Rated: PG-13 Reviewed by: Linda Release date: July 28, 1995 Released by: Universal Studios, Inc.
Kevin Costner's extravagant new film makes for a good case study on the distinctly immeasurable relationship between the size of a film's budget and its artistic effectiveness. Seeing this film, I was struck with an odd analogy: Waterworld is to the film world what Surya Bonaly is to the skating world. It has all the technical expertise and thrilling acrobatics, but the overall performance lacks a certain "je ne sais quoi." In fact, it lacks what could only be described as grace or fluidity (no pun intended).
I headed to the cinema on a steamy summer evening, finding refreshment by merely turning the title over in my mind. Much to my chagrin, however, the film features more flaming explosions than cool oceanic wonders. The film's stars, Kevin Costner and Jeanne Tripplehorn, beautiful in their own right, are made even more so by being the only attractive characters in the film. Even Costner is cold and unattractive at the onset, making for a very unsatisfying introduction.
Due to the film's much publicized record-breaking budget, I was immediately attuned to the special effects. These do not disappoint. However, with a weak storyline and dialogue behind them, they are wasted. The acting is also bad, certainly due to the poor dialogue. As a fan of virtually all of Costner's previous work, it pains me to say it, but this film is barely mediocre. Part slapstick, part serious, I'd have to sum it up by asking Kevin Costner, "Is this your vision?"