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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr


Waterworld Waterworld
Written by Peter Rader and David Twohy
Directed by Kevin Reynolds

On an Earth drowned by oceans, a loner drifter is unwittingly caught up in a bloody search for the last small haven of dry land.


Read the movie synopsis at Moviepedia


Didja Know?


Waterworld is sort of Mad Max on water.


Characters appearing or mentioned in this movie



drifter #1 (presumably killed by Smokers in this movie)





atoll boys




Nord (dies in this movie)






The Deacon (presumably dies in this movie)

ledger guy (dies in this movie)

doctor (dies in this movie)

Toby (dies in this movie)

Depth Gauge (dies in this movie)


plane gunner

drifter #2 (dies in this movie)

Horse (dies in this movie) 


Didja Notice?


As the movie opens, the Universal globe logo of the Earth becomes overwhelmed by the rising oceans as the introductory narration explains that the Earth's polar ice caps have melted, covering the Earth with water. This logo transition is also seen at the beginning of the Waterworld video game The Quest for Dry Land.


The opening narration implies that virtually all of Earth's land masses would disappear under the sea if the polar ice caps melted, but that is far from true. The continents would look more like the image below. (Image from Flickr by Kevin M. Gill, science data visualization artist.)


The Mariner's trimaran is sort of the Millennium Falcon of Waterworld. It looks like a piece of junk, but is kind of cool-looking at the same time and is the fastest wind-powered boat on the seas.


At 3:27 on the Blu-ray, an old harmonica is seen as a component on the Mariner's trimaran. The soundtrack music plays harmonica at this point.


The Mariner keeps a lime plant on the trimaran. Citrus fruits are a high source of vitamin C, which prevents the disease called scurvy. Sailors during the Age of Sail (1571–1862) were known to die of scurvy on their long voyages until it was found that citrus fruit eaten regularly would prevent the disease.


The pair of boots the Mariner finds on the ocean floor and which he later wears on the atoll appear to be ski boots!


The green pendant the Mariner wears is actually a piece of circuit board!


The drifter who steals the limes from the trimaran is wearing what appears to be an old colander as a hat!


The Mariner tells the drifter, "Nothing's free in Waterworld." At first it might seem odd that the inhabitants would refer to the future Earth as "Waterworld", even if it is covered in water. But I think it intimates that the world's inhabitants understand the world was not always this way; they know that there was once abundant land and so "Waterworld" has become an ironic name. Also, think about the fact that the name "Earth" for our planet now also means "dirt", so a world formerly called "dirt" for its land might now be called "water" or "water world" in keeping with the convention.


At 11:22 on the Blu-ray, workers on the atoll are gutting a very large creature similar to a hammerhead shark, probably a creature evolved from a hammerhead.


At 11:25 on the Blu-ray, we can see that part of the atoll's structure is a living tree growing in a large box of dirt. This is possibly a strangler fig tree.


When Nord saunters up to the Mariner at the bar on the atoll, he greets him, "Skoal." This is a Nordic toast.


    The Mariner is a mutation of humanity, adapted for life on Waterworld, with webbed feet and gills behind his ears. Gregor refers to him as Icthyo sapien, from Greek icthys (fish) and Latin sapiens (wise). Humans are Homo sapiens.

    Possibly, the term Icthyo sapien was borrowed from the Hellboy comic books by Mike Mignola. The character of Abe Sapien in the series is a "fish man", given the descriptive name of icthyo sapien until he was given the proper name Abe Sapien. The character has appeared in the comics since 1994.


When the atollers name the Mariner as a "mutation" or "muto", it implies that other human mutations have been seen before. Are they similar to the Mariner?


When Gregor shows the caged Mariner the drawing of the Dryland map on Enola's back, the paper it's on goes from torn to fully intact from shot to shot.


Many of the personal water craft used by the Smokers in various attack scenes appear to be Kawasaki Jet Skis.


At 26:24 on the Blu-ray, a Smoker is seen holding a Remington Model 870 shotgun.


