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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Have We Got a Vacation for You...."
Welcome to Delos, an adult amusement park where, for a mere $1000 per day, guests can experience the excitement of life in America's Old West, Medieval Europe, or Ancient Rome. Lifelike costumed androids populate the park and interact with guests, and said machines are programmed to fulfill all human desires, be those yearnings romantic, heroic, violent, or whatever...
Published on July 14 2004 by Michael R Gates

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but how does it hold up?
Not so well. I seemed to be more interested in the technology and times of the movie, what it would be like to live there, how I would act, etc. After SPOILER The Gunslinger shoots that guy, the stakes got a little higher, but only so I could be disappointed by the ending. Had a lot of potential, a lot of which was realized in later movies like Terminator and Jurassic...
Published on Aug. 18 2012 by Jesse


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Have We Got a Vacation for You....", July 14 2004
By 
Michael R Gates (Nampa, ID United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Westworld (Widescreen) (DVD)
Welcome to Delos, an adult amusement park where, for a mere $1000 per day, guests can experience the excitement of life in America's Old West, Medieval Europe, or Ancient Rome. Lifelike costumed androids populate the park and interact with guests, and said machines are programmed to fulfill all human desires, be those yearnings romantic, heroic, violent, or whatever. But the robots have also been programmed with a fail-safe that prevents them from harming the guests in any way. Think of Delos as a high-tech Disneyland for wealthy grown-ups.
Businessmen Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) and John Blane (James Brolin) are looking for a few days of excitement and relaxation, and the Old West section of Delos, designated WestWorld, seems like just the ticket. But it turns out there's an unexplained glitch in the main computer that controls the park's network of androids, and unfortunately for Martin and Blane, the error just happens to manifest itself while the two are visiting the park. The robots are suddenly able to exercise free will--which includes the ability to override the directive that prevents them from harming guests--and it's not long before Martin and Blane find themselves pursued by a ruthless android gunslinger (Yul Brynner).
This minor opus from Michael Crichton marks his first directorial effort and is also the first theatrical flick based on an original Crichton screenplay rather than an adaptation of one of his novels. While the special FX in 1973's WESTWORLD are decidedly cheesy and low-tech by contemporary standards, this sci-fi thriller still stands up today due to the tight, well-paced script and the solid performances from principals Benjamin, Brolin, and especially Brynner (here playing a robotic version of his character from 1960's THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN). WESTWORLD is a bit too earnest to have yet become a CULT classic--a status it is likely to achieve as technology continues to grow leaps and bounds beyond that which the film depicts--but it continues to be held in high regard by the majority of SF fans.
Though Crichton was connected (as a writer) with a few films and TV shows prior to WESTWORLD, it is really this film that brought him widespread notice and launched his high-profile Hollywood career. WESTWORLD did well enough at the box office, in fact, that it even spawned a sequel--a lesser film entitled FUTUREWORLD (1976).
Warner's edition of WESTWORLD on DVD is a no-frills disc that offers the film in both anamorphic widescreen and pan-and-scan, with the only bonus being the original theatrical trailer. The digital transfer is pretty good, but there was obviously no effort to clean up the dust and other filmic artifacts that are visible from time to time. Digital artifacts, if any, are minor, though there is some occasional color drift. (To be fair, color drift could be on the source rather than a result of the digitization.) All in all, it's an acceptable DVD of a film that most longtime SF fans will want to have in their collections.
(Rating breakdown: Film gets 5 stars; DVD gets 3. Average rating is therefore 4 stars.)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Westworld Blu-ray, March 7 2015
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This review is basically on the Blu-ray quality. The other reviewers have given you the story outline. For a fairly old movie the Blu-ray quality in not bad. Typically for a movie this old there is some grain which is noticeable in some scenes more than other. Some scenes are remarkable clear. Where there is more grain in the image there is also a tendency for the image to have higher contrast so the bright areas become more bright and the darker area more dark with some of the middle values being lost.

I also have the original DVD. Just the other day I had to get a new Blu-ray player so I got one that will upscale regular DVDs. Remarkable some my older DVD's upscale very well while other not so much. So I gave my Westworld DVD a quick look and it upscaled not too badly. Its definitely watchable but having seen the Blu-ray version, the upscale doesn't really compare to the Blu-ray even with the heavy grain here and there.

