Kevin Costner Claims Waterworld Is "Beloved"

Actor jumps to the defense of his infamous flop.

Ah, the '90s. There was a time filled with truly beloved blockbusters. James Cameron gave us Terminator 2, Steven Spielberg offered up Jurassic Park, Kevin Reynolds delivered Waterworld... Hold on - Waterworld wasn't beloved. It was an infamous flop, the film that initiated star Kevin Costner's rapid decline. Yet "beloved" is exactly how Costner described the film to Jeff Wells of Hollywood Elsewhere. Despite the film's horrible reputation and its negative affect on the actor's career, Costner defended the film ardently:
€œI€™m not sure you know how hard people work . I€™m not sure you know how beloved the movie is around the world..."
Waterworld's box-office total of $264 million doesn't immediately scream failure, but when you consider the film's vast $175 million budget (huge today, absolutely unfathomable in 1995) it was a disaster. The film was rife with production problems (apparently director Kevin Reynolds was fired and replaced by Costner late in the day), with its impressive physical sets ramping up the price-tag astronomically. Still, whilst I certainly wouldn't describe Waterworld as beloved, it's really not that bad either. So yeah, I halfway agree with Costner. Waterworld is a movie to whom the media owes an apology. Looking to topple Costner from his perch, the film was relentlessly set upon for months leading up to release, and the schadenfreude following its failure held for years. Both the theatrical and director's cuts of Waterworld are clunky, but the movie's sheer ambition elevates it above the level of total dreck. Throw in a couple of well executed action beats and a manic Dennis Hopper performance and - whilst incredibly imperfect - you're left with something approaching a watchable mess. That's watchable, Kevin. Not beloved. Watchable. I would earnestly advise everyone to go back and give the movie a second chance. At the very least, it has legitimate historical value as the film which tarnished Costner's once incomparable reputation. But then you probably own it on Blu-Ray and re-watch it every other year. Because it's beloved.
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Writer, cinephile and owner of Vampire's Kiss on DVD. Take from that what you will.