Seconds later, another Smoker wields an apocalypse-modified Taurus PT99 handgun. Several Smokers are seen to have this same modified gun, including the Deacon. It is later taken by the Mariner.


Another Smoker carries a Mossberg 500 shotgun. The Mariner uses a 500 for most of his attack against the Smokers on the tanker near the end of the movie.


At 26:57 on the Blu-ray, a Smoker ship has a paddlewheel with old automobile tires on it as paddle fins! The old semi-truck that seems to power the boat is a Peterbilt 351.


The quad mount gun the Smokers use in the attack on the atoll is a Browning M2 Aircraft gun.


At 28:21 on the Blu-ray, a Smoker fires a Type 90 Signal Pistol that stands in as a shotgun in the scene!


The Smokers' seaplane is a Helio H-295 Super Courier. An M60 machine gun fitted with a barrel jacket is mounted on the seaplane.


Three not quite identifiable firearms are seen used by Smokers at 29:15 on the Blu-ray.


Another unidentified handgun at 30:18 on the Blu-ray. Possibly another Taurus.


At 33:35 on the Blu-ray, the Mariner throws a machete and kills a Smoker who was about to attack from behind the Enforcer and a child he was saving. The Mariner didn't have to do seems he remembered that the Enforcer saved him from the mob when he was found to be a mutant, to be judged by a tribunal.


The Mariner picks up some kind of harpoon gun during his escape from the atoll.


At 34:52 on the Blu-ray, Smokers are seen armed with M1903A3 Springfield rifles and Heckler & Koch MP5A2 submachine guns.


Enola looks awfully big when she's seen dangling from the top of the gate after an explosion rocks the gateway. Must be a stuntwoman! (Enola on the right.)


At 38:21 on the Blu-ray, the Deacon abandons ship, saying to the others, "Adios, cousins." Adios is Spanish for "goodbye".


Enola finds a box of Crayola crayons on the trimaran.


When Helen grabs up the harpoon gun and holds it on the Mariner to get him to take both her and Enola to Dryland, the Mariner drops one of the trimaran's sails on her, then bashes her under it with a paddle. Then he climbs up the mast and stands at the lookout, but the distance shot shows both sails still up and no sign of either Helen or Enola!


The doctor on the tanker has a gas cylinder hanging on his chest with tubes that run under his nostrils. Does he just need extra oxygen? Or is he getting buzzed on laughing gas or something?


The car the Deacon cruises around the tanker in is a 1961 Lincoln Continental four-door convertible. The music that is heard during this scene is the theme from the 1958-1961 TV series Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini.


At 48:39 on the Blu-ray, boxes of liquor and cigarettes are seen on the Smokers' oil tanker. Smirnoff vodka, West cigarettes, Bacardi rum, and Jack Daniel's whiskey are seen. West cigarettes are a fake brand used to give the impression of Marlboro cigarettes in film production. A case of Smeat is also seen, as they were in The Quest for Dry Land. Smeat is a fake brand of canned meat meant to suggest the real world Spam brand. Smeat prop cans are often seen in Hollywood film and television productions.


    The Deacon uses the exclamation, "Sweet Joe!" when he finds out there is only about two months (two lunars) worth of oil left in the tanker. The exclamation is likely a reference to Joe Hazelwood, the captain of the Exxon Valdez, an oil tanker that struck a reef near Alaska, spilling millions of gallons of oil into Prince William Sound in 1989. Hazelwood was popularly blamed for the accident due to his known abuse of alcohol at that time in his life (though there is significant doubt he had been drinking at the time of the accident) and he did have to pay a large fine and go through 1000 hours of community service. Near the end of the movie, a portrait of Hazelwood is seen aboard the Deacon's tanker and, as it sinks, we finally see the name of the tanker on the stern and it is the Valdez. However, in the real world, after the oil spill accident, the Valdez was repaired and renamed the Mediterranean.

