, as it should be, but without any kind of originality or attempt at colour, grotesque or humour (unlike in "Mad Max 2" and "Escape from New York"). Unnecessary gross factor was added, like the scene in which Kevin Costner takes a (forced) bath in excrements...

This unique kind of world could have also been a much more fascinating place, but the scenario avoids mostly all possibilities offered. We see, just for a second, one and only one of the creatures living in the ocean and there is also a dead shark being cut in pieces shown at another moment - and that is all we see about animal life on Waterworld. Some traditions are shown or hinted, but only in very short glimpses.

I hoped that the EXTENDED VERSION would show more about Waterworld - but to my considerable surprise, the 40 minutes of added footage ultimately... don't add almost anything, it is mostly just unnecessary filler! Also, the extended version is in fact the TV version of this film and therefore was also CENSORED - the few strong language moments were removed as was the short and rather innocent scene in which Helen's naked back is shown (in cinema version it is not Jeanne Tripplehorn who appears in this scene, but a stuntwoman).

In fact, the best scenes are those describing the relations between Mariner, Helen and Enola during their common voyage, as well as their meeting with one of Drifters - this part of the film is actually pretty good. The atoll life scenes are not bad and the very ending is quite honest. The rest however is mostly disappointing and sometimes really, really bad...

Bottom line, this is only an average, watchable, less than half-successful film, recommended mostly to amateurs of SF/adventure movies, but rather to see once and to rent rather than buy. I usually don't like remakes at all, but for "Waterworld" I would be ready to make an exception - if Hollywood decided to make another try at the same topic, I wouldn't say no and I would probably go to see it.
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on September 21, 2014
Keven Costner portrays a new type of human adapting to living in the ocean. When he comes across some people searching for "Dry Land" a mythical place where people can live on land, not on the seas, he helps them find the place called "Dry Land." One of them has a handful of dirt to prove this place exists. There are plenty of perils along the way and pirates, one of whom you will recognize from "Easy Rider" Dennis Hopper, who runs a ship of pirates. He imprisons a little girl that the Mariner (Kevin Costner) grows fond of, and the action really takes off as the Mariner fights to get her back.

This was one of the very first dvd's I purchased. It was well worth it. I now have over 3, 000 dvd's but, still remember this along with the other Keven Costner DVD I bought at the time "The Postman" another great movie.

I highly recommend this dvd.

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on June 4, 2012
This is one of those movies which has seen its image gradually improve over the years. The huge budget made audiences expect a massive epic, but in fact a lot of the movie is quite small-scale. However, there are a number of things to like about it:

The clever opening, in which the Universal logo, the earth, is used to demonstrate the change to Waterworld.

The stunning ocean and Dryland views. There is some beautiful footage here for those who appreciate the majesty of nature.

The contrast between the immensity of the ocean and the very small areas of human habitation- the boats, the Atoll, etc. Very well-drawn and something you don't really take in until you've seen the movie a couple of times.

The Atoll battle-scene, which is amazing and, to the best of my knowledge, unique. Jet-skis, water skiers, a float plane and various homemade assault craft all attacking a floating village- the co-ordination of the stunts alone is worth watching the movie to see.

Dennis Hopper in one of his most over-the-top roles as the villainous Deacon. Has there ever been an actor who played a villain with more relish than Dennis?

The musical score, which is on a suitably large and lush scale for the wide shots and adds drama to the battle scenes.

There are also some downsides. The pacing of the movie isn't great and although I suspect it was intentional to have slow periods to convey the unchanging nature of the ocean, there are times when you want to tell the director to get on with it. The evolutionary concept behind the Mariner having functional gills is unconvincing, to say the least; although many reviews have pointed out that there isn't enough water on earth to raise the seas to the level shown, not many people seem to find the gills strange enough to comment on. Let's just say that Darwin would have been hard-pressed to come up with an explanation of the process of natural selection which led to the Mariner!

However, this is entertainment, not a science documentary. The story is OK, if not the most original in human terms; the movie is visually stunning and there's enough action to satisfy all but the most rabid of action movie fans. Worth watching and I actually found it improved on a second and third viewing as I took in more of the context of the film.
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on August 10, 2016
For me, the criticism of this film does not add up. I think its bad wrap behind-the-scenes (the director storming off set and quitting among other events), somehow contribute in large part to its lacking public favor, even prior to its theatrical release. However, the movie actually did not bomb, contrary to popular belief. Look it up. It's a creative story line with even more creative set design. For an early 90s movie, I feel this was an ambitious undertaking. What's even better is the score by James Newton Howard. He's a wonderful film composer who may have finally topped the caliber of this action-adventure score more than 10 years later with Peter Jackson's KING KONG. Alas, WATERWORLD is a King Kong in its own right, despite what many apparently attempt to claim.
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on October 28, 2014
WATERWORLD a Great Action/adventure film set in the future, Decades into the future
where most of the world is covered in water cause the Ice polar caps from Antartica have melted away
it sounds a bit far fetched to me, meaning the plot is Ridiculous
but nevertheless still a Great Action/adventure film staring Kevin costner who steals the film
Dennis Hopper is Great as the Villian trying to capture a young child that has a map printed on her back
a map to Dry land
the Dry land found in the film happens to be Mount Everest as it's shown in the last scene of the film
before the credits roll the young Girl and woman climb to the top of the mountain
and happen to stand on a plaque saying you are standing on Mount Everest.

I already have the 2 Disc extended cut DVD release which has both versions of the film
with no extras of course, just the 2 versions on 2 Discs
the Theatrical cut goes for 135mins Disc 1
the Extended cut goes for at least 180mins Disc 2
both in Widescreen format 1:85:1 ratio
for me i prefer the Extended cut version, about 40-45mins of extra scenes,
some Great footage not included in the Theatrical cut which i think is tragic
i think the extra footage ties the plot together in more detail
the Theatrical cut is the more short & sweet version
but it's a matter of opinion really

the blu-ray release by Universal just has the Theatrical cut version in High definition but no extended cut
Universal could've easily put both versions of the film on 1 blu-ray Disc
so then fans of the film like myself can choose which version to watch
but instead Universal did not bother which makes no sense to me
and what's even worse there's no new special features at all
no new interviews with Director Kevin reynolds or Kevin costner at least.

so as far as i'm concerned this blu-ray release is s*** terrible release
if both versions of the film were on this blu-ray i would give it more stars
but it's just worth 1 star in my opinion waste of money
i'm happy to stick with my 2 Disc set
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on December 25, 2014
There has always been a lot of hate out there for waterworld. While I'm not a big fan of Kevin Costner's other films water world still stands out as one of those diamonds in the ruff. In a future where the world is covered in water and people are required to drink recycled urine and smokers are bad, a dude with gills can really clean up shop.

I bought this DVD solely for the extended edition. If you loved the movie when it first came out, you'll probably enjoy watching the 3 hour version as well. I plan to make my wife, friends, guests, and anyone else who shows up at my place, suffer through this version until the Love waterworld as much as I do. Seriously join us, Join US!
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