My only comment on the story itself is that although Michael Crichton did an admirable job as both writer and director, I think that had a more experienced direct been at the helm the story might have more of a punch. At times Westworld kind of had that 70's "made for TV movie" feel to it and that's where a more experienced director could have taken it to a higher level. Always great to see Yul Brynner in a movie and he does an excellent job as the killer robot. You might say Yul Brynner killer robot he was the precursor to the Terminator as his character would also never stop until the job was done.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 3 1/2-4 stars for Crichton's take on Paradise Lost, June 30 2012
By 
Robert Badgley (St Thomas,Ontario,Canada) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Westworld [Import] (DVD)
Westworld(released Nov/73)has a good cast of actors of which to draw on and the lead belongs to Yul Brynner,as the steely robotic gunslinger who pursues his prey relentlessly during the last 1/2 hour of the picture.Before that he is seen only sporadically.As far as screen time goes his is relatively small compared to his fellow actors James Brolin(playing John Blane-boy does his son Josh look like his Dad),Richard Benjamin(Peter Martin)and Dick Van Patten who plays a meek banker.Benjamin had had a prematurely(I think)cancelled winner of a TV show with He & She,Brolin was already starring in Marcus Welby,M.D.and Dick Van Patton would in a short time be tagged for the starring role in the hit TV show Eight is Enough.
Westworld is,as the plot goes,one of three worlds set in a theme park area,the others being Medieval World and Roman World.Your price is $1,000 a day to experience life in these various true to life environments,with absolutely no risk to yourself at all.Everything is computer controlled,and to populate this world are robots,each one imbued with their own role to play and,if need be,such as sex robots,be at the disposal of its human companion.Nothing has been left to chance and every little detail down to the lowliest snake,mimics real life.The variables,and as a result the experiences,are limitless.
Into this world comes John Blane,an experienced Westworld customer,a new comer to Westworld by the name of Peter Martin,and a meek banker,name unknown.Blane coaches Martin as they first enter the park but soon Martin is getting along as good as Blane ever did.The banker takes on the exact opposite of his meek persona by becoming a sheriff.All is going well even as Martin and Blane run into a gunslinger and dispatch him with no problem,after he had provoked a confrontation in the bar.The gunslinger strangely re-enters the scene later,confronting Blane in his room(as if seeking vengeance which is "impossible")and Martin is forced to break in the door and shoot him "dead".
The incident gets Martin jailed and Blane has to come to his rescue,and the two officially become"outlaws".While sitting out in the desert contemplating their next move Blane is attacked and bitten by a robotic snake.The snake is eventually dispatched but it has left a couple of puncture wounds on Blanes arm,who isn't too impressed.Unbeknownst to the pair the technicians running the park are noticing more and more abnormal behaviour coming from robots throughout the complex.They suspect a kind of "virus" infecting the sub routines of their programming,but one they cannot put their fingers on,nor stop.The culmination of their worries comes to a head when a customer in Medieval World gets run through and killed during a sword fight.They try and shut the park down to no avail.
Martin and Blane decide eventually to return to town,tired and hungry,but are confronted by the gunslinger.Blane asks to let him take care of him this time.He draws his gun but the gunslinger is faster and more accurate and shoots him once,then twice....dead.Martin is gobsmacked and immediately runs for his life,but the gunslinger follows him...without let up.When Martin rides out of town,the gunslinger obtains a horse and does the same.Martin runs into a park worker out in the desert fixing his vehicle,who tells him there is no escape.Martin disagrees and rides off,soon after to hear two gunshots which kill the attendant.Martin makes it into Medieval World and down into a large vent.Down below he has found the central area from which the park is run and robots repaired.He discovers the park technicians presumably dead in a sealed room from which they could not escape after they shut down all power,in vain.He hides in the repair room and when the gunslinger comes in he throws acid on his face which diminishes how much he can see and detect.In another room Martin hides beneath a flaming rod on the wall and when the gunslinger locates him Martin sets him on fire.In yet another room Martin rescues a lady in distress from some chains,sits her down and gives her water,which instantly short circuits her.He is a-gasp as it was a robot.Just then the gunslinger comes in and falls to the floor,finally at its end.The film fades out as Martin sits reminiscing about the ads that prompted him to come to Westworld in the first place.
It is an intriguing plot,no doubt.To those thespians who think the more on screen time the better,think again.Yul Brynner had relatively fewer moments on the screen than his co stars,yet who do we remember to this day? Brynner of course.He played the steely eyed,emotionless gunslinger/robot to a tee.Just a glance from him could send chills and his demeanour(stiff back and walk)all added to his menace.Brolin and Benjamin play well their out-of-their-league characters.Watch for one of Star Trek's major players from TOS as Majel Barett plays a saloon madame.There are some "what was that's?" in this film,but one that baffles me is this:if the teckys are trying to restore power,cut off across the board,how is it that the computers are still running in the background and their consoles?
Technically speaking the film is in its w/s a/r of 2:35:1.The picture is clear and crisp but it does show its age at times and some parts are grainy.A new print should be struck and remastered,all being equal;but what ever is in Hollywood? There are no extras.
All in all a neat Sci-Fi film from the early 70s.It has a decent plot,a few holes but the kudos have to go to the screen and stage veteran who we recall the most;the mostest with the menace,Yul Brynner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yul never be the same, Aug. 13 2006
By 
bernie "xyzzy" (Arlington, Texas) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Westworld (VHS Tape)
Theme parks get more sophisticated. Now instead of faking it with actors, the people at Delos have come up with the ultimate getaway; they have created several theme parks of which one is called "Westworld" and use robots instead. They can take real bullets and be repaired. As a side interest they also have other realistic body parts.

