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Theatre / Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular

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"The future — the polar ice caps have melted, and the continents are deep beneath the waves. The survivors live on these floating fortresses known as "Atolls" in this place called... Waterworld. Brave explorers voyage in search of a legend of dry land — the last remaining on the planet. But the Deacon, maniacal leader of a group of evil raiders called "Smokers", is determined to find dry land first. He's ensured that no explorer has ever returned... until now."

Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular is a stunt show that can be found at the Universal Studios parks in Hollywood, Japan, Singapore and Beijing.

The show acts as a sequel to the 1995 film, immediately picking off where it had ended, with Helen, having finally discovered dry land, arriving back at the Atoll, with intention of bringing her fellow crewmen back with her to the island. Unfortunately, it turns out that the Deacon and his Smokers have followed Helen, and intend to kidnap her so she can show them the way to dry land. They attack the Atoll and begin to kill its crew members, until the Mariner, main protagonist of the original film, returns to take on the Deacon once more.

The show was developed at the same time as the movie, with the intention that it would act as a tie-in to the latter. Although the film had infamously underperformed upon release, work on the show was already so far along that it was too late to cancel it. This ultimately ended up being a good thing, as the show opened at Universal Studios Hollywood on October 23, 1995 to rave reviews, quickly becoming one of the highest-rated shows in theme park history and one of Universal's most successful attractions — the polar opposite of how the film had fared. The popularity of the show prompted Universal to duplicate it to its Japan, Singapore and Beijing parks; it opened with the parks in 2001, 2011, and 2021 respectively.

The show at Hollywood has occasionally been temporarily rethemed as part of Universal's Halloween Horror Nights events. In 1998 and from 2006 to 2008, a Darker and Edgier version of the show named SlaughterWorld was presented. In 2023, a new show based on The Purge was performed using the same set, named The Purge: Dangerous Waters.

Waterworld: A Live Sea War Spectacular provides examples of:

  • And Now You Must Marry Me: The Deacon intends to force Helen into being his bride once he reaches dry land.
  • Audience Participation: Before the show starts, several members of the cast interact directly with the audience in order to get them excited.
  • Big Damn Heroes: At the beginning of the show, just when it seems all hope is lost for Helen, the Mariner makes his dramatic return, riding into the Atoll on a jet ski and being able to effortlessly dodge all of the enemies' gunfire.
  • Big Door: The Atoll has a huge gate that requires a lot of manual force to open. Justified, given the huge kind of boats that would need to get in.
  • Big "NO!": Helen does this when the Mariner has been seemingly killed.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The Deacon is defeated once and for all and Helen is able to make it back to dry land, but the entire remaining crew of the Atoll has been killed, defeating the purpose of why Helen returned to the Atoll in the first place.
  • Chekhov's Gag: Sometimes during the pre-show, one crewman is told to make sure a certain tower is structurally secured so it doesn't collapse. As expected, it does.
  • Collapsing Lair: A rare non-villain lair example. After the Deacon is defeated, the Atoll's fuel tank catches fire. The Mariner and Helen are able to escape just before it explodes, destroying the Atoll.
  • Curtain Call: After the show ends, the cast comes back out for a bow and to mention some of the shows and movies they've done stunt work for.
  • Damsel out of Distress: Helen manages to hold her own in battle, and takes out many of the Smokers that intend to take her captive.
  • Disney Death: After the Deacon shoots Mariner and the Smoker the latter was using as a shield, it at first appears as if the Mariner was killed, but the Deacon's celebration is cut short when the Mariner rises right out of the water to return to the fight.
  • Groin Attack: Helen is able to easily defeat a Smoker by kicking him right in the sensitive spot.
  • Hellish Copter: The Deacon's only sea plane is brought crashing down onto the set when he accidentally fires at it.
  • "Hey, You!" Haymaker: Just before the Deacon drives the Mariner over the edge of the Atoll, Helen does this to Deacon to get his attention before firing a weapon that sets him on fire.
    Helen: Hey, Deacon!
    Deacon: "Hey", what?
    Helen: [fires]
  • Human Shield: When the Deacon begins firing at the Mariner with a bazooka, the latter attempts to use one of the Smokers (named Chuck) as a shield. The Deacon simply remarks that he never liked Chuck anyway and shoots the both of them.
  • Immediate Sequel: The show is set shortly after the film, with Helen returning to the Atoll to inform everyone that she's found dry land.
  • Improbable Weapon User:
    • After getting annoyed by one of his minions, the Deacon responds by hitting him in the face with his megaphone.
    • Helen beats one of the Smokers down with a wooden bucket.
  • Improvised Zipline: Thankfully, the Atoll has built-in ziplines, which the protagonists use to get around and dodge the Smokers.
  • Kill It with Water: The Atoll crew attempts to beat the Smokers with water cannons, but to no avail.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: The Mariner is sent hanging on the edge of the tallest point in the Atoll by the Deacon, and is nearly knocked over by the Deacon until Helen intervenes.
  • Made of Explodium: If a piece of the Atoll gets shot, you can pretty much guarantee that it'll explode.
  • Man on Fire: Helen manages to set the Deacon on fire with an explosive weapon, which results in him plunging into the water to his doom.
  • Narrator: The show begins with a narrator dramatically describing the events that led up to the story of the show.
  • No Fourth Wall: The characters, particularly the Deacon, at one point fully acknowledge the existence of the audience, and at some points tries to get them to help them. However, the audience's existence seems to get ignored again by the end of the show.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: One of the Atoll members unsuccessfully attempts to punch a Giant Mook Smoker. The Mook in response knocks the member out in a single punch.
  • Reliably Unreliable Guns: Deacon makes multiple attempts at taking the Mariner out with a machine gun, but it manages to malfunction each time.
  • Shout-Out: The Deacon comes riding in to the music of Peter Gunn.
  • Taking You with Me: After getting set on fire by Helen, the Deacon attempts to knock the Mariner over the edge of the Atoll with him, but hilariously misses and plunges to his doom. Sometimes, he'll even say the trope word-for-word.
  • Tap on the Head: The Deacon at one point knocks Helen out when he hits her in the back of the head with a metal bar, but she is able to get back up moments later without any injury.
  • The Quiet One: The Mariner suprisingly has very few lines, nearly traversing into Heroic Mime territory. They usually just come down to, "Helen, are you okay?" and "Helen, start the boat!"
  • Title Drop: The narrator does this right at the beginning and end of the show, as shown in the page quote.
  • Toxic Waste Can Do Anything: Averted, as here toxic waste is used in a more realistic way: as a way of killing someone; which the Deacon demonstrates when he has one of the Atoll members dropped into a tower of toxic waste in an attempt to scare Helen into telling him the way to dry land.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: One of the skiing Smokers, while attempting to shoot at the Atoll crew, accidentally crashes into a wall.
  • Why Won't You Die?: In their final quarrel, the Deacon angrily says this word-for-word to the Mariner who keeps on surviving everything the Deacon and his crew throw at him.

"And so the Deacon's threat has ended, and civilization may start anew on dry land, while the Mariner roams the four points of the compass on the endless seas of Waterworld."