It’s kind of hard to say that this movie should be rebooted since among many others I did happen to like it, but it’s also possible to admit that it needed a bit of help that it didn’t receive during the course of the story. Ignoring the science that says that Waterworld wouldn’t be as much of a possibility as this movie suggests, the story is a compelling one since science does mention that at one time the world was covered almost entirely, or perhaps entirely, with water. But skipping the long, drawn-out explanation of what happened, it stands to reason that if the ice caps melted today it wouldn’t cause the deluge that this movie was based around. The coastal regions would rise quite a bit, but landmasses would remain. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into the story and discuss what could possibly be done to make this thing work again. There are a lot of great elements in the story, but something prevented it from being the smash hit that was needed to cover the budget.
The movie did eventually make money after the humongous costs that had to be covered, but public opinion kind of killed the whole idea of it before that could happen since the production issues and whatever else happened before this movie could really get going tend to plague Waterworld in a very irritating way. But the overall story is great since it focuses on a world where the melting of the polar ice caps did in fact cover the world almost entirely and left humans to find a way to survive on the junk that they found floating in the ocean from time to time. Entire atolls where communities continued to survive, not necessarily thrive, existed on the sea, anchoring themselves somehow or perhaps just drifting slowly from time to time. The dynamics of each atoll are hard to figure since unless they did have a set anchor point they likely would have continued to drift, and a nautical map might have been kind of useless.
Anyway, the story of the Mariner, played by Kevin Costner, is an interesting one since, aboard his trimaran, the heavily-customized and rough-looking vessel that dominates a good portion of this movie, he has the kind of solitude that would likely drive some people crazy. But his secret is let out at what be called the right moment after he trades a jar of dirt at an atoll for pretty much everything can take, including large tanks of hydro, fresh water in other words, and everything he can find that might be of some use or value. The idea that everything is put to use in this world no matter how obscure it might be is kind of intriguing since one has to wonder what might be useful and what would be of no use to anyone in a world like this. But the Mariner’s secret, the fact that he’s a mutation with gills and webbed feet, sets him apart from the regular humans, who are actually worse off since they have to resort to inbreeding at one point to produce any viable offspring.
The main antagonists of the movie, the Smokers, are more like cartoon villains, but they do the job since the Deacon, played by the late Dennis Hopper, was actually a funny character that had a mild aura of threat about him when he wasn’t being kind of silly. But the main goal of this movie, to find dry land using a map that was tattooed on the back of a young girl (I know, stay with me on this one) is what eventually takes over as the main quest. It could be that the many elements that were used didn’t come together as they needed to, especially since the story of the Mariner and that of Enola, the girl that belonged to a place that many thought was a myth, didn’t really come together until closer to the end of the movie. Even finding out that the surviving humans had come to believe that the world around them had been created as an unending ocean, instead of being covered by the seas, was kind of interesting. But it still didn’t mesh.
A reboot of this movie could possibly be accomplished with a lesser budget, and it’s something that would be nice to see as a challenge to someone like James Cameron, who might actually think of it as a good idea. There have been talks of this apparently, as far as bringing the movie back, but at this time nothing has really come of it. Maybe it’s time to roll the dice and see what could happen, and who might be best in which role, since many of those that were in the movie have aged quite a bit or have passed away. Hey, it did release in 1995, and 26 years can change things around quite a bit.