August 14, 1995 -- ``Waterworld,'' that long-awaited film some pundits have dubbed ``Fishtar,'' has floated into Laramie on a tide of red ink.
The movie, reportedly the most expensive ever made, isn't all that bad, but for the amount of money spent on it, it should have been better. The plot concerns a future earth where the polar icecaps have melted and what's left of humanity is lost at sea.
Kevin Costner plays the Mariner, a mutant with gills and webbed feet who sails an awesome high-tech trimaran. He sails waterworld with a perpetual scowl on his face.
The Mariner gets hooked up with Helen (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn) and her daughter, Enola (played by Tina Majorino), who live in a floating atoll that closely resembles the desert refinery in ``The Road Warrior.''
It turns out that Enola has a map tattooed to her back that points the way to dry land. A group of ``smokers,'' a roving band of marauders led by Deacon (Dennis Hopper), also find out about the map and they set off after the Mariner, Helen and Enola.
The movie does have some impressive battle scenes when the smokers attack the atoll. The sailing scenes are also good. You can see where they spent the money. The sets are full-sized, no wimpy miniatures. This is adventure on a grand scale.
So many action films, such as ``Die Hard'' and the ``Alien'' movies, take place in cramped, dark, small places. This is one of the few that takes place mostly in daylight and is mostly shot outdoors, on location.
The movie does have its problems, however. Costner's one-note performance gets old after a while. There are some plot holes, such as Costner's sudden change of heart.
Also, the film is more fantasy than science fiction. The future depicted in the film is impossible. For one thing, there isn't enough water on the planet, even with melted icecaps, to raise the sea level even a few hundred feet, let alone 10,000 feet or more depicted in the movie.
There are many interesting technical problems that would have to be overcome by people living in such a world, but yet the story hardly mentions them.
Despite these deficiencies, the movie does deliver some memorable action scenes and there are some spectacular sets to look at. Too bad the story doesn't match the budget. This movie rates a C+.
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