To this theme park comes Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) for a little R&R. At first he is a little shy then he actually gets into things. Everyone is having a great time.

Unknown to the guests Delos is experiencing an anomaly with its system. It seems that in spite off all the fail safes a guest gets shot. Then everything snowballs out of control. The most out of controlest is a robot gun slinger that looks an awful lot like Yul Brynner.

You feel that you are there. So what can you do?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, but how does it hold up?, Aug. 18 2012
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This review is from: Westworld [Import] (DVD)
Not so well. I seemed to be more interested in the technology and times of the movie, what it would be like to live there, how I would act, etc. After SPOILER The Gunslinger shoots that guy, the stakes got a little higher, but only so I could be disappointed by the ending. Had a lot of potential, a lot of which was realized in later movies like Terminator and Jurassic Park. It still sits on my shelf with pride though, if only for the spirit of what the movie could have delivered.
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5.0 out of 5 stars WESTWORLD [1973] [40th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import], July 23 2014
By 
Andrew C. Miller - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
WESTWORLD [1973] [40th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Where Robot Men and Women Are Programmed To Serve You . . . Romance . . . Violence . . . Anything! Boy Have We Got A Vacation For You!

For $1,000 a day, vacationers can indulge whims at the theme park called WESTWORLD. They can bust up a bar or bust out of jail, drop in on a brothel or get the drop on a gunslinger. It's all safe and the park's lifelike androids are programmed never to harm the customers. But not all droids are getting with the programme. Michael Crichton of 'Jurassic Park' and 'Twister,' wrote and made his directing debut with this futuristic thriller that heralded moviemaking's future as the first feature to use digitized images. Richard Benjamin and James Brolin portray pals confronted by a simulated reality turned real. And Yul Brynner is their stalking, spur-jangling nemesis. It is man versus machine in a tomorrow that isn't big enough for the both of them.

