I got interested in Waterworld after seeing the Angry Video Game Nerd attack the Waterworld game for the Virtual Boy (he'd attack the VB along with the movie itself). I finally went to the local Family Video in December of 2008 to see how bad it was for myself and much to my surprise, it wasn't the abomination legions of people make it out to be, but that's not really saying much.
The plot is that the polar ice caps melt and flood the entire world, creating the setting we know as in the title. The few survivors from the flooding live on islands made of junk and live primitive lifestyles. A guy known as the Mariner rescues Helen and her supposed daughter, Enola, from the Smokers, a group of infamous looters. Enola, has the key to finding "Dryland" tattooed on her back and the Deacon, leader of the Smokers, will stop at nothing to get Enola.
BAD ACTING AND WRITING
It's all to clear that no effort was put in making the actors in this film act in a convincing manner. Examples would be Kevin Costner as the Mariner and Dennis Hopper as the Deacon, the former acts in a very stale and monotone manner while the latter hams up every scene he's in. While I'm at it, it's all too clear that very little (if any) of this movie's gargantuan $175 million budget went to good script writing because some of the lines in this are downright laughable (and not intentionally humorous). An example would be when the Mariner confronts the Deacon on the Exxon Valdez, the Deacon says one of the most horrid lines in a “serious” film ever:
“I thought you were stupid, friend, but I underestimated you. You're a total frickin' retard!!”
The Deacon is supposed to be the villain, yet the above line makes him sound like angry second grader on the school playground.
LACK OF ORIGINALITY
One of Waterworld's biggest problems is that just about everything in it runs parallel to The Road Warrior, a MUCH superior film in just about every way. Again, I don't mind films that are derivative so long as they contribute something to the film that makes you come back again and again (again, using Event Horizon as an example of this), but Waterworld gives you nothing in return for its lack of originality and bad acting. The Mariner's character is no different from Max's character in The Road Warrior since they're both drifters who only care about personal gains. Lord Humungus from The Road Warrior has an army of savages who want gasoline and the Deacon has an army of savages who seek out a tattoo on Enola's back because it's supposed to lead them to dry land. The scenes in Waterworld feel ripped off as well since towards the beginning, the Mariner is held prisoner and sentenced to death by the people on the Atoll, but the Deacon and his cronies assault the island, allowing the Mariner to escape. Sounds an awful lot like when Max was taken prisoner by Papagallo's settlers and Humungus's assault on their settlement allowed Max to break loose and help beat back the attack. Even the ending of the film feels ripped off The Road Warrior, but I won't give it out since I don't want to spoil The Road Warrior for you.
I do give the set designers of this movie a lot of credit because they worked really hard to build the floating islands and other props, and it's also more amazing than Avatar considering they had little to no computer effects in the film. However, any true film fan never lets movies slide by only on great visuals and brilliant set designs.
MORE UNINTENTIONALLY HUMOROUS MOMENTS
There were some scenes in this film that made me laugh unintentionally (other than that horrid line from the Deacon at the end). There was a scene where Helen was naked and pointed a harpoon gun at the Mariner, but the Mariner just drops the boat mast on Helen and whacks her with an oar. There was also a scene where the Deacon gets one of his eyes damaged and puts in a prosthetic one and says to one of his crew members “It does look like s***.” Another is when Enola causes a lot of trouble on the Mariner's boat and the Mariner throws the brat into the ocean.
Trust me on this one, you really shouldn't watch this aquatic drivel, go watch Mad Max and The Road Warrior instead, both of which accomplished A LOT more with only a tiny fraction of Waterworld's budget.
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Waterworld is a 1995 post-apocalyptic action science fiction film. The film was directed by Kevin Reynolds and co-written by Peter Rader and David Twohy. It is based on Rader's original 1986 screenplay and stars Kevin Costner, who also produced it. It was distributed by Universal Pictures.
The film release was accompanied by a tie-in novel and video game, and also two popular themed attractions at Universal Studios Hollywood and Universal Studios Japan based on the film, called Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular, which are both still running as of 2009.