Metascore
56

Mixed or average reviews - based on 17 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 8 out of 17
  2. Negative: 1 out of 17
  1. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    90
    A pretty damn good summer movie.
  2. Waterworld is often entertaining because it's screwy. Could even Ed Wood Jr. have come up with those cigarette-puffing villains, in a world with hardly enough dirt for a tobacco plant? [28 July 1995]
  3. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    75
    A two hour aquatic pursuit pic with bruising stunts, fun-to-watch performances, a dozen good chortles and imposing Panavision renderings of post-apocalyptic crud, Waterworld clearly has the makings of a cult movie.
  4. 75
    The script doesn't do a great job with either the spiritual or the physical trek, but the spectacular action sequences occur with enough regularity that strong writing isn't necessary to keep Waterworld afloat.
  5. Costner's surfer-bum affectlessness works here; he turns the Mariner into the world's most jaded lifeguard.
  6. If the story seems a little waterlogged, it's still big, loud, and fun to watch.
  7. 67
    Nowhere near the Hollywood disaster that was foretold, Waterworld is a near-model summer fantasy: two hours and 21 minutes of loud, expansive fun.
  8. 63
    A decent futuristic action picture with some great sets, some intriguing ideas, and a few images that will stay with me.
  9. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    60
    A not-bad futuristic actioner with three or four astounding sequences, an unusual hero, a nifty villain and less mythic and romantic resonance than might be desired.
  10. At least Dennis Hopper plays the bad guy with wildness and wit. Costner's stolid hero seems a washout by comparison.
  11. It's really not bad... It's a genuine vault at greatness that misses the mark -- but survives.
  12. Reviewed by: Barbara Shulgasser
    50
    Sublimely ridiculous.
  13. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    50
    Its mediocrity guarantees this lavish, soggy retread of futuristic Australian action classic "The Road Warrior" a place in the ranks of forgotten extravaganzas.
  14. It lacks the coherent fantasy of truly enveloping science fiction, preferring to concentrate on flashy, isolated stunts that say more about expense than expertise. [28 July 1995]
  15. 50
    Waterworld isn't "Fishtar," but Kevin Costner's pricey, post-apocalyptic sloshbuckler isn't a seafaring classic either.
  16. Though Waterworld has some haunting underwater visual moments, the film's impact is weakened by flat dialogue, an overemphasis on jokeyness and a plot that, despite all those screenwriters, does not satisfactorily hold together at any number of points.
  17. This movie feels like it was made by a bank rather than a person.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 47 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 10
  2. Negative: 1 out of 10
  1. j30
    Feb 13, 2012
    5
    Before Titanic came out, Waterworld was the most expensive film ever produced. Comparing the two is like night and day. Even though I don't particularly care for Titanic I think if once you have a commander of the screen and someone with a vision like James Cameron you're going to have substantial differences in results. Titanic full of ambition (like Waterworld), took home 11 Oscars while Waterworld was just nominated for 1 Oscar (Best Sound). Full Review »
  2. May 27, 2014
    1
    Welcome to Waterworld, where men need to have long haircuts, women need to have short haircuts, and Kevin Costner acts like a total retard for over two hours. Full Review »
  3. May 24, 2014
    8
    I don't really understand the lack of success this movie had. The only real problem this movie suffers from is that it lacks balance. It tries to be a serious movie about the hardships of life on this aquatic world only to shift gears and become a childish action flick when the bad guys get their screen time. But, there's so much to like here. The movie looks and sounds great with good attention to details and the sets, especially the atoll, are stunning. The story is interesting enough and at times the movie is emotional and funny, so it engages the viewer. I have watched the film a couple of times and I was never bored. Full Review »