Senior HTF Member
- May 9, 2003
2-DISC EXTENDED EDITION
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
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 :star: :star: 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 :star: :star: :star: ½ (Theatrical) 2/5 :star: :star: (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 :star: :star: :star: ½ (Theatrical) 2 ½/5 :star: :star: 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.
SPECIAL FEATURES: ½
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.
November 8, 2008.