Sunday, March 26, 2017
In the far future, Earth's polar caps have melted and all of the land was flooded with water. The remains of remains of the human race resides on various ships and sea platforms, among them Mariner, a mutant who has developed fins and lives on his boat. He dives far to the sea ground and picks up land, which he then sells. When "smokers", pirates led by Deacon, attack a market, Mariner helps Helen and a little girl, Enola, flee to safety on his boat. The "smokers" kidnap Enola because she has a map tattooed on her back which shows Dryland, a small patch of land in the ocean. Mariner rescues Enola and sinks the ship of the "smokers". With Helen, old Gregor and other people, he flies on a balloon and truly finds land suitable for living.
The most expensive film at the time of its premiere, with a budget that soared to 175 million $ due to various delays and technical difficulties, "Waterworld" holds up surprisingly well today if one likes these types of films, acting as some sort of "Mad Max" on water, and is an apocalyptic, bitter warning with implied ecological subtext of the hypothetical consequences of global warming and climate change. The film starts out clever: the typical Universal logo starts, presenting Earth in space, but then starts to modify as it illustrates how the ice caps melt and the sea levels flood entire continents. The main protagonist, Mariner (Costner), is also introduced in a sly way, in the scene where he urinates into a cup, only to immediately put his urine into a distillation unit which then filters it back to drinkable water, already setting the tone for this world. More care should have been taken of the characters or the versatility of the storyline, since the endless fighting of people on rusty boats and ships in the sea can only go so far, which makes the film, ironically, "dry" at times, yet its entire setting on endless oceans already gave it a stylistic touch, some ideas are clever (a pound of land is worth a fortune), Dennis Hopper is effective as the sardonic pirate commander Deacon ("You can't kill me, you promised!", says one of the captured men who just gave him a valuable info, so Deacon simply gives the gun to another villain to kill him instead) whereas there are some refreshing instances of charm and humor which lift up the mood, mostly revolving around arguing between Mariner and the little girl Enola ("You talk too much!" - "That's because you don't talk at all!"). The sequence when they first discover land is also almost magical, because, just like "Soylent Green", this film also shows what the humanity has now and what it might lose if it continues a path of mindless selfishness and greed, indifferent to all the consequences.