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The 'Snyder Cut' Of Waterworld You Never Knew Existed

The release of Zack Snyder's Justice League has changed film in ways we cannot yet fully grasp. Its implications span models of distribution, fan involvement, and whether or not shared movie universes like the MCU and DCEU are really the way forward in storytelling. The movie's success is also making fans re-examine movies that maybe didn't get their proper respect, cut down to appease execs. Twitter users jokingly suggested many movies get the Snyder Cut treatment, from an R-Rated version of Mrs. Doubtfire to an all door-floating cut of Titanic. But one movie has an extended cut all ready to go. Waterworld, the post-apocalyptic epic that underperformed at the box office but lives on in theme parks, was originally three hours long.

Waterworld was one of those movies that's more famous for its troubled production than for its cinematic merits. It went way over budget — in part because of a hurricane, but also because star Kevin Costner had grand designs on the film. In a weird echo of the Snyder Cut drama, Joss Whedon was called in to do a rewrite on Waterworld as it was filming, a time he described to The A.V. Club as being Costner's stenographer. According to the Los Angeles Times, the actor clashed with Universal over the film's length and with director Kevin Reynolds over everything else. Reynolds quit Waterworld before its final release, and Costner allegedly wound up directing the film's final scenes.

A fan-made Ulysses Cut restores Waterworld to its former glory

Despite (or perhaps because of) its notorious flop status, Waterworld has some diehard fans. The movie has lived on at Universal Studios Hollywood, Japan, and Singapore, with a planned addition to Universal Studios Beijing in the works. Scenes deleted for the theatrical versions were added back in for TV, which viewers thought made the film much more understandable. Fans loved the movie and respected Kevin Costner's vision — so much that they made a fan cut that adds 40 minutes to the epic. The Ulysses Cut even has a Blu-ray release, thanks to Arrow Video.

Waterworld was the beginning of the end for Kevin Costner as matinee idol. After the sea epic flopped, Costner followed it up with the equally maligned The Postman. Now that Costner has found prestige TV glory with Yellowstone, it may be time to revisit the alleged high-concept failures that derailed his career.