Long before he rode a horse in Yellowstone, Kevin Costner rode the ocean waves in the blockbuster film Waterworld. This 1996 movie was meant to be a Marvel-style crowdpleaser, and it had the full marketing press, including multiple video games and its own toy line. Unfortunately, the movie flopped hard, but it may have finally risen from the ocean depths: it’s now possible to watch an extended “Ulysses Cut” of Waterworld that adds plenty of footage and nuance and arguably changes this cinematic stinker into the crowd-pleasing genre gem it was always meant to be.
The Ulysses Cut
In case you’re wondering if Universal Pictures decided to release an extended cut of Kevin Costner’s watery adventure decades later, the answer is “no.” The Ulysses Cut of Waterworld is a completely fan-made endeavor, meaning that you’ll need to find a copy for yourself to check it out. That makes this special version of this Kevin Costner cult film something of a hidden treasure for fans to discover, and fans’ quest to find it might just mirror the film’s protagonists and their quest to discover the mythical Dryland area.
40 Minutes Of Extra Footage
If Universal didn’t release an official extended cut of Waterworld, though, then where did all the extra footage come from to create the Ulysses Cut? Believe it or not, from television: even though the original film only clocked in at 135 minutes, ABC later released a special cut that added a whopping 40 minutes. However, like most TV edits, the ABC release ended up removing most of the more extreme violence and foul language that stars like Kevin Costner and Dennis Hopper provided us.
Uncensored, Complete Version
Therefore, the Ulysses Cut of Waterworld is a labor of love in which fan editors have combined all of the new content of the ABC cut with all of the uncensored footage of the original movie to create something brand new. In the most literal sense, this cut is the most complete version of the film ever created. Whether you’re a fan of Kevin Costner, ambitious dystopias, or just fun shlock, it’s definitely worth checking out.
Is It Really Better?
However, we all know that bigger isn’t always better, and that brings us to the big question: is the Ulysses Cut of Waterworld actually better than the theatrical cut, or were all those scenes removed for a reason? In our opinion, this cut truly is better because it provides a bit more of everything: more motivation for characters, more nuance to the plot, and more glimpses of this fascinating world. That extra context helps clear up much of the confusion of the original film, but we can’t blame fans who don’t have the bandwidth to watch a version of this Kevin Costner film that’s nearly three hours long.
An Unappreciated Gem
While we doubt that Universal Pictures loves the idea of fans downloading Waterworld and distributing it across online digital torrents, we love the idea of hardcore fans keeping the torch lit for genre entertainment in this special way. Even box office stinkers like Waterworld will never die thanks to diehard fans, and this Ulysses Cut helped us enjoy this unappreciated gem more than ever before. Plus, let’s be honest: waiting for Kevin Costner to find dry land in this movie will always be more entertaining than waiting to see if he ever returns to Yellowstone.