    The cases of alcohol seen on the ship may be another jab at Hazelwood.

   Later in the movie, while looking at the portrait of Captain Hazelwood, the Deacon refers to him as Saint Joe.


To conserve their fuel, the Deacon tells his men that the only important thing is finding the girl with the tattoo (Enola) leading to Dryland and not to waste it on anything else, saying, "You cancel all those tractor pulls and all that stuff..." Of course, he's joking about "tractor pulls", but it seems unlikely people on Waterworld, hundreds of years after the submersion of the continents, would even know what a tractor pull was.


At 50:10 on the Blu-ray, we see that Enola has drawn pictures of Dryland on the trimaran with the crayons she found. It seems she must have been born in Dryland and has vague memories of what she saw there. The fact that she can't swim is another indicator that she is from Dryland.


The Mariner is seen eating some of the leaves from the tomato plant he bought at the atoll. Tomato plant leaves are, in fact, edible.


After the seaplane is harpooned by the trimaran's gun, the pilot uses a Remington Rolling Block pistol to shoot the tether off.


    At 58:58 on the Blu-ray, the cases of Smeat have an Earl Hays label on them as the manufacturer. Earl Hays Press is a Hollywood company that prints newspaper and consumer props for film and television.

    Cases of Black Death vodka are also seen here. The Deacon also smokes Black Death cigarettes at 1:19:31.


Helen's clothing seems to change in various scenes, depending on how sexy she is meant to look, going from pants to skirt and leather top to mesh top variously.


    The second drifter the Mariner encounters offers a trade of paper for a half-hour of personal time with Helen. The drifter says he has two sheets of paper in the waterproof container he carries it in. But when the Mariner makes the trade and pulls the pages out of the container, there appears to be at least four pages of a magazine in it.

   The magazine has Chinese characters in it, but English printing on the cover, with the title of Dynasty. Possibly this is the Dynasty in-flight magazine of China Airlines. At 1:37:05 on the Blu-ray, Gregor is seen looking at a magazine page that is headlined "China Airlines Fleet Facts"; presumably he got the page from the Mariner.


The crazy drifter is stabbed by the Mariner in a duel and he collapses in the middle of the trimaran's netting. But, seconds later, he is suddenly laying on the trimaran's crossbar, where the Mariner kicks the corpse overboard.


After killing a gigantic sea creature for food, the Mariner cooks up some steaks from it and offers Enola an eyeball. But the eyeball is roughly human-sized, while the creature was seen to have very large, yellow eyes if you look closely at the CGI appearance of the creature.


The Mariner says that the occupants of the barter outpost they come across speak Portugreek. This is likely a combination of Portuguese and Greek, with the name of the language being a portmanteau of the two.


At a few points in the shots of the barter outpost, one of the propped-up corpses manning the outpost looks as if it might be the drifter the Mariner encountered at the beginning of the movie! Look for a figure wearing a colander hat!


It's possible that the mutant Mariner has an accelerated healing capacity in addition to his aqua abilities. He is shot through the torso with a bullet by the Deacon as the trimaran escapes from the ambush at the barter outpost but, after patching himself up, recovers quickly enough to swim deep underwater and launch a rescue mission for Enola seemingly without any ill effects.


At 1:23:24 on the Blu-ray, a sign in the shape of a gigantic life buoy appears to read "Mike's Fish House".

Mike's Fish House


At 1:24:22 on the Blu-ray, a sunken submarine is seen in the submerged city.


Threatening the Mariner to reveal the whereabouts of Enola, the Deacon says, "If you don't tell me, I swear to Poseidon I will torch your boat." In Greek mythology, Poseidon is the god of the sea.


The Mariner recognizes Enola's drawings as things seen on land due to copies of National Geographic magazine he has scrounged from the submerged cities. The issues seen here are prop covers, not from actual published issues.


When announcing the Deacon to the throng of Smokers living on the tanker, the doctor refers to him as the Deacon of the 'Deez. 'Deez is short for the Valdez (pronounced "Valdeez"), the name of the tanker.


