You may be asking yourself, “Dude, seriously? Waterworld? Of all the amazing films in history why choose such a (insert chosen adjective here) one?” I’ll tell you why who-ever-you-are! Because I feel that Dennis Hopper should be given some tribute! Yeah, I’ll bet you forgot all about him being in it, didn’t you? According to IMDb, Dennis Hopper was in 203 films, and that’s just acting mind you. He was also a director and writer, most notably for the piece of film gargantuousity known as Easy Rider. But there are others like the super-cool True Romance written by my favorite filmmaker, Quentin Tarantino, Apocalypse Now, and of course Speed. I know it may be a little late to pay tribute to him now but I think he would appreciate it all the same. Dennis Lee Hopper will be sorely missed.
As for this film however, I have heart-wrenchingly mixed feelings. On one hand, I love the idea that people have literally brought about the next great flood and all of the other Bible story imagery that goes along with it. But on the other hand, where did the giant fish monsters come from? On another hand I really like Dennis Hopper, but on yet another hand I can’t stand Kevin Costner. I don’t know where the other two hands came from but maybe I can finally challenge Goro to that match of arm-wrestling. Anyway, there isn’t much to be said technically about the film but I have to say that the story is downright amazing.
The film takes does a good job of giving you an origin story of sorts, in that it is explained by a mysterious narrator in the first few moments of the film. We never hear from him again but I think it should be assumed that it is God… or maybe his brother, I don’t know but I’d really like to. If you have any ideas please let me know, I’m begging you! He (I can tell it’s a “he” from the voice) explains that the polar ice caps have melted causing the world to be flooded leaving no land to be found anywhere, or so he thinks. We follow alongside of the character known as The Mariner (Costner) throughout the film, showing us the social conditions of the new world that these people are so unfortunate to live in. The best way to describe would be to imagine a world where cavemen had access to alien technology. The Mariner ends up stopping at an atoll on his way to nowhere to refuel his supply of fresh water and trade for various items like a tomato plant, because, as everyone knows, Costner loves tomatoes. While at the atoll, it is discovered that The Mariner is a mutant with gills and webbed feet and because the atoll is filled with fanatical religious types he is persecuted for being different, quite literally. Then the atoll is attacked by Smokers, who are essentially pirates led by The Deacon (Hopper), and allowing for The Mariner to escape with the help of a woman who he tells that he can take her and her daughter to dry land. These three along with a scientist are able to escape from the atoll before it is completely destroyed. Quite quickly, The Mariner learns that the Daughter called Enola (Tina Majorino) has a map outlining the path to dry land tattooed on her back; the only problem is that the directions are in a language that is no longer spoken or written. From there the fun ensues with visits to the past via going underwater and eating giant sea monsters.
From a cinematic standpoint, not much can be said as stated before. The CGI is mediocre at best, and for all of you who want to compare it to other films you must remember that this film was made in 1995, fourteen years before Avatar, so don’t start the comparison competition just yet. As for the direction and cinematography, nothing innovative or cool is done, making the film centered around action and character development coming through due to the story, which along with Dennis Hopper single-handedly saves this film from being something other than quality material and would be a waste of time.
I think it is apparent that I am a super nerd who loves science fiction, but I’ll tell you why. Science fiction gives you something that no other genre can; the stories can be told through almost any world, technological device, etc. and you will never forget it. These are films that you reminisce about later in life when you’re hanging out with old friends. If you don’t think I’m right then you should probably go watch Star Wars one more time.