Film Review – Waterworld (1995)

Title – Waterworld (1995)

Director – Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves)

Cast – Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tina Majorino, Jack Black, Michael Jeter

Plot – A reclusive mariner (Costner) who scours the seas in search of valuable loot in an apocalyptic landscape of a water covered earth must help protect young girl Enola (Majorino) and her carer Helen (Tripplehorn) from a dangerous bandit leader known as Deacon (Hopper) after its discovered Enola may hold the key to finding dry land.

“He doesn’t have a name so Death can’t find him!”

Review by Eddie on 01/05/2019

I think it’s safe to say that they don’t make movies like Waterworld anymore (unless your George Miller, whose Mad Max series is clearly an inspiration for this far less dusty Apocalyptic jaunt) .

A film famous for it’s at the time record breaking budget, on-set disasters and set-backs, behind the scenes disagreements and eventual bombtastic box office results, Waterworld may not be a particularly great film in any story-telling or acting sense, but when you lay hold on its largely practical sets, set-pieces and genuinely mind-boggling production qualities, there’s some simple joys to be found from a movie that was arguably aiming too high for its own good.

Made at the peak of its lead Kevin Costner’s pulling power (of which was never quite the same afterwards), Waterworld is still an ambitious undertaking in today’s movie-making climate, making its existence ever more insane considering it was made in the middle of the 90’s.

Reading stories about the amount of time and effort placed around building the world of director Kevin Reynolds adventure gives one perspective of the huge undertaking behind bringing this film to life, from drying up steel supplies of its Hawaiian shot location, battling numerous large-scale weather occurrences, to filming on the high seas, the undertaking of Waterworld is feat of movie-making persistence.

It’s a shame the film behind it (watched in its shortened theatrical cut version) is such a mess with its loose world-building, unlikable characters and mediocre scripting all helping to ensure that Waterworld was lambasted by most critics upon its initial release.

The entire concept of Waterworld, that see’s the world in a state of submergence after the polar ice-caps have melted and Costner’s fish/human hybrid Mariner battling Denis Hopper’s rent-a-villain baddie Deacon after he becomes the unwilling protector of a young girl that may hold the key to finding dry land, is a totally gonzo and far-fetched concept but one that remains ever watchable thanks to the adventurous and eye-popping world in which it takes place in.

From huge water cities made of scrap metal, the Mariner’s trusty boat, crazed jet-ski bandits to Deacon’s floating fortress of evil, there’s joy for the visual sense almost everywhere you look (as much so as any Mad Max ride) whilst the old school and heart-pounding action sequences remain more real and tangible than any modern CGI could muster, making you not care as much that everything else in Reynolds and Costner’s film is so downright disappointing.

Final Say –

A time-capsule of old school movie-making magic that sadly takes place around a very poorly constructed story, characters and script, Waterworld is an eminently watchable curiosity that just might be more entertaining than what you remember.

3 bags of dirt out of 5      

12 responses to “Film Review – Waterworld (1995)

    • I feel the same mate! I appreciate the time and effort it would’ve taken to make it, shame it wasn’t better all round.
      E

  1. My favourite thing about this movie is the fact it prompted Universal Studios California to have a stunt show based on it which was incredible when I saw it in 1996 and is apparently still there today (as per my quick google search) and is ranked as their #1 show.

  2. Great review, you couldn’t have written it better. It’s so old school that I always enjoy rewatching this movie, I love all the practical effects and the over the top action. But yeah, it’s not flawless by any stretch of the imagination…

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