Cast: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Norman Bartold, Alan Oppenheimer, Victoria Shaw, Dick Van Patten, Linda Gaye Scott, Steve Franken, Michael T. Mikler, Terry Wilson, Majel Barrett, Anne Randall, Julie Marcus, Sharyn Wynters, Anne Bellamy, Chris Holter, Charles Seel, Wade Crosby, Nora Marlowe, Lin Henson, Orville Sherman, C. Lindsay Workman, Barry Cahill (uncredited), Robert J. Hogan (uncredited), Robert Nichols (uncredited) and Ty Randolph (uncredited)

Director: Michael Crichton

Producer: Paul N. Lazarus III

Screenplay: Michael Crichton

Composer: Fred Karlin

Cinematography: Gene Polito

Video Resolution: 1080p [Metrocolor]

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 [Panavision]

Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, German: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono

Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German SDH, Italian SDH and Korean

Running Time: 88 minutes

Region: Region A/1

Number of discs: 1

Studio: Warner Home Video

Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Imagine a Disneyland for adults where every man and woman can live out their fantasies. That's what science fiction writer Michael Crichton did when he wrote the screenplay for 'WESTWORLD' [1973], a film that holds the distinction of being the last movie M-G-M produced before dissolving its releasing company. 'WESTWORD' is also notable as the first theatrical feature directed by Michael Crichton and with a story written directly for the screen, Michael Crichton's 'WESTWORLD' is a solid mix between action and allegory that still holds up quite well 40 years after first appearing in cinemas.

It's hard to think today of science fiction that doesn't involve spaceships and lots of special effects and explosions, but in the pre-'Star Wars' era of the late 1960s and early 1970s, science fiction movies had more to do with addressing current social issues than they did with simple good versus evil. In 'WESTWORLD,' Michael Crichton tackles the issues of technology and man's overreliance on it. Set in the near future, which could very much be in our own present day, 'WESTWORLD,' also frequently referred to in the film as 'Westernworld,' and is one of three adult-themed amusement parks, including 'Romanworld' and 'Medievalworld,' where adults pay $1,000 dollars a day to live out their fantasies. The "actors" within each park are highly-advanced humanlike robots, which means the customers can interact with them in any way they wish...insulting them, having sex with them, and yes, even killing them, with no repercussions. 'WESTWORLD' was filmed in several locations including the Mojave Desert, the gardens of the Harold Lloyd Estate, and several sound stages at M-G-M. Apparently the film was shorn of ten minutes prior to its release in order to earn a PG rating which makes you wonder what the R-rated footage could have been. Perhaps a sequence with Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, and those obliging saloon girls?

As the film opens, friends Peter Martin [Richard Benjamin] and John Blane [James Brolin] are off to 'WESTWORLD' for a vacation getaway. Peter is less knowledgeable and more wary about 'WESTWORLD' than John is, who either has been there before or has a better understanding of how things work at the park. John Blane serves primarily as the film's information provider, telling Peter Martin and, thus, the viewer, how and why things work the way they do in 'WESTWORD.' When the two visits a saloon, Peter is taunted by a Robot Gunslinger [Yul Brynner] and winds up shooting him, only to have to shoot him again a few days later. You see, in 'WESTWORLD,' the characters never really die, they just go back for repairs and resurface a day or two later.

The three theme parks are run and managed by a team of scientists and computer technicians who control how each robot reacts and responds to the vacationers. However, when John is bitten by a robotic snake, the scientific team begins to realise that they are losing control of their creations. One event leads to another and soon they've lost complete control of the robots in all three of the parks, leaving the humans within to fend for themselves.

If you haven't already picked up on it, there's a tremendous amount of similarities between 'WESTWORLD' and another popular Michael Crichton story that became a motion picture, 'Jurassic Park.' One could even argue that the latter is basically the same story as 'WESTWORLD,' with DNA-created dinosaurs replacing the robots. Comparisons can also be made to a non-Michael Crichton film, 'The Terminator,' as the stalking of Peter by the gunslinger in the last act of the movie certainly reminds one of a certain cyborg. In fact, there were talks a few years ago about Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the gunslinger in a 'WESTWORLD' remake/reboot.

Sci-fi fans should also be on the lookout in 'WESTWORLD' for roles played by actors who either had or would go on to have parts in other notable sci-fi franchises. You'll see Majel Barrett ['Star Trek'] running the town's brothel, Jared Martin [TV's 'War of the Worlds'] as one of the lab technicians, and in one of the coolest connections, Alan Oppenheimer as the lead scientist who developed and repairs the robots. Alan Oppenheimer, of course, also played Dr. Rudy Wells in two of the television films that lead to the launch of the 'Six Million Dollar Man' series.

