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DVD Reviews

HTF DVD REVIEW: Waterworld: 2-Disc Extended Edition

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#1 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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Posted November 08 2008 - 12:46 PM


Studio: Universal
Original Release: 1995
Length: 2 hours 16 mins (Theatrical Release) 2 hours 57 mins (Extended Cut)
Genre: Science Fiction/Action

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Color/B&W: Color

  • English Dolby Digital 5.1 (Both Versions)
  • Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)
  • French Dolby Digital 5.1 (Theatrical Version Only)

    Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French
    Rating: PG-13 (Intense Sci-Fi Action and Violence, Brief Nudity & Language)
    (Extended Cut is Unrated but has been Edited for Television)

  • Release Date: November 4, 2008

    Rating: 2 ½ ½

    Starring: Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tina Majorino and Michael Jeter

    Written by: Peter Rader and David Twohy
    Directed by: Kevin Reynolds

    Waterworld returns to home video, accompanied this time by a version extended by 41 minutes for television airings. The film itself remains a curiosity of the 1990’s – a remake of The Road Warrior set in a post-greenhouse effect Earth where the oceans have swallowed the land. The film was notorious during its production for major cost overruns – almost all of which dealt with the giant scope of the film, and with the difficulties of filming sequences on open water. (Ironically, The Road Warrior was a much more inexpensive film to make – given that it could be filmed in existing areas, using modified vehicles and stripped down wardrobe and designs. Waterworld ironically uses much of the same design structure, but transplants it to the water environment, where it feels more than a little out of place.) In its original version, the film drags a bit but contains a few interesting action sequences (an atoll raid in the second act, the final conflict on the “Deez” tanker) to keep things from bogging down. The extended cut adds a lot of material throughout the film, fleshing out some of the characters and providing an explanation for the location used in the film’s final minutes. But I must admit that the added minutes also add to the drag, and at nearly 3 hours, it’s quite a long sit for what is essentially a remake of a 90 minute chase film. Further, the longer cut is apparently the same edit as was seen on television, including any cuts to language or action. (The film begins with a disclaimer that it has been “edited for content”.) As I’m not an expert on this film, I can’t point to specific cuts – but it really does feel like the viewer is watching an anamorphic transfer of what aired on television without any of the non-television content restored.

    This DVD edition contains the original theatrical version on one disc and the extended cut on another disc. The only extra here is a non-anamorphic trailer for the original release. The picture and sound quality varies greatly between the theatrical version and the extended cut, with the theatrical version looking and sounding leagues better than the longer one. Fans of the film will likely want to pick this up for the longer cut, but more casual viewers should rent it first. I also note that even the packaging indicates how much attention was put into detail here - the cover art has Dennis Hopper's eyepatch reversed for no reason I can fathom.

    VIDEO QUALITY: ½/5 ½ (Theatrical) 2/5 (Extended Cut)

    Waterworld is presented in an anamorphic 1.85:1 widescreen for both versions, but the similarities end there. The theatrical version has a bright transfer that literally sparkles at times during the many water sequences, and which shows a wide range of colors. The extended version is a different affair – the transfer here is much dirtier and rougher. Outdoor daylight sequences are a key indicator of the difference. Where one such shot in the theatrical version has a clear sky with a high level of detail, the same shot in the extended version has a very noisy background all through the sky. The effect becomes more pronounced if you watch scenes from the theatrical version and then immediately watch the same ones in the extended cut.

    AUDIO QUALITY: 3 ½/5 ½ (Theatrical) 2 ½/5 ½ (Extended Cut)

    Waterworld is presented in a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix in English, French and Spanish for the Theatrical Version, and in an English 5.1 mix for the Extended Cut. Both versions make solid use of the surround channels for atmosphere, directional effects and music, but the Theatrical Version is a stronger mix with more oomph to it. The Extended Cut does make use of the surrounds, but at a lower volume and with a lot less muscle.


    Waterworld has only a single special feature with this release, not counting the extended cut itself.

    On the first disc, we find:

    Theatrical Trailer (2:11, Non-anamorphic) – A non-anamorphic trailer for the film is included on the same disc as the Theatrical Version.

    Subtitles are available in English, French and Spanish for both versions of the film. A standard chapter menu is included for quick reference on each disk.

