The script doesn't do a great job with either the spiritual or the physical trek, but the spectacular action sequences occur with enough regularity that strong writing isn't necessary to keep Waterworld afloat.
Michael WilmingtonChicago Tribune
Waterworld is often entertaining because it's screwy. Could even Ed Wood Jr. have come up with those cigarette-puffing villains, in a world with hardly enough dirt for a tobacco plant? [28 July 1995]
Desson ThomsonWashington Post
If the story seems a little waterlogged, it's still big, loud, and fun to watch.
Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times
A decent futuristic action picture with some great sets, some intriguing ideas, and a few images that will stay with me.
Though Waterworld has some haunting underwater visual moments, the film's impact is weakened by flat dialogue, an overemphasis on jokeyness and a plot that, despite all those screenwriters, does not satisfactorily hold together at any number of points.
Jonathan RosenbaumChicago Reader
This movie feels like it was made by a bank rather than a person.