The best way to judge the quality of a film is how well it holds up years later, and considering its 40-years-old, 'WESTWORLD' holds up pretty well. Naturally, the special effects and sets haven't aged well, and there's a silly barroom fight about half-way through the film that is too long, too campy, and completely unnecessary for the story, but all in all 'WESTWORLD' deserves its spot as one of the more memorable science fiction films of the early 1970s.

Blu-ray Video Quality ' For a 1973 release, Warner Home Video has done a fairly nice job with the transfer here. Colours are bright, although at times a little oversaturated, and while some scenes do have a softer look to them, overall the transfer is fairly sharp and detailed. Warner Bros. hasn't gone overboard using digital noise reduction, leaving a nice layer of grain in the picture that is always evident, but never obtrusive. Any dirt or other defects from the original print have been removed here. Overall, this is a nice balance between giving us the sharpness that Blu-ray can provide, and still trying to maintain the original look of the theatrical presentation. Fans of the film should be pleased by the presentation.

Blu-ray Audio Quality ' The audio track here is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Track and the 1.0 Dolby Digital tracks are also available in Spanish (both Castilian and Latin), French, German, and Italian), but the vast majority of both the dialogue and music comes from up front, with little, but noticeable activity in the rear speakers. While both the dialogue and music are crisp and clear, the balance between the two is not. When Fred Carlin's score is featured, it's almost twice as loud as the dialogue in the film, meaning most viewers will either be playing with their audio volume throughout, or just gets a jolt every time the film's music is featured. Usually with Blu-rays, where the music and other sound effects are louder than the spoken dialogue is nothing new, but it's much more evident in 'WESTWORLD,' due to the fact that music rarely plays over dialogue and vice versa.

Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:

Special Feature Documentary: On Location With Westworld [1973] [480i] [9:07] This is an original promotional short vintage behind-the-scenes documentary showing how the film was made, and primarily focusing on writer/director Michael Crichton, as well interviews with fellow actors Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin. We also see how some of the stunts were performed, including the scene where Brynner's character gets engulfed in flames. Although it's an all-too-brief look at the production, it is easily the best bonus feature and it's nice that Warner Home Video decided to include it on this release.

Special Feature: 1980 TV Pilot: Beyond Westworld [480i] [47:52] This is the pilot for the quickly abandoned series that CBS attempted to develop from the film. The series jettisoned the notion of technology run amuck and substituted a human villain named Quaid [James Wainwright], who had designed the robots but didn't like seeing them wasted on leisure activities. Quaid seized control of the entire robot population and had them destroy the theme parks. Now it's up to corporate trouble-shooter John Moore [Jim McMullan] to stop whatever Quaid has planned, which seems to involve national security.

Theatrical Trailer [1973] [480i] [3:07] If you're one of the few who has yet to see 'WESTEWORLD,' then do not watch this trailer before watching the film. It gives away literally every major plot point in the film, including the demise of major characters, the final scene, and the final line of dialogue!

Finally, one aspect of `WESTWORLD' that always left me dubious was the willingness of its guests to let themselves be observed by the park staff while engaging in the theme parks' elaborate charades, including sexual relations with robots in a variety of fantasy scenarios that most people presumably wouldn't want to share with strangers. This time around, though, I realised that Michael Crichton's instincts were once again ahead of his time. If a theme park like WESTWORLD existed today, and it still may be built, as least in the world of remakes, there would be an additional class of guest besides those paying the contemporary equivalent of $1000 a day. For these guests, all expenses would be paid in exchange for a waiver allowing their entire stay to be filmed and broadcast on a reality series. Michael Crichton might not have imagined the specifics of Westworld: The Jersey Shore, but the germ of the idea is right there in his park design. Although it is good follow up to the previous release of `FUTUREWORLD,' sadly it does not quite match up to that film and on top of that, sci-fi has moved on and things look slightly old fashioned, but despite this, I am still glad I have added this to my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!

