2 of 2 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
3.0 out of 5 stars STILL AWESOME
James Brolin could very well have pulled off one of the worst acting jobs of all times in this movie. Richard Benjamin is too dorky to even WATCH some times, but hey, who cares. This is a clever story that was done so well (in terms of special effects) for 1973 standards. It had the feel of smart Star Trek episodes (old cast). Yul was the perfect bad guy in this...
Published on Jan. 28 1999
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2 of 2 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. 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.)
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Yul never be the same,
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?
4.0 out of 5 stars Westworld Blu-ray,
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This review is from: Westworld [Blu-ray] (Bilingual) (Blu-ray)
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars WESTWORLD  [40th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import],
This review is from: Westworld [Blu-ray] [Import] (Blu-ray)
WESTWORLD  [40th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import] A Wonderfully Enjoyable Fantasy! Great Stuff!
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 program. Michael Crichton (`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 and Anne Bellamy
Director: Michael Crichton
Producer: Paul Lazarus III
Screenplay: Michael Crichton
Composer: Fred Karlin
Cinematography: Gene Polito
Video Resolution: 1080p
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
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: Making his directorial debut 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 'Westword,' Crichton tackles the issues of technology and man's overreliance on it. Set in the near future (which could very much be our own present), 'Westworld' (also frequently referred to in the movie as 'Westernworld') 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.
As the film opens, friends Peter [Richard Benjamin] and John [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 serves primarily as the movie's information provider, telling Peter (and, thus, the viewer) how and why things work the way they do in 'Westworld.' When the two visits a saloon, Peter is taunted by a 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-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-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. 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 movie 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 Bros. 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 English track here is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Track (Dolby Digital 1.0 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 movie, 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.
According to the IMDb web page, `Westworld' was released in the four-track stereo process that was later supplanted by Dolby Surround. If Warner had access to the original elements, it would certainly account for the richness and dynamic range of the Blu-ray's 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, which is astonishingly good for a film of this vintage. The sound effects editing on `Westworld' is frequently subpar, especially when the action switches into slow motion, but the score by Fred Karlin ('The Sterile Cuckoo') sounds superb, with a clear sense of stereo separation and a wide dynamic range with a solid bottom end. Although there is little in the way of noteworthy surround activity, the mono surround channel provides an expansive sense of presence for the score. The dialogue remains firmly anchored to the front and is always clear.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Documentary: On Location With Westworld [480i] [9:07] This is an original vintage behind-the-scenes documentary from 1973 showing how the movie was made, and primarily focusing on writer/director Michael Crichton, as well interviews with fellow actors Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin. Although it's an all-too-brief look at the production, it is easily the best bonus feature and it's nice that Warner's decided to include it on this release.
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 [480i] [3:07] If you're one of the few who has yet to see 'Westworld' 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
4.0 out of 5 stars Nothing Can Go Wrong (With This Movie, Anyway),
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'.
4.0 out of 5 stars It's all fun and games until the robots malfunction.,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Film,
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.
5.0 out of 5 stars Draw!,
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.
4.0 out of 5 stars Loved this one Guys,
For those who have not visited Delos, please remember when this movie was made. The special effects are long in the tooth from todays ultra modern effects labratory's quality.
Delos is the entertainment resort of tommorrow. Perhaps ideas for Star Trek's Data character came from here. Robots inhabit 3 different "Worlds" of entertainment for tired and weary businessmen and women.
Westworld is where Yul Brenner is, and this is the Wild West. Very cool ! You can shoot and drink and even fool around with pleasure robots and no one actually gets hurt. If you try to shoot at another guest your gun will not work.
Medieval World is for those who want to be knights and kings, and looks fun with all its handmaidens.
Roman World is the height of decadent behavior.
Now with all this good fun, what could possibly go wrong ?
Watch this movie and you will check all your friends hands for little circles to see if they are real or not !
They made a sequal of this one for those who do not know called Futureworld, which features a more sinister plot of copying people in positions of power and replacing them with robots.
Westworld is much more honest and just tryin to give the people clean good fun. Too bad no one told the robots !
A fun movie to watch, remember its age though so your not disappointed by outdated special effects and those awful polyester clothing styles of the 70's.
Elliot Gould very much in his normal role and character, if your a fan of his, he is the star of the movie who unravels what went wrong.
4.0 out of 5 stars Westworld where nothing can go worng....,
Shot with a paltry budget of roughly a million dollars, Michael Crichton's Westworld echoes many of the themes that would appear in later, far more successful novels and films (Jurassic Park, Congo). Although shot on a slim budget, the film manages to overcome the thin production values by effective use of the MGM western sets and backlot.
The film deals with a Crichton constant theme---technology outpacing humanity's ability to deal with the moral implications. Disaster usually results because of a lack of understanding or overconfidence on the part of the scientist. Our two heroes played by James Brolin and Richard Benjamin travel to Delos--a Disneyland for adults. The amusement park is stocked with robots that allow a guest to experience the old west, Rome at the height of its power and the middle ages. Brolin and Benjamin select Westworld. There they experience the old west by participating in saloon fights, fighting bank robbers and killing rival gunslingers. The main gunsligher is played by Yul Brynner is a marvelous take off of his main character from The Magnificent Seven.
The machines begin to malfunction injuring guests and putting both Brolin and Benjamin in harm's way as The Gunslinger hunts them down because he lost one too many gunfights. Science is powerless to stop the machines as they run wild.
The direction is solid and well paced. The writing sharp and witty. Crichton was the first writer/director to introduce the concept of a computer virus destroying the programming of computers and machines. Remember, this was in 1973 prior to the widespread use of computers. Despite the fact that Crichton had to cut a major sequence from the film (and didn't even get to script or direct the opening "commerical" as there was a writer's guild strike going on at the time), Westworld is both entertaining and a great cautionary tale. In many respects, the lack of budget has prevented the film from aging--there aren't any attempts to build any futuristic vehicles (beyond the hovercraft seen briefly at the beginning).
The DVD is presented in both standard and widescreen. The transfer is crisp and sharp looking with few analog artifacts (i.e., dust, dirt and scratches). It's a pity that the presentation is so bare bones as this film could benefit from a running commentary from director Crichton or actors Brolin and Benjamin. The only extra is the original theatrical trailer. Westworld could have also benefited from a gallery of the promotional materials for the film and any existing outtakes. The colors are vibrant and the photography imaginative.
Both Brolin and Benjamin give believable, strong performances. Brynner, though, is the gem here. His robot Gunslinger commands the screen whenever he's around. While the audience does root for the two main characters, it's the robotic anti-hero that proves the most compelling presence.
So visit Westworld and stay for awhile. Just don't overstay your welcome or you might get a visit from a certain Gunslinger with a grudge....
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Westworld [Import] by Michael Crichton (DVD - 2010)
CDN$ 7.54 CDN$ 7.46