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*** This review may contain 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.
"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!
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.
*** 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.
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.
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.
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.
"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
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.
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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