directed by Kevin Reynolds
starring Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dennis Hopper
We begin with a close up of Kevin Costner peeing, and things just keep getting more and more exciting as this film proceeds. It’s taken me a while to get through this “Mad Max on Water”, but I’m here to report this famously expensive 1995 block buster still gives a few thrills when it’s not offering lectures and abusive sexual relations. We find our hero on the world’s most amazing trimaran, far out to sea. But then, EVERYWHERE is far out to sea as the ice caps have melted leaving nothing but a floating atoll and a smattering of “Drifters” search in the ocean for. Soil is the most precious commodity, and The Mariner (Costner) has almost a full pail of the stuff.
He makes a deal and ends up with a woman Helen (Tripphorn) and a child (Tina Majorino) who has a map to “Dryland” tattooed on her back. The Deacon (Hopper) wants that map, he lives on what’s left of the Exxon Valdez with a mob or rednecks. They can still make gasoline and jet skis and access to large amounts of oil, gasoline, jet skis, and 50 caliber machine gun shells. That’s how the world will end: in a special effects’ explosion, just that we’ll all be in it. Bottom line: NO ONE get the girl. Thus, what you are seeing is “Serious Cinema, Kevin Costner Style.”
This collection offers three versions of the movie: the original theatrical release, a three-hour extended “Lost at Sea” version, and a “Cut for TV” version. I chose the extended version; and I was mildly entertained for nearly three hours. Like all good action adventure films don’t look for anything physically rational, just go with the flow. This version warned of nudity and we do see a quick rear shot of Ms. Tripphorn, or at least her body double. Costner plays moody and sulky like a good film artiste ought to, Hopper looked like he was having way too much fun as the heavy, and the SFX are excellent for the time. This was the most expensive film ever when shot, and you do see those bucks on stage.
I highly recommend the “Making Of” documentary; it’s a bit over an hour and really does good job of conveying the difficulty of shooting this epic. So far, Waterworld withstands the test of time, but I can see its message and method of delivery fraying a bit compared to today’s CGI comic book serials. You can find page after page of story errors on the usual sites, but your suspension of disbelief is your best friend here.