Movie Defense Force: Waterworld

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I didn't know Waterworld was seen as a bad movie, it's one of my dad's favorite movies..

I didn't hate the movie when it came out, but "great" is a bit of a stretch. The lead role begs for someone we can like and admire even when he's behaving like a misanthrope, and Costner just doesn't have the range or the inherent charisma to pull that off. Don't get me wrong, I thought he was great in Dances With Wolves or even The Postman. I just think someone else could have made the stuff that wasn't dealing with over-the-top Dennis Hopper far more watchable.

(...Come to think of it, the entire heroic trio is kind of a blank, isn't it...?)

"...a rock solid premise."

Excuse me? Even if both polar ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet were to completely fucking melt there'd still be a shitload of dry land. It'd still be a calamity to be sure, but dry land would still be in sufficient quantity that it wouldn't be regarded as a myth by most of the general population.

That being said, I did like Waterworld for the most part. I agree that it did have a well-executed aesthetic and Dennis Hopper was the real stand-out. I think the reason it had so much scorn piled upon it is because it had ridiculously unrealistic expectations heaped upon it. People came in expecting the next big blockbuster, what they got was a distinctly average action romp which probably didn't justify its lavish price tag. The press surrounding its troubled production probably didn't help matters either.

A "solid" premise isn't the same as a scientifically accurate premise. It's a scifi movie. The premise doesn't have to be plausible, just interesting and fertile for storytelling.

Pretty much my thoughts exactly. Was it silly? Yes. Did any of it really make the slightest bit of sense? Hell no. Was it fun? Absolutely.

"...a rock solid premise."

Excuse me? Even if both polar ice caps and the Greenland ice sheet were to completely fucking melt there'd still be a shitload of dry land. It'd still be a calamity to be sure, but dry land would still be in sufficient quantity that it wouldn't be regarded as a myth by most of the general population.

The premise was simply "There's lots of water". Why that is or whether it's actually possible really isn't important.

As for dry land being regarded as a myth by most people, the intersting thing is that we're not ever actually told that, we're just left to assume it. All we see of the world is one tiny bit of ocean with a very small settlement plus a couple of nearby boats, and then at the end some land of unknown size. The Earth doesn't actually need to be drowned at all, this particular small group simply hasn't travelled far enough to notice that most of it's still there. This is supported by the fact that the little girl has clearly had contact with land before, and that the land they find looks like regular land with a rich biosphere rather than just being small islands where mountain peaks break the surface. Looked at this way, it's not just a good enough premise for a silly action film, it's actually reasonably plausible. After all, we have plenty of examples of cultures that didn't know much about the world outside their borders, this is just the slightly damp post-apocalyptic version.

Water World kind of reminds me of any episode of Doctor Who - extremely fun, but you have to suspend your belief a little in order to fully enjoy it. Sometimes, you just have to watch a movie for the fun of it, but we all know people have differing notions about what 'fun' is.

You've embarked on a journey over very choppy waters trying to defend this sinker, my dear floatational Sir Sterling.
But I love you no less for trying.
You are the man and I still "Thank Him for Jim" on a biweekly basis.

I can barely remember anything of Waterworld except not understanding why so many hated it. Maybe it was just unmemorable for such a memorable premise.

Now, I can't wait for Jim to do Star Trek V.

Yay! A move i watched and liked as a kid....still like it.

Jimothy Sterling:

Grab your flotation devices and man the lifeboats. Movie Defense Force is heading into dangerous waters.

Watch Video

I can get behind this one, I actually like this movie =)

It's definitely silly though

I recently re-watched Waterworld as part of a post-apocalyptic movie binge, and was surprised how enjoyable it was. I completely concur with your assessment, Jim!

My favorite character in the movie was Kevin Costner's boat, damn that boat was awesome, sucked when it died..

That's funny, I didn't realize I also posted on this site under the name "Worgen." (Explaining The Joke: I have said this exact same thing about the movie.)

Jim, I just like you more and more. I always thought Waterworld was a fun, silly, cheesy action movie with a great look to it, but people act like everyone can agree that it's just objectively bad or something.

It seems like I'm the target audience for this show (yes, me personally), since I prefer to enjoy movies for what they are rather than nitpick every detail, and I'm pretty much alone in that respect in my social circle. So I think this show could very well become my favorite one on the site. :D

(When are you doing Repo? I want that episode now!)