    IN THE END...

    Waterworld is presented for the fans in its longer form, albeit with a lower quality transfer than the theatrical version. Fans of this film will likely enjoy the additional material, but more casual viewers may find that it simply makes a long film even longer.

    Kevin Koster
    November 8, 2008.

    #2 of 12 OFFLINE   Steve Christou

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    Posted November 08 2008 - 12:59 PM

    Made me smile seeing 'Kevin Koster' reviewing 'Kevin Costner's infamous sci-fi epic, what are the odds eh? Posted Image

    Thanks for the review, the film is a guilty pleasure but I'm disappointed the extended version is basically a spruced up version of the tv edit. I was hoping for a proper re-edit and remastering for a special uncut extended dvd version, no such luck. I might have to stick with the fan edit.

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    #3 of 12 OFFLINE   TonyD


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    Posted November 08 2008 - 06:06 PM

    from another review it looks like this is exactly the tv edit, including language and nudity cuts/edits. I know there was a longer cut that has aired on starz and one of the encore channels, i neber saw that so i can't say if there is an unedited version of the longer cut.

    #4 of 12 OFFLINE   Robert Fielder

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    Posted November 09 2008 - 12:39 AM

    Just as I predicted in the other Waterworld thread, the extended version retains the television edits. I'll still pick this up since I never did own this movie on DVD, but I'll probably be sticking to the "Ulysses Cut" whenever I want to watch it (or just make my own composite version, since the DVDs will have superior sound/image quality)

    BTW, the official release date is Nov. 11, not the 4th. Almost made me rush out to the store to pick it up Posted Image

    #5 of 12 OFFLINE   Kevin EK

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    Posted November 09 2008 - 07:02 AM

    I thought the release date was the 4th - in that I saw it for sale at my local DVD retailer this weekend...

    #6 of 12 OFFLINE   Bob Cashill

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    Posted November 09 2008 - 07:39 AM

    Amazon shipped it last week. The release date it has is 11/4.

    #7 of 12 OFFLINE   Robert Fielder

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    Posted November 09 2008 - 10:17 AM

    Whoops, you're both right. It is the 4th.

    #8 of 12 OFFLINE   Frank@N



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    Posted November 09 2008 - 10:23 AM

    U lost an easy sale here from me... I have the HD version of Waterworld, but would have bought this DVD as well if the extra 40 minutes had been viewable separately as a deleted scene archive. I like the new packaging, but sadly I'm NOT sitting through 3 hours of shoddy PQ just to see what I'm missing. This is an odd reversal of the Dune situation, where the TV cut looked better than the TC on DVD. Watched the Dune TC recently after the TV cut just to see the bits of violence and whatnot that was trimmed for TV. Oddly enough, the HD Dune TC had a newer transfer and is much cleaner than the last DVD release (according to reviews).

    #9 of 12 OFFLINE   TonyD


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    Posted November 09 2008 - 10:31 AM

    when i buy the WW tv cut I want the extra scenes in the film so i can see the longer cut of the film.

    I don't want to watch the extra scenes again outside of the film.
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    #10 of 12 OFFLINE   Patrick H.

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    Posted November 09 2008 - 10:50 AM

    Hadn't seen this film since it came out, so I picked this up last weekend on a whim. After watching chunks of the TV cut, then the theatrical version, what was released in theaters definitely holds up better. Language/violence edits aside, the additional footage is interesting, but not that essential. On the technical front, though, is it me or does the theatrical cut develop a severe warble in the soundtrack by the time the credits roll? The alternate-language tracks sound okay, but the English 5.1 sounded so unstable it was distracting.

    #11 of 12 OFFLINE   Matt Butler

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    Posted November 11 2008 - 06:54 AM

    I want the extended cut but Im afraid to buy this cause id rather have WW in Blu. Im trying not to buy any more SD.
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    #12 of 12 OFFLINE   SD_Brian


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    Posted November 11 2008 - 02:05 PM

    I'm not a fan of this movie but I am a fan of troubled productions and productions don't get much more troubled than Waterworld. If this release had contained a nice, juicy behind-the-scenes documentary, I would have snapped it up in a heartbeat.

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