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Waterworld is Mad Max on water. It is the stories of Jesus, Moses and Noah all mixed together in the context of Revelation chapter 12. It is the search for Paradise Lost.
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W
ATERWORLD
(1995)

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By David Bruce
David Bruce
"Beyond the horizon 
lies the secret to a
new beginning."
Mariner: Kevin Costner,
Deacon: Dennis Hopper,
Helen: Jeanne Tripplehorn,
Enola: Tina Majorino.
Directed by Kevin Reynolds.
Produced by Charles Gordon, John Davis and Costner.
Written by Peter Rader and David Twohy.
Running time: 120 minutes.
Rated PG-13 (for some intense scenes of action violence, brief nudity and language).
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Like all Universal pictures is film opens with the trademark Universal globe spinning in space. Then, in a delightful little twist, its polar ice caps melts. Welcome to the future! All the cities of the world are gone. Underwater. The future new earth in the Bible has "no more sea." The Sea in Biblical Hebrew tradition is a symbol of Evil. In this film the Evil Sea now covers the earth. The new savior/hero is a man named Mariner (Kevin Costner) He lives on a sailing vessel, of course, which is called trimaran (sounds like Trinitarian). Mariner has gills and web feet. Hence, he is able to tread water (like Jesus) and defeat and eat the chaos sea monsters.

It is a Mad Max like future world complete with a Thunderdome like post-apocalyptic city headquarters of the Evil one (Satanic Antichrist) called Deacon (a Bible name). He is a chain smoker and wouldn't you know it his evil followers are called smokers! This film was made when the cigarette companies were being politically positioned as evil by the Clinton administration. Also, of political interest, the Headquarters ship later is revealed to be the Exxon Valdez complete with a portrait of Captain Joe Hazelwood on the wall. Speak about cultural symbols of evil. This film has 'em.

The parallels between this film and Costner's Postman (1997) are amazing. Postman is Waterworld without the water and seasoned with Dances With Wolves. As in Postman, he has desired genes (e.g. like Jesus seed of David) and is asked in contribute to the gene pool. In both films he is imprisoned and escapes (burial and rebirth) which sets him on a course of saving the world (the Jesus story). In both films he is connected to a woman (the seed of Eve, ancient Israel, Virgin Mary and the Christian Church) who has a child (or with child, i.e. Jesus) who the satanic Antichrist figure is after (very symbolic, see Revelation 12 below). As in the Fifth Element the Christ child is a girl (humans reflect the image of God both male and female). Her name Enola (Tina Majorino) and she has a map tattooed on her back that shows the way to the promised land (Jesus "is the Way") which is the reason the Evil Deacon pursues her. So these three persons, Mariner, the woman, Helen (Jeanne Tripplehorn), and the child form a type of family (trinity). They sail off on the water (like Noah) in search of the promised land (Moses).

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Deacon finally captures the three and takes the child for the tattoo map and imprisons her in his domain. He burns Mariner's ship (Satan is always connected with fire). Helen and Mariner are left seemingly defeated in the middle of burned ship that now resembles a cross.
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Mariner, true to the Christ story, goes into the domain of Evil and disarms it. In this case, Mariner frees the child and blows up Deacon's headquarters with fire (lake of fire). This Hellfire end of Evil is a popular theme in many recent films, see Anaconda, Mimic, and Relic. Upon liberating the child from her entombment the family now ascends into the clouds in a balloon lifted ark in search of Paradise Lost -the new Garden of Eden -the new earth -Paradise restored!
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This film is a real mix of the stories of Noah, Moses and Jesus. (Note: Daylight was also a mix of Moses and Jesus). In fact a bird lands on the ark, just as in the Noah story, to let the family know that there is land. And, just like the story of Moses, when they reach the Promised Land, Mariner/Moses does not enter it.

Much of the story in the film connects to Revelation chapter 12. Compare it for yourself:

Then I witnessed in heaven an event of great significance. I saw a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and a crown of twelve stars on her head. She was pregnant, and she cried out in the pain of labor as she awaited her delivery.

Suddenly, I witnessed in heaven another significant event. I saw a large red dragon with seven heads and ten horns, with seven crowns on his heads. His tail dragged down one-third of the stars, which he threw to the earth. He stood before the woman as she was about to give birth to her child, ready to devour the baby as soon as it was born.

She gave birth to a boy who was to rule all nations with an iron rod. And the child was snatched away from the dragon and was caught up to God and to his throne. And the woman fled into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place to give her care for 1,260 days.

Then there was war in heaven. Michael and the angels under his command fought the dragon and his angels. And the dragon lost the battle and was forced out of heaven. This great dragon—the ancient serpent called the Devil, or Satan, the one deceiving the whole world—was thrown down to the earth with all his angels.

Then I heard a loud voice shouting across the heavens,

"It has happened at last—the salvation and power and kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Christ! For the Accuser has been thrown down to earth—the one who accused our brothers and sisters before our God day and night. And they have defeated him because of the blood of the Lamb and because of their testimony. And they were not afraid to die. Rejoice, O heavens! And you who live in the heavens, rejoice! But terror will come on the earth and the sea. For the Devil has come down to you in great anger, and he knows that he has little time."

And when the dragon realized that he had been thrown down to the earth, he pursued the woman who had given birth to the child. But she was given two wings like those of a great eagle. This allowed her to fly to a place prepared for her in the wilderness, where she would be cared for and protected from the dragon for a time, times, and half a time.

Then the dragon tried to drown the woman with a flood of water that flowed from its mouth. But the earth helped her by opening its mouth and swallowing the river that gushed out from the mouth of the dragon. Then the dragon became angry at the woman, and he declared war against the rest of her children—all who keep God's commandments and confess that they belong to Jesus.

You can read read the rest of this story in Revelation 12. Any translation will do. The one I used here is the New Living Translation © Tyndale (used by permission).

E-mail reponse:

Thanks for doing Waterworld. I knew that it connected to Revelation, but I was not sure how.
-Randy

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Costner spent too much money for this film. It was an interesting film, but not great. -F. D.

 

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Waterworld, copyright © 1995, Universal City Studios, Inc.