Westworld (1973)

This cynical, but strangely playful science fiction flick was written and directed by author Michael Crichton and, when coupled with his ‘Jurassic Park’ story, one would think that an amusement park once raped and killed his entire family…or something. Westworld follows a pair of Chicago businessmen who decide to spend some time at the newest resort fad of the future, DELOS: 3 virtual, robot-inhabited worlds spread out on a large parcel of desert land. There’s Westworld (obviously), Roman World and Medieval World where guests get to live out their wildest fantasies in the world of their choosing. All is fine and dandy…right up until the park suffers a catastrophic control malfunction (sound familiar?) that suffocates the employees, as the robot characters decide to go all ‘Terminator’ on the unsuspecting guests. In amongst the chaos, the story fixes on the pursuit of a survivor by a ruthless and determined, ‘Gunman’ model robot; through the three ‘worlds’. Taking into account that this WAS the early ’70s when it came out, the ‘dated’ness of the movie takes a backseat to the well-executed story of technology-run-amok. If I really HAD to complain, I would say that sometimes the music was annoying enough to distract and was, at times, cartoonishly used to the point where it reduced the illusion of ‘threat’. But overall, it complimented the silly nature of the parks themselves; working especially well in the first, ‘safe’ half of the story. There’s also some fun use of ‘action scene’ slow motion on display. I will admit…I liked watching this one, despite finding the Freddie Mercury look-a-like main character a lil too dorky for the role. He (mostly) made it work…but I did understand why Yul Bryner was determined to shoot im down like a dawg! As sci-fi from the 70s goes…it’s an interesting and entertaining idea done well with what they had at the time.

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