Andrew C. Miller ' Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom
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4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Can Go Wrong (With This Movie, Anyway), May 8 2004
By 
This review is from: Westworld (Widescreen) (DVD)
I don't think a lot of sci-fi fans today appreciate the really thought-provoking material of much of the sci-fi movies that were made between '2001: A Space Odyssey' and 'Star Wars'. Then again, this WAS a cycle in the genre when everyone was apparently convinced Charlton Heston would be the last surviving human on planet Earth, but that's another can of worms entirely. My point being, it took someone with the kind of courage Michael Crichton had to be pitching a script like 'Westworld' to movie audiences. And it worked. While Crichton is known for his literary pursuits rather than his directorial efforts, he was no slouch in the area of the latter, and 'Westworld' definitely proves that. The premise is a little hokey, almost left over from 1957, but in the age of Disney World it's terribly effective; even after all these years 'Westworld' is laced with as taut a level of suspense as you can possibly hope for from a film of its time.
'Westworld' basically is the story of Delos, a dazzling theme-park of the not-too-distant future, which, like its counterpart created by Uncle Walt, charges insane admission fees in order to cater to its guests' every whim and perverted pleasure. Like Disney World, Delos has separate themed 'worlds' - Romanworld, Medievalworld, and of course, Westworld. And just as with Disney World, much of the park's starring 'cast' are robots - only these are true androids who are willing to go as far as their programming allows to please the customers. Of course, as ancient Rome and the Old West practically beg for bloodshed, park administrators can't simply let the guests up and take their chances; the robots, therefore, can't kill anything that gives off body heat. A clever idea. For about fifteen minutes.
Then swanky singles Jim Brolin and Dick Benjamin walk into the saloon, rub black-clad Yul Brynner the wrong way and pop a cap in'im. And everything just goes downhill from there.
Needless to say, Yul Brynner owns this movie, even with as little screen time as he's allowed. Put his Gunslinger character up against Ah-nuld's cyborg from the future, and I could guarantee the Gunslinger would win the fight just by staring the Terminator down. Brolin and Benjamin do their best to offer some humanity to the film (and distract from some of its more glaring discrepancies), as does Dick Van Patten in a comical role as a nerdy guest and Majel Barrett of 'Star Trek' fame (and Gene Roddenberry's wife) in a small but delicious role as the owner of Westworld's brothel. The acting in the film is pretty good, which takes some of the dating off of this technology-gone-wrong tale.
There are some touches of wry humor, but in the end 'Westworld' goes for the gut by steadily building toward a harrowing climax when the park finally goes completely haywire and the blood starts pouring. Crichton's guiding hand and Brynner's wickedly icy performance offer all the credentials needed to ensure that, where enjoying this movie is concerned, 'nothing can go wrong'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars It's all fun and games until the robots malfunction., March 1 2004
By 
P. Krug (portland, oregon United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Westworld [Import] (VHS Tape)
Eleven years before THE TERMINATOR and twenty years before Crichton's own JURRASSIC PARK, Mike wrote and directed this film about a futuristic theme park, Delos, based on three different historical periods staffed by robots who look human and are controlled by a central computer where guests can come and role play. The company tries to assure everyone that "Nothing can go wrong", almost as if they thought that if they felt everyone needed reassuring or that if they insisted everything would run smoothly, it would. (Say, when's the last time you ever heard of a real life amusement park promoting a tagline like,"Nothing can go wrong", or,"Customers NEVER die on any of our rides!"?) It's since become a cliche' where in movies a scientist tells every one nothing can go wrong with his creation and then inevitably, as with the Titanic, the ship that everyone said was unsinkable, something goes wrong. (See CHOPPING MALL, for example.)
Anyway...as for the film's story, it focuses on two tourists in particular, two chums, one who has been to Delos before, to it's Westernworld section, and who is taking his pal Richard, who was just in a messy divorce, to Westernworld in an effort to help his friend forget his toubles. For the first couple of days, everything's well and good. Richard wins a gun duel against Westernworld's resident villain, a robot gunslinger dressed, of course, in black. (The guns have sensors built in them so as not to fire if they detect the heat humans give out.) The two friends get involved in a staged barfight, they get to have sex with some of the local female 'bots, and then at one point Richard get put in the town jail and it's up to his friend James and a female android to bust him out. Oh, and by the way, every once in a