Saturday, May 25, 2024

Is It Bad?: Waterworld (1995)

 With Mr. Costner in the News these days for his Big Budget Western Opus costing lots of money, let's look at his most famous example of that from 29 years ago.


It cost LOTS of money.
It was a troubled production.
Its Star took over as Director.

When people point to 'Films that cost too much money to make,' this is always the example.

Is it bad though?

Pro: The Film has a unique feel with its World covered almost entirely in Water.

Nobody has tried this since, at least not without heavy use of CGI to avoid actual water.

Con: Kevin Costner's Mariner is just Mad Max.
I mean...he is.
Pro: Dennis Hopper as the Villain is a delight.  He's not quite as cartoonish in his portrayal here as he was in Super Mario Bros.

That said, he's the butt of more jokes than a normal Hopper Character.

Pro: While outright evil in his execution(s), the Villain is just seeking what everyone else is- Dry Land.
Pro: Some Scenes really hold up- like the Attack on the Floating City Scene.

It was shot for real and the key aspects- like ramps used, for instance- are 100% practical and shown in full.  No shortcuts...

Con: Using the shortcuts would have made the Film cost half as much and been done on time.

Also, some of these Scenes are really chaotic and hard to follow.
Pro: The 'slow chase' nature of the Film is interesting.  It's not like you can hide or anything- it is an Ocean and (looks) flat as hell.

Pro: That's Jack Black as the Pilot that spots them.  Neat.
Pro: With its giant sets (and Ocean), the Film feels grand in scale.

Con: That said, the Plot never goes above 'Bad guy want child.  Good guy save child.'
Plus, Costner's Mariner is pretty insufferable for the first half.

Pro: A big, silly final with explosions, an airship, a big old crash.

A happy ending is nice, ignoring the minor Sequel Bait.

The End.

What's Good?
The Film is a big, epic tale full of explosions and adventure.  The World isn't super-fleshed out, but does feel lived in.

Costner and company do a good job making everything seem real.  The fact that he was unhappy at the time- apparently, he was getting divorced- is often said to weirdly help his portrayal, as he can really pull off annoyed and detached.

You can really see where the money went here, so the infamous Budget isn't just about paying Actor A  $20,000,000 and going from there.

What's Bad?
Ultimately, the Plot is just an inversion of Mad Max (the whole world is Water and there's no sand/dirt).

The Mariner is Mad Max from The Road Warrior- for better or worse.

The Plot is not that deep if you do any digging.  Costner's Mariner does grow and learn to care, but you have to deal with him being awful for quite a while.


Is It Bad?
The Film is not exactly deep, but the Film is an enjoyable spectacle that has aged well.

It lives on in a Series of Stunt Shows that still go on at Universal, be it Hollywood or Singapore.

That was a gimme, right?  Let me do some more topical ones in the near future.  Maybe some with Ryan Reynolds...

No comments:

Post a Comment