Kevin Costner’s Most Misunderstood Movie Is Finally Getting The Respect It Deserves

Kevin Costner's Waterworld is getting a new 4K Blu-ray release that includes three different cuts of the movie.

By Nathan Kamal | Updated

kevin costner waterworld

Kevin Costner’s Waterworld is receiving an expansive new 4K Blu-ray release, which will include multiple different cuts of the Yellowstone star’s much-maligned post-apocalyptic science fiction epic, a 60-page collection of writings on the film, and a feature-length documentary. Per, the 1995 movie is being given its most in-depth release to date, which hopefully could change some public perception of one of the most ambitious films of the decade. After all, if Waterworld could be argued to have forced Costner into making Westerns for years after, it should be discussed more.

The new release of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld (which was directed by then-frequent collaborator Kevin Reynolds, but it is clear who wielded the creative control over the project) will include three different edits of the film. The first disc of the Blu-ray will include the original theatrical cut of the film, while the second will provide the ABC TV extended cut, which added 40 minutes of footage to an already lengthy 135-minute runtime. It is fairly unusual that a television edit would actually increase the length of a movie, but there is little about this film that isn’t a bit odd.

kevin costner

Most interestingly, the third disc of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld 4K Blu-ray will be a new official release of the “Ulysses” cut, a fan-made combination of the theatrical and TV extended edits that previously saw a release in 2019. Basically, the Ulysses cut uses the extended runtime of the TV version but re-inserts the violence and profanity of the original theatrical cut, making it the most complete version of the movie to date.

It is difficult to say whether a new release like this, which is specifically targeted at fans of Kevin Costner and Waterworld, will produce any critical converts. The film currently holds 45 percent on Rotten Tomatoes, indicating continued lukewarm feelings about the movie. At the time of its release, Waterworld was the most expensive movie ever made and was widely reported to have wildly exceeded its initial budget during production. By many accounts, the idea that Waterworld was a bomb was fixed in public imagination before it even arrived in theaters.

Despite that, Waterworld was one of the highest-grossing movies of the year when it did make it to cinemas and performed solidly internationally, where it was also more critically well-received. Although Kevin Costner has had plenty of massive successes since Waterworld (like his current television gig, Yellowstone) and failures (like his go-nowhere attempt to reboot the Jack Ryan franchise with Chris Pine), it holds a unique place in his career and pop culture at large. Hopefully, this new 4K Blu-Ray can help a little bit to show how strange and ambitious a movie it was.