while we switch to Medievalworld where another guest is staying and we see some of his experiences as well. Meanwhile in the control room problems are arrising. Malfuncions are occuring in the computer and the techs are really worried, to the point where they decide not to let in any new guests, at least until they can get the problems fixed. (But they don't send anyone who's already come to the park home early.) James and Richard are startled when one of them is bitten by a snake while just outside of town. The snake is artificial and so is not poisonous, but it's not supposed to bite people, ethier. The guy in Medievalworld is refused sex by a female droid, even though the robots are supposed to provide sex whenever the request is made. Then James and Richard meet up with the gunslinger in black again. Except this time his malfunctioning has made him forget he's supposed to let the tourists win. And the heat sensor in his gun is apparently also malfunctioning
...
I suspect Crichton might have been inspired by some of the problems the makers of Disneyland experienced early on with mechanical malfunctions. Another really noteworthy thing about this one is that even though it's set in the future, the characters are average Joe types. They're not a bunch of astronaughts or science intellectuals or philosophers. They're people just like you and me, people who marry and divorce. They aren't here to unlock the secrets of the universe or explore new worlds, they're just a bunch of everymen who happen to live in (presumably) the mid-21st. century, who just want to go on vacation. The world they live in looks like one we might live in now if only technology were a lot more advanced, the news report and the Delos advertisements look and feel like something you might see today. A true classic.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Film, Dec 29 2003
By 
M. Hart "Sci-Fi Fan" (USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Westworld (Widescreen) (DVD)
In 1973, the well-known sci-fi author Michael Crichton made his big-screen directorial debut with a futuristic story that he also wrote entitled "Westworld". With special effects initially reminiscent of (but not as good as) the 1968 classic "2001: A Space Odyssey", Michael Crichton created a fictional, futuristic resort populated with human-appearing androids that are managed by a human staff of engineers, computer programmers and technicians. Operated by the fictional corporation named Delos, the resort features three "worlds" set in historical contexts as their names imply: "Westworld", "Medievalworld" and "Romanworld". Each guest paid $1000 per day for the privilege of experiencing what it may have been like to live during one of those time periods. Rather than pay a human staff to act out roles in the various worlds, the Delos Corporation decided to use realistic androids to portray wild-west gunslingers, medieval knights and various people who would have lived in Roman times. The wonderful actor Yul Brynner (1915-1985) played one of the robotic wild-west gunslingers, and the guests included Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin), John Blane (James Brolin) and a banker (Dick Van Patten). Alan Oppenheimer played the Delos staff supervisor.
Though "Westworld" was one of the more popular films in 1973 and is still loved today by many sci-fi fans (as well as fans of Michael Crichton), thirty years later the film comes across as being rather dated, in large part due to various flaws within its plot. The most obvious flaws include the following:
1. Any computer-programming bug can be traced to its source and eliminated, but the Delos staff appeared incompetent.
2. The construction of an inescapable, airtight room would never have been allowed by building inspectors.
3. Acting in the film was mediocre at best, with the exception of Yul Brynner who did an excellent job portraying an android.
4. The exterior of the transport used to take guests to the resort is never shown. Instead, only the interior is shown, probably due to an inadequate film budget.
What makes "Westworld" still an entertaining film to watch thirty years later is that Michael Crichton's premise was good, but I can only rate the film now with 3.5 out of 5 stars rounded to 4 stars because of its flaws. Yul Brynner's portrayal of the emotionless robotic gunslinger may have been the archetype for Arnold Schwarzenegger's portrayal of the terminator android eleven years later in the 1984 film "The Terminator". Michael Crichton was far more successful with some of his other films that include "The Andromeda Strain", (1971), "Coma" (1978, which he also directed) and "Jurassic Park" (1993). An attempt to create a sci-fi TV series based upon "Westworld" in 1980 failed after only five episodes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Draw!, Oct. 14 2003
By 
Jeffrey Leach (Omaha, NE USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Westworld (Widescreen) (DVD)
