Look over there kids I think I see the beginning of the end of Costner's action career!
Waterworld. I could just end this post with that and I think most of you would get the gist of where this is going. I'm ashamed to admit I've seen this deliciously overpriced mess more than once and probably more than twice over the course of my life. Now, in my defense when the movie came out in 1995 I was 9 years old. As 9 year old interested in adventure movies, I had recently seen Robin Hood and put all of my stock into Costner flicks (well, whatever wasn't banked with Nicholas Cage). I had zero way of knowing that Waterworld was going stink out loud until I watched it later in life.
The movie was based on a script by a man named Peter Rader whose career must of never recovered because you can't even find him on Wikipedia. For reference, you can find 80% of the South Korean men's ice hockey team on there. So to have written a script for one of the most expensive movies ever made and NOT be there is quite a feat.
The plot isn't all that horrible.
But don't worry this cast won't let a little thing like creative plot get in the way of a bad script.
The movie takes place some time in the future. When exactly isn't revealed, but considering how dumb everyone is I'd hope it's a least not 2018. The people that survived live on man-made atolls and makeshift boats. There is a pseudo religion surrounding the belief that there is dry land somewhere out there beyond the ocean. Being a 90's movie that's exactly what the audience should be expecting.
Kevin Costner plays a character known simply as the Mariner. The Mariner is a mutant (because what futuristic movies doesn't include mutants?) who, for whatever reason, visits the various atolls to trade in dirt. Dirt is a hot commodity even though the movie never makes it clear what for. The best part about his visit to the unnamed atoll is that everyone treats him like shit. Not because the movie was already a train wreck, but because he could dive to the "old world" due to his gills. Had they had the foresight like NFL owners to use those they saw as different for person gain, they would've paid him to go grab crap from the ocean floor. Instead they try to dip him in hot mustard.
Wouldn't you know while this is going on Dennis Hopper shows up to kid nap a girl who has a map to dry land.
"If you think for a second I'm going to make this movie any more interesting because I have a patch on my eye then you're sorely mistaken."
Dennis Hopper leads a group of people affectionately known as the Smokers. Who are given that name because they smoke cigarettes another hallmark of what the world is like after it comes to an end. I'm not a smoker, but if the world suddenly flooded you can take it to the bank I'd be stock piling Camel Crushes.
So at this point this is where you learn about the girl with the dry land tattoo, Enola.
Someone got drunk and made a terrible mistake. I'd like to add Chinese character tattoos are so 90's.
Now, this is where I'm done with the plot summary for a second because I can't get past the fact that the girl has this mysterious tattoo. It's not a birthmark, it's a fucking tattoo. That means at some point this girl got a tattoo on an atoll whose population is like 30 people. Yet, nobody has any idea how she got this mysterious symbol on her back. I'm not suspending belief on this one folks. Just not going to do it. Somebody on that floating dumpster assaulted a child and no one there has any real interest in figuring out who. The only person who shows any sort of interest is Dennis Hopper and his crew of flunkies.
"Yup that's a terrible tattoo. Kids these days don't know about a good tribal band."
The Smokers eventually capture the girl and Costner's love interest, Helen (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn) and take them to what's left of the Exxon Valdez. Costner decides that, in spite of the fact the world is covered in water nobody showers, he wants to get it on with Helen and decides to rescue her and the kid.
Using series of slapstick action maneuvers against the Smokers and defeats what basically amounts to a band of homeless people. Again, I'll point out there's all this water and no way to take a bath. As evidenced by these folks:
These gentlemen look like the kind of guys that get paid in cigs
or this guy
I'm not sure how to caption this. He's got no pants and a handful of lemons. No idea where he got fully ripened lemons, but the pants thing is clearly optional.
And finally these guys:
I think by the time this part was filmed they had mailed it in. Even for the 90's this is sad.
Costner eventually confronts Hopper on the deck of the ship and after a bring trading of terribly written lines, Costner drops a road flare into the oil well of the ship and boom. In the process he presumably incinerates hundreds of people and zip lines (yes zip lines) to a sea plane that Hopper tries to use to escape.
Anyways, Costner saves the girl and Helen, meets up with the other weirdos of the atoll and finds dry land. Costner though decides not to stay because of his gills (even though he's like 90% human) and feels like his home is on that ocean.
That's the end and everyone is better for it.
Yet, the legacy of Waterworld lived on. Mainly because of the size of its budget because in the film making industry size matters. The film cost around $175 million to produce and only grossed $88 million domestically, but thanks to those tasteless heathens beyond our borders, the movie ultimately was a financial success raking in $265 million in total.
The money wasn't the only thing though that Waterworld is remembered for. Universal Studios went all in on the movie:
The Circ du Soeilel of over budgeted early 90's movies became available to the masses.
The water show received better reviews than the movie and much to my surprise when I researched it, it is still there for your viewing pleasure. You can pick up your tickets here and when you get there you can try to explain to your kids what the hell is going on. Good luck.
Waterworld is on demand on HBO now or you can catch it at 2am sometime on AMC or TNT.
Images are from Universal Studios. All copyright is contained therein.