The words "NO SMOKING" are just barely visible in red paint on the conning tower of the tanker.

conning tower


 The real Exxon Valdez looked slightly different in shape, but the movie gets close enough.
Waterworld Valdez Exxon Valdez
Waterworld Valdez Exxon Valdez


    Portraits that may be of Idi Amin and Joseph Stalin are seen in the hold of the tanker where Enola is kept prisoner at 1:43:48 on the Blu-ray. Idi Amin was a Ugandan military officer who obtained the presidency of Uganda in a military coup in 1971 and served in that capacity as a brutal despot until 1979 when he was deposed. Joseph Stalin was the totalitarian leader of the Soviet Union from the mid-1920s through 1952.

    Possibly this is the Deacon's quarters. 


At 1:45:15 on the Blu-ray, a television is seen displaying images in the background of the holding room. The image is not clear from a distance. Possibly it is receiving a broadcast of the Deacon's speech about the search for Dryland up top.


When Nord asks Enola what the Mariner's name is, she says, "He doesn't have a name. So Death can't find him." This doesn't seem like something a little girl would come up with on her own. It seems to me she must have asked him his name and he gave her this answer as a way of scaring/teasing her.


At 1:47:45 on the Blu-ray, the Deacon and several other Smokers fire signal guns into the air. The guns are Orion flare guns, modified and painted to look like old-fashioned signal guns.


The Mariner uses a Greener Light Harpoon Gun to create a zip line across the tanker at 1:54:03 on the Blu-ray.


    When Enola is rocked off the airship and into the ocean, the Mariner ties the end of a bungee-style rope around one leg with the other end tied to a anchor point in the airship and essentially rescues the girl by bungee jump. But the rope would have to have been the exact right length to reach the surface of the water from the altitude of the airship...entirely by luck!

    Also, when he ties the rope around his foot, he is wearing shoes, but when he jumps he is suddenly barefooted! 


Inside the hut found on Dryland at 2:01:33 on the Blu-ray, tattooing needles are seen, implying this is where Enola was born and had the map to Dryland tattooed on her back. And when Enola plays the music box found there, she says, "I'm home." 


Unanswered Questions


Did the Mariner invent all of the unique and clever gadgets on his trimaran or did he have help? "Children of Leviathan" Part 4 reveals that the Mariner has an uncanny facility for mechanical invention.


Where on Earth is Dryland? The Quest for Dry Land video game has two possible endings, one where the atollers find Dry Land and one where they do not. In the ending where the Atollers discover Dry Land, a plaque is seen, having been previously mounted in the soil, reading, "On this spot in 1953 Hillary and Norgay first set foot on Mount Everest."

Fans have reportedly translated the Chinese writing of the map tattoo on Enola's back as very close to the actual coordinates for longitude and latitude of Mount Everest, which is Latitude 27° 59' N Longitude 86° 56' E. The movie coordinates give: Latitude 27 or 28° 58' N Longitude 86° 56' E.


Memorable Dialog


nothing's free in Waterworld.mp3

you pay me to keep the peace.mp3

he needs to be destroyed.mp3

infernal machine.mp3

the kid we got to pitch over the side.mp3

you got nothing I need.mp3

killing's a hard thing to do well.mp3

looks like shit.mp3

cancel all those tractor pulls.mp3

including little girls.mp3

she can't swim.mp3

a wee harem.mp3

you ever try and listen?.mp3

maybe they were right.mp3

Dryland's a myth.mp3

never too young to start.mp3

he's even meaner than you are.mp3

that's blasphemy.mp3

the Deacon of the 'Deez.mp3

he's not a freak.mp3

he doesn't have a name.mp3

you won't even know it till you're dead.mp3

remember you said that.mp3

you guys are in so much trouble.mp3

the gentleman guppy.mp3

a single tear rolls down my cheek.mp3

oh, thank God.mp3

don't just stand there, kill something.mp3


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