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|Written by Agnes Cadieux|
|Tuesday, 31 August 2010 00:00|
After the catastrophic melting of the polar ice caps, the world's land masses lie beneath a vast ocean. The human race as we know it is wiped out. The few survivors that are left are stranded on rusty settlements known as atolls that float randomly across the ocean. They struggle to trade for food, supplies, and freshwater, and fend off pirates known as "smokers." At least this is the concept of our future director Kevin Reynolds had in mind when making Waterworld.
Kevin Costner plays a nameless drifter who reluctantly agrees to help an atoll woman named Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn) and her charge Enola (Tina Majorino) after their settlement is attacked by smokers. Things take a turn for the worse when the drifter learns that the smokers are after Enola because the tattoo on her back is some kind of key to the mythical Dry Land.
Produced in 1995, the film was the most expensive film of its time, costing over $175 million to make, a far cry from its original $100 million budget. Despite winning an ASCAP Award for top box office films, being nominated for an Oscar, the sci-fi/fantasy Saturn Award, BAFTA Film Award -- and several Razzies -- the film only grossed $88 million in North America. And this also came with a price tag of various life-threatening injuries (including one cast away stunt man, decompression sickness, and multiple jellyfish stings,) one rejected original music score, and a falling out between Kevin Reynolds and lead actor Kevin Costner.
But putting the drama of Hollywood aside, the film was, in my opinion, quite well done. The cinematography was stunning with scene after scene of breathtaking visuals and unique settings. The plot was somewhat lacking, and I thought they could have delved a little deeper into this world since there were some contradictions like how the survivors didn't know what a clarinet or a yo-yo was, yet the oil tanker the smokers inhabited still had oil (a product they called "black stuff"), and they had the means of refining it into 'go-juice' (diesel or gasoline). This technology made the futuristic era a little confusing for me because at one point, the primitive behavior of the atoll settlements made me think the flooding happened quite some time ago, but the great abundance of cigarettes the smokers possessed (not to mention Dennis Hopper's character's knowledge of golf) made the timeline a little fuzzy. Overall, it is a good escapist movie, the kind you sit down to watch when you don't really want to think too deeply about an issue like global warming but still like to entertain the thought accompanied by the occasional exploding jet ski.
We've all considered at one time or another what would happen if global warming actually did melt our polar ice caps, but there is not enough water in the world to create such an event. Even if all the ice melted at once, it would only raise the sea level 66m or 200ft. We would lose many of the world's coastal cities, but there would still be plenty of land left. And it would not melt all at once; therefore, there would be plenty of time to notice that your tomatoes are drowning.