I remember watching it back in the 90s and thinking it was relatively mediocre. Not terrible, just boring. I haven't seen Face Off, but at least two of the movies you mention had several elements that pushed them above Waterworld in terms of quality: Independence day was was actually funny, not just silly (i.e. it had comedy that actually worked, and is still used as the basis of jokes to this day) and an adversary that seemed legitimately threatening. Hook had strong and memorable characters, as well as a theme to which children and their parents could relate.

While the somewhat over-the-top action sequences, reliance on slapstick in some scenes, and devotion to action tropes is the same in all three, pretending that this means there aren't other good reasons Independence Day and Hook were better received (and continue to be better thought of) is entirely disingenuous.

No. No, this one is still pretty darn bad. Plot points make little sense, characters are cardboard. Eh. The setting is fine, but that's all that's okay.

At least independence day had Will Smith.

I never saw Waterworld due to the terrible reception it's gotten, but now I think I'll have to seek out a copy...

Honestly, I'm surprised more movies/TV shows/games haven't explored the 'flooded earth' idea. This and Wind Waker are the only two examples that come to mind.

I can agree somewhat. I didn't think the movie was particularly good, but I liked it for some of the reasons listed. I figured out now that I wanted to see more of the floating cities and exploration of "old earth". They created a neat world and only let you peek at it.

I always thought this movie was bashed as a flop and not necessarily a bad movie. It killed Costner because no one wants a star that cannot attract viewers. That's how it worked then and how it works now.

Okay firstly i thought it was explained dirt was important because they had a few Plant seeds left and dirt could be used to grow the seeds into food, something kinda hard to find in post-apocalypse mega ocean.

Also i always wondered who these people were that hated this movie. it was a fun little romp through a flooded world. i agree with all points. It wasn't great, but it was fun.

Is the Star Wars prequels next? Come on Jim, lets see it. :D

It was YEARS after the movie came out, and years after I first watched it, that I realized that people didn't like Waterworld. When I heard it lost money, even then I never figured that it was widely disliked. I always figured it was a sort of cult classic, even comparable to Mad Max, just a bad business decision. It was hardley a classy, challenging tale, but it was very fun, and the setting was great.

To this day, whenever the idea of something being a myth comes up, it will immediately be compared to dry land.

Water World was a fun movie but it was also a bad movie. The one aspect of this whole movie defence force that has me rather confused is that these movies were declared bad by general concences because thats what people thought of it. Jim's defence aproaches the subject as if some evil movie overlord stamped bad on the cover and that was that. you can't tell someone they were wrong for liking or not liking something.

I saw water world, I thought it was fun but also a bad movie and have had no inclination to ever see it again. What about that has to be defended against? I just don't see the appeal of this segment... and I kind of hope Jim tries again with something else. there's nothing wrong with trying something new but much like a bad movie I just don't like this segment despite it having good bits...

Soooo were you gonna do David Lynch's Dune at some point? *my vote*

I don't know about that... Dune's pretty shitty. It's got a lot of "so bad it's good" qualities, but if we were to talk seriously about it... ehhhhhhh...

But that's just me.

Soooo were you gonna do David Lynch's Dune at some point? *my vote*

All I have to say:

See, I saw it when I was young too, and I never got why it was such a punching bag. Oh well.

I never even KNEW it was a punching bag, I always thought it was just a good ol action flick that was just an action flick

I find this movie incredebly boring, though not as boring as The Postman! There´s really no reason why it should run for 2½ hours, bland action scenes and a story that´s going nowhere.

Preach it, Jim! This movie was one of my all-time favorite popcorn-action films, right up there with Independence Day.

Edit: 1, people fear things different from them. Mutants are different. I never even questioned this; it's human nature. Countless stories play this trope without batting an eye.

2, dirt is valuable because it's the only way to grow FOOD. No hydroponics.

3, girl not swimming... yeah, I got nothin'. Maybe too young? No wading pools to learn in safely.

I wanted to say all this :(

The problem with the dirt he has is that it was from the (new) sea floor, it would be saturated with salt and unusable for farming unless it was cleaned and he clearly didnt have the capacity to clean it.

I think its funny that people point at his filter and say "you cant drink pee" when there are currently (and have been for some time) methods to filter waste water, in fact most of the water you drink is filtered waste water. But there are far better ways to make drinkable water given an abundance of sea water and multiple metal vessals to catch the water in. Take a pot fill it with salt water put a smaller pot in the middle as a "collection vessel" put a concave lid with a nub to cause the drips to go into the center collection chamber. Its not super fast but it works and he has nothing but time.