I am not ashamed in the least to admit that the 1973 science fiction thriller "Westworld" is one of my all time favorite movies. I first saw it about twenty years ago and never forgot it, so when I had the opportunity to watch it again recently I jumped at the chance. I can easily say that I still found this picture still compelling with its mixture of futuristic elements and chilling suspense. Directed by big shot novelist Michael Crichton, the creator of "Jurassic Park," "The Andromeda Strain," and "Congo," "Westworld" may constitute his most compelling work to date in either print or on the big screen. Why? Because even at this early date Crichton effectively displays his concerns over technology and how mankind adapts to technical innovations. Not surprisingly, at least to anyone familiar with Crichton, man suffers plenty in "Westworld." It is important to remember that this writer/director is not the only creative talent dealing with the seeming incompatibility of man and machine: writer J.G. Ballard and director David Cronenberg have been exploring these vistas for decades now. Crichton holds his own with both of these visionaries, and "Westworld" resoundingly proves it.
"Westworld" begins with a lengthy commercial touting the benefits of vacationing at Delos, a company that runs a most unusual theme park. For only one thousand dollars a day (in 1973 dollars!), the curious can star in their own version of the Wild West (Westworld), Medieval Europe (Medievalworld), or in the decadent splendor of Rome (Romanworld). A steep price to play for such diversions, to be sure, but Delos employs amazingly realistic robots and stylish props to completely recreate these eras. A visitor to the Delos amusement park can fight a knight to win the hand of a queen, gun down outlaws in the streets, or take part in a Roman banquet. The robot characters look so real that it is difficult to tell them apart from the other guests, a fact that adds a real dimension of excitement to the experience when you stand down someone at the end of a gun barrel. Obviously, Delos cannot have guests dying violently left and right, so they engineered the props, like guns, to only fire at "cold" machines. An enormous army of technicians runs the show from an underground control center where the worlds undergo constant scrutiny and where employees repair robots "killed" or "injured" in the day's activities. Despite a few worrisome problems, mainly regarding some sort of emerging computer "virus" that mystifies the techies, Delos operates without many serious hitches.
Enter the main characters of the film, two business types looking for fun played by Richard Benjamin and James Brolin. Both decide to go to Westworld, and after donning western style clothing complete with firearms, they start their adventure. What follows is every western film cliché imaginable. The two take part in a bar brawl, share special relationships with the local ladies, and orchestrate a jailbreak. Moreover, the two soon earn the enmity of the local gunslinger, a sinister, shining eyed figure clad in black played with frosty efficiency by Yul Brynner. The shootouts involving the gunslinger look as though Crichton lifted them from a Sam Peckinpah movie, with blood spraying in slow motion splendor. "Westworld" even includes a nicely done "guy on fire scene," one of the best in cinematic history. The movie occasionally shifts to Medievalworld to follow the exploits of one of the park visitors there, but most of the action involves what is going on in Westworld. Look for Dick Van Patten in a smaller role as a white bread businessman who soon learns a thing or two about manhood at the theme park.
The last part of the film, after the computer virus causes the robots to rebel against their human masters, shifts the focus of the film from science fiction fare to a harrowing thriller. I think one of the grimmest, chilliest sequences in film history involves Brynner's single-minded pursuit of Richard Benjamin through the desert and mountains surrounding Delos. I can still hear the sound of the gunslinger's boots clicking down the long hallways of Delos's control center as he marches to the final showdown with his prey. Who will win in the battle between technology and man? Benjamin's character must apply the lessons he learned about being a man during his stay at Westworld to save his own life at the conclusion of the film, but it won't be easy triumphing over an unthinking killing machine.
Flaws do abound in this movie. How does Delos insure that swords and similar weaponry in Medievalworld won't hurt real guests? Why do the hands on two immobile robots change position in various shots? How can the gunslinger detect the heat patterns from Benjamin's feet on a sunny day, especially considering Benjamin was wearing boots and had left the tracks at least ten minutes before the gunslinger saw them? These are minor problems, but they are noticeable after repeated viewings. Overall, "Westworld" is a grand slam homerun that every science fiction fan must watch at some point. Regrettably, the movie did not receive a worthy DVD release. The film's transfer quality isn't bad, but it isn't great, either. A trailer is the only extra, so forget about listening to a commentary or seeing any production stills, cast bios, behind the scenes footage, or deleted scenes. Oh well, at least "Westworld" made it to DVD. For that, we can all be thankful.
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Westworld [Import] by Michael Crichton (DVD - 2010)
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