Feb 182019

Waterworld over the course of 20 years has washed away (so to speak) some of the negativity related to its lackluster box office set against its tremendous budget. Watching all these years later, and the long awaited Ulysses Cut no less, I found it to be a really fun apocalyptic action-thriller.




Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Adventure
Arrow Video | NR – 135 min. / 176 min. / 178 min. – $49.95 | January 22, 2019

Date Published: 02/18/2019 | Author: The Movieman

Directed by: Kevin Reynolds
Writer(s): Peter Raider and David Twohy (written by)
Cast: Kevin Costner, Dennis Hopper, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Tina Majorino, Michael Jeter
Features: Featurettes, Galleries, Trailers, TV Spots
Slip Cover: Yes (slip case)
Digital Copy: No
Formats Included: Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 3
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.85
Subtitles: English SDH
Disc Size: 48.98 GB (Theatrical Cut), 48.50 GB (TV Cut), 48.77 GB (Ulysses Cut)
Total Bitrate: 37.65 Mbps (Theatrical Cut), 36.36 Mbps (TV Cut), 36.32 Mbps (Ulysses Cut)
Codecs: MPEG-4 AVC
Region(s): A

Arrow Video provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

THE MOVIE — 3.75/5

Note: For this review, I watched the “Ulysses” Cut so my comments pertain to that version, which runs approximately 43 minutes longer than the Theatrical Cut.

I have not seen Waterworld in a very long time, probably last saw it on VHS in 1997 or 1998 (don’t recall watching it on DVD). So with that said, with my limited time and only would be able to watch one of the three cuts, I chose to check out the long awaited “Ulysses” version as I do have some memories of the theatrical cut and chose to sit down for this nearly 3-hour epic post apocalyptic action-adventure. And you know what? It actually wasn’t half bad.

Although not without its problems, there were times it felt a scooch too long, this was just an incredibly entertaining film that at times has an old-timey swashbuckling vibe combined with the watery post-apocalyptic wasteland (so to speak), a la Mad Max, and with Kevin Costner’s charisma combined with Jeanne Tripplehorn’s feisty persona and Dennis Hopper chewing up the scenery as only Dennis Hopper could do, especially back in the 90s (see Super Mario Bros. and even Speed).

The film not only had the dubious notoriety of being the largest budgets — Titanic would take the crown two years later — with a $175 million budget ($292 million today), it also found director Kevin Reynolds (Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves) butting heads with not only the studio, but Kevin Costner himself, who would take the film across the finish line when Reynolds quit. Thankfully, unlike Justice League, and probably because Costner’s part in directing was perhaps a fraction, there were no noticeable differences in their styles.

In the end, Waterworld is hardly perfect, but it was an incredibly entertaining flick and even richer in story thanks to the nearly three-hour Ulysses Cut which added more plot that was entirely removed in the theatrical cut, including a nice reveal at the end. Costner and Tripplehorn were great together and Hopper made for an absolutely fun villain.



The 3-disc set is contained in a clear HD keep case, which has reversible artwork, which side slides into a hard outer cover. Also inside is a double-sided poster and a 58-page booklet. Inside the case are 6 production still cards. Discs 2 & 3 have “The TV Cut” and “The ‘Ulysses’ Cut” respectively, no features on either of those discs.

Maelstrom: The Odyssey of Waterworld (1:42:22; HD) is a newly produced and feature length making-of retrospective documentary that features new interviews with director Kevin Reynolds, screenwriter Peter Rader and many others, though Costner, Tripplehorn and Majorino were archive interviews. Still, even without the core cast this is a well done featurette delving into the origins of the project, how it became so expensive and its legacy.

Dances with Waves (9:20; HD) is an archival featurette showing the film’s production.

Global Warnings (22:21; HD) – Film critic Glenn Kenny explores the subgenre of end-of-the-world Hollywood blockbusters.

Image Galleries:

  • Production Image Gallery with Concept Art, Production Stills, Behind the Scenes (Hawaii, L.A.), Miniature and Visual Effects
  • Promotional Image Gallery contains poster art

Original Trailers:

  • Original Teaser
  • Original Trailer
  • Original TV Spots


VIDEO – 4.75/5

Waterworld comes to Blu-ray courtesy of Arrow Video where it has been given a new 1080p high-definition transfer, presented in its original 1.85 widescreen aspect ratio. Per the included notes, this picture was taken from a 4K scan of the original 35mm film negative; instances of dust, dirt and scratches were presumably cleaned up while the natural film grain was retained. Scenes from the longer versions were from the original intermediary elements and also scanned at 4K resolution and honestly, I could not tell the difference. With the grading supervised and approved by the director of photography Dean Semler, the 40+ minutes of additional footage appeared flawlessly integrated. As for specifics on the transfer, detail levels were amazingly sharp and colors are amazingly vibrant from the blues of the oceans to the skin tones which had a natural appearance; black levels meanwhile were stark without looking crushed.

AUDIO – 4.0/5

Both the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 and 2.0 tracks were restored by NBC Universal and for the most part, sounds great with the action sequences showing off great depth while dialogue sounded crisp and clear. The only downside was, especially early on and probably during the extended scenes, some of the sound effects were incomplete so such as when Tripplehorn sits down on the boat, it’s just a blank spot in the audio. This only occurred maybe a couple of times so not a big deal and presumably those couple of instances were missing.


OVERALL – 4.5/5

Overall, Waterworld over the course of 20 years has washed away (so to speak) some of the negativity related to its lackluster box office set against its tremendous budget. Watching all these years later, and the long awaited Ulysses Cut no less, I found it to be a really fun apocalyptic action-thriller with great set pieces and some fine acting from Costner, Tripplehorn and an over-the-top Hopper. This amazing Arrow Video release comes with excellent video/audio transfers and a really good selection of bonus features.





Check out some more 1080p screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.

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