Sometime in the future the world has turned to water because of climate change. Survivors adapt by living off ships and whatever resources they could imagine from this less than inhabitable world, where human waste may even come in handy to survive. How they managed to build ships is left unexplained, but that’s not that important to enjoying an exciting action film, but not something that really touches where it itches, when it comes to current day climate change fear.
Made twenty-five years ago, the four-out-of-five-star Waterworld (1995) is a bit like Mad Max on water, an apocalyptic nightmare that has a solid, reliable hero.
A survivor, The Mariner (Kevin Costner) is tough, mean-ish, and able to generate empathy for his less than savoury character. He’s a bit of Mad Max mixed with aquatic tendencies, including gills, and a good heart underneath. He fights off ruthless killers, who come on their ‘homemade’ motorboats brandishing guns, seeking one of The Mariner’s companions who may have a map that leads to landfall. These killers seek to set up land under the nefarious rule of their megalomaniac leader (played by Dennis Hopper).
The Mariner may be an unbelievable futuristic hero with his adaptation of swimming apparatus, thus rendering less comfort to the audience in the prospect of a future with climate change. The story doesn’t do much to explain itself, but a couple of amazing set pieces that defy belief are fun nevertheless, and packed in with exciting action scenes, fun caricatures of the ‘bad guys’, insertions of off-colour wit, a solid, reliable hero, a villain who isn’t bluffing, and quieter moments in the middle of the ocean, where people turn up out of the blue, some don’t have playing cards on their minds. Gritty, exciting PG-13 stuff. 3/4.