In a future where the polar ice-caps have melted and Earth is almost entirely submerged, a mutated mariner fights starvation and outlaw "smokers," and reluctantly helps a woman and a young girl try to find dry land.
A high school swim champion with a troubled past enrolls in the U.S. Coast Guard's "A" School, where legendary rescue swimmer Ben Randall teaches him some hard lessons about loss, love, and self-sacrifice.
The polar ice caps have melted, and the earth is covered by water. The remaining people travel the seas, in search of survival. Several different societies exist. The Mariner falls from his customary and solitary existence into having to care for a woman and a young girl while being pursued by the evil forces of the Deacon.Written by
Robbie Smith <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The studio didn't spend any money researching weather patterns off Hawaii's Kona coast, where the film was shot. If they had, they would have learned that the area was subject to 45 mph winds, which constantly blew the set out of position and ruined shots. See more »
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. See more »
[while wrestling with Mariner trying to apprehend him, sees with horror a gill behind the Mariner's ear; with abhorrence]
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The Earth in the Universal logo zooms into the Mariner's boat, with the ice caps melting and causing the world to be flooded. See more »
Scenes that show the Mariner building the new boat he uses to leave the island at the end of the movie. See more »
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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