Director: Kevin Reynolds
Running Time: 135 Minutes
One man, alone, betrayed by the gills that he loves.
It’s the 21st century and the polar ice caps have melted, turning this green and blue ball in space, into a mostly blue ball. Society has evolved with the changing landscape, illustrated by man-made atolls and outposts, which trade with civilians, drifters and the like. Life is hard and resources are scarce. Items from humanity’s former everyday life are now valuable trinkets. Especially, dry soil or earth.
After a run-in with the locals of an atoll, a Mariner (Kevin Costner) is imprisoned and sentenced for recycling. He is a mutant, which hardly goes down well with the inhabitants of the atoll. Enola (Tina Majorino) and Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) need to leave the atoll but through a series of comical events are stranded. They help the Mariner escape in exchange for safe passage off the atoll. Due to his recent trade of soil, our two damsels in distress think that the drifter knows the way to dry land.
It’s never that simple though. Enola is being sought by Deacon (Dennis Hopper), the leader of the Smokers. A diesel guzzling, nicotine fueled madman, who believes that the little girl has a map to dry land tattooed on her back, making her a precious commodity.
Performances & Special Effects
With the exception of Costner and Tripplehorn, I hated these performances. For it’s budget and subject matter, the performances were all caricatures of actual people. They were bubble-gummy and contrived. This is not unusual for the ’90s but it worked my nerves. I have seen this movie several times over the years and not once have I enjoyed the performances. Waterworld comes across as Mad Max‘s poor and soggy cousin. It had none of the gravitas and the spectacle that Mad Max (1979) had as a post-apocalyptic film.
The special effects, on the other hand, were pretty spectacular. I love the dive bell scene and seeing the ruins of the once vast cities. The explosions and smoker vehicles were fun and didn’t have that awful Michael Bay veneer. Not much CGI was used and thus the movie still looks very good for its age. The water is exquisite and I can only imagine the toll it must have taken on the actors to shoot some of the lengthier water scenes.
Having said all that, this can be a really fun romp of a film, with the right people. It’s not boring or cumbersome. It’s long but the action is ongoing and the pace is great. Though not a classic, in humble opinion, it is not terrible. This film would be great feature in a post-apocalyptic movie marathon with friends.
I liked the Mariner’s mutations and the ideology of keeping humanity pure, however futile that would be. The science, however, was seriously if-y. For all the money that went into this movie, no-one thought to consult a specialist about global warming or find out what the real life implications would be if the caps melted. The entire atmosphere would change. We’re not just talking about a little bit of extra water, people. Eco-systems, fauna and flora would be unrecognisable, if here at all, if this were to happen. But, maybe that’s just me being too technical…
Taking that out of the equation, I would recommend giving Waterworld a watch if you are bored on a Saturday afternoon and feel like watching a mindless movie.
My rating: 3/5
Buy or rent Waterworld from Amazon.
You might also like:
The Postman (for the Costner enthusiasts)
Mad Max: Fury Road (for the post-apocalypse lover)