I've always held that Water World is right up there with Starship Troopers as one of my all-time favorite "horrible" movies. Just way too much fun to watch.

I thought this a pretty ugly mess. About the only think I care to remember was Jean Tripplehorn's body double in the failed seduction scene (and... why'd it fail? He isn't a selfless person.)

I don't think Independence Day was good, just more fun, less ugly, with more fun things to look upon. It too is no classic. But I put it a notch above this.

Three things I want from this:

1. Indiana Jones 4
2. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
3. Cars and Cars 2.

It was just a matter of time until you did Waterworld, and now that you did, I have some new perspective on it. There's definitely no other post-apocalyptic movie like it, and we are being oversaturated with the zombies. Waterworld was definitely a product of its time, when stacked with the other big dumb '90's action flicks. Speaking of which, is Judge Dredd on the menu?


So another movie that doesn't deserve the hate.
Made a pretty amusing Simpsons joke as well!

So did the postman (and that was a real turd-bomb). Remember that bit with Lisa watching The Postman on DVD? She said "Wow, this truly sucks!" and turned on director commentary, which was just Kevin Costner apologizing.

I didn't realize the movie was so highly reviled.

Now, the film has been long forgotten. But back when it was first released, indeed it received a lot of negative buzz. I think in time, the stigma it has received will be long forgotten as new generations watch without the expectations met at the time of the release, and people will enjoy the film more in its intended way - as a fun, fantastic action flick (not any of this serious crap we get in these overhyped Dark Knight flicks).

I'm a big fan of 80's and 90's flicks, and Waterworld is definitely in my top 10. And, god, I love that boat Costner has.

I'm still waiting for an MMORPG based on Waterworld. A few years back, I created a thread about an idea for one.

I never had a problem with this movie. I'd watch it instead of Independence Day or any of the Transformers movies.

Nice work Jim, I also didn't realize how much hate this movie received, I don't remember it getting much but I loved it then and I still do now. In fact I found it a lot more entertaining than independence day, and even some of the indiana jones movies of the time (don't care how bad that sounds). Plot hardly made sense, but that's not why I watched it. I just enjoyed the world and zany shit that happens in it, setpieces were very cool and I even had the great fortune of seeing it at universal studios I think it was. As a kid, that was pretty sick!

Is the Star Wars prequels next? Come on Jim, lets see it. :D

Now, those are truly indefensible movies.

I have to amdit that Kevin C. was the first reason I never watched this movie.

Now I going to watch it at least ONCE, because of Dennis Hopper.

I can appreciate the "good in a cheesy-bad sort of way, and hey, it was the 90s" argument.

But I am unconvinced, even (especially?) when benchmarking it against Roland Emmerich films.

The chief problem with this movie - other than the controversy surrounding the cost and sinking setpiece - is that it came after Costner was enjoying immense success from his beautifully-directed Dances With Wolves, and his star turn in Prince of Thieves as the only Briton from the American Midwest. On the heels of that came more overly ambitious and way-too-long movies, beginning with Wyatt Earp and Waterworld (which admittedly, by comparison, only FEELS three hours long), culminating in The Postman, and finally petering out with Thirteen Days. His ambitions seem to be scaled back considerably in the new century.

All that said, I felt his best real drama is long behind him (The Untouchables), and other than that, all his good movies are sports movies (specifically his baseball movies, but I liked Tin Cup as well). Even as a leading man, he just works better when he has a chance to disappear into some good-ole everyman role, and not even the Tom Hanks, Jimmy Stewart capital-E Everyman role, where we're compelled to watch HIM perform, but when he's one of us, and the story is the main character and he is merely our avenue through which to experience it. In that way, he's like Nicolas Cage: very serviceable if he's an experiential character, and not someone who's being asked to carry the story on his own back.

But sad to say, this defense, admirable as it may be, does not persuade me to commute the sentence on this particular film.


Is the Star Wars prequels next? Come on Jim, lets see it. :D

Now, those are truly indefensible movies.

There's a lot that can be said about those movies. A lot of bad, but there are some good parts to them.

OT: I'm sorry, but Waterworld is just a terrible fucking movie. It's not fun terrible like Demolition Man or any of the other action 90's flicks. It's just fucking terrible. Costner is wooden and unlikable, the girls are annoying and stupid. Even with Hopper's fun as the villain, his career is filled with better roles that are equally, if not more, fun(like Speed).

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