Universal/1995/136m/ANA 1.85

     Concerns with production budgets of major Hollywood films have been piled so high that often the movie going audience cannot see beyond the barrier. Granted, if we had to pay our pro-rata share of a film's budget to gain admittance, it might be good reason for pause, but that's not the case. The free market determines how much exhibitors can charge for a ticket. So, when a budget, like Waterworld's, rises to tidal wave proportions, it's the studio's problem. Me, I just go see the movie. And what a mistake to have given Waterworld the short shrift because of all that constipated budget hoopla. Waterworld is a terrific action movie, derivative, yes, but the execution is handled with distinction.
     Comparisons with The Road Warrior, the apocalyptic Australian film which starred Mel Gibson, cannot be ignored, but if the writers of Waterworld had to choose to expand on something, this was a good choice. The pockets of survivors transfer well from the dry land of The Road Warrior to the ocean covered face of Waterworld. There's plenty of fun in watching the bikers on water attacking a cleverly constructed floating fort constructed of collected debris. What is constantly mystifying in Waterworld is where these survivors managed to cadge all the materials necessary to exist in there world when paper is so precious it's value may even rival dirt.
     There is a nice balance between the various biker jetski assaults and some of the more contemplative moments that take place on the hero's cleverly constructed catamaran. Kevin Costner plays the hero in Waterworld, a mutant formed by the apocalypse, half man, half fish(rest assured mostly man). Called "The Mariner," Costner combines a stoic nature with robust physicality to create an outstanding film hero. On his boat, he's at one with the environment, a man at peace with the laws of his world; but he sure can swing into action when sundry challenges arrive. Believe or not, this Costner is one of the most believable action heroes the screen has seen in years. Costner gets excellent support from an interesting Jean Tripplehorn as an unattached women trying to survive. Tina Majorino as the young child who is to lead these water bound characters to land is a delight. The scenes between Costner and Majorino are outstanding and his eventual rescue of the child is pure pleasure. You've got to love this kid as she extols the virtues of her hero to the villains. Costner works wonderfully with children. Dennis Hopper leads the mad crew of water bikers on their relentless pursuit of nastiness. Hopper is broad in spewing his villainous venom, but he remains acceptably within the bounds of action convention to create an entertaining character.
     Production design by Dennis Gassner is outstanding. The floating atoll fort is an entertainment in itself and the interiors on Hopper's command ship, the salvaged Exxon Valdez(right, that's a bit much)provide an excellent pathway for Costner's acrobatics. The production succeeds in creating an image of it's own world. Dean Semler's photography is extremely handsome, though there are times when various weather conditions make it difficult for seamless editing. Kevin Reynolds, with an acrimonious assist from Kevin Costner in the editing room, has fashioned a hugely entertaining action canvas. The battles are dynamic and worth the price of admission alone.
     An absolutely stunning DVD that captures the breathtaking camera work of Waterworld, this anamorphic widescreen transfer is sharp as can be with dynamic consistent colors. Viewed on Component output, there are virtually no evident NTSC artifacts. Difficult oceans landscapes are flawless. The film-like quality combines with the action for a mesmerizing movie experience. The Dolby 5:0 sound is very active and the bass extension packs plenty of wallop.





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Direct from the corridors of the Home Theater Forum, Home Theater Talk is the newest place on the Net to discuss everything home theater. Friendly atmosphere and knowledgeable folks are the secret ingredients.

DVD Informix is a British site providing a variety of DVD information, including lots of DVD software. Check it out from articles to links.

The  Movie Poster Archive include extensive poster images from the films of stars like Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas, Katharine Hepburn and many more. This month's featured star is Susan Hayward