20 December 2010

Review - Futureworld


Westworld (1973) was an awesome movie.  It had all sorts of cool stuff including a fancy resort where people could live out their fantasies, androids, gunfights, Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin…  well Richard Benjamin in a serious role.

Hey, you've got Futureworld in your eye
Three years later the sequel was released, Futureworld!  The Delos resort has opened two years after the disaster at Westworld.  Over 50 guests were killed and 95 staff were inured or killed during that mishap.  Now, in the far future year of 2002, they claim to have worked out the problem and are again open for business.  The Westworld area has been shut down and the new Futureworld has been added as an option for the guests.

A couple of reporters are sent to do preliminary work on a news story about Delos.  They have names, but that isn’t really an important part of the story.  Now a protagonist should basically be a character or characters in the story that the audience is supposed to care about and identify with on some level.  Then when they face the obstacles and challenges of the story we actually give a rat’s buttocks what happens to them.  Our protagonists for Futureworld are lame and annoying.  I was hoping to see Yul blow one of them away at some point.

The Protagonists
 Anyway, these two characters go to Delos for their story.  The male lead, we’ll call him Todd for the sake of argument, had an earlier encounter with a man who supposedly came from Delos and had important information for him.  This man, not Todd, is assassinated and all Todd finds on his body are news clips of various important world leaders who have made recent trips to Delos.  Instead of letting the police handle things I guess Larry decided to just steal the evidence from a murder scene and try to create a great story about it.  Needless to say Todd looses all of his objectivity and is out to ‘get’ Delos…  sorta like a real reporter in 2002.

During the whole trip and arrival at Delos we are continually told how safe everything is and how nothing could possibly go wrong.  After the eighth or ninth time I hear the reassurances I was certain we’d have a repeat of the Westworld disaster.  They weren’t going to use the same story again were they?

Anyway our two protagonists go to Futureworld instead of Medievalworld or Romanworld, it’s the fancy new addition to the resort and it also happens to be the name of the movie.  After a simulated rocket ride they arrive on the ‘spaces station.’  There are cool things to do in Futureworld, including skiing on Mars (where the snow is red and the gravity is one-third of Earth’s), spacewalking around the space station, and other activities.  However there are really two activities that people go to Delos for, I’ll go into those in detail down below.

The Future looks a lot like the '70s
Our Todd and the female reporter don’t get to do much fun stuff before they are pulled away into the bowels of Delos to see how things actually operate.  It is revealed the reason nothing can go wrong this time is that nearly all the staff are now androids so that human errors can’t cause another disaster.  That can’t be good.

We next get a strange scene where a demonstration is made of some sort of dream recorder.  Our female protagonist is strapped in and falls asleep and her dream is shown on a video monitor for all to see.  It involves some strange bad guys harassing her and then she is rescued by The Gunslinger.  After he saves her they begin a strange dance and end up in bed together making out.  It is the most absurd scene in the movie and does not seem to make too much sense since before leaving on the trip she watched the video footage of The Gunslinger going around Westworld murdering people.  Strange what turns some people on.

This scene made me cry because it was so stupid
The real purpose of that scene was to get Yul Brynner’s name on it and make people think something awesome was going to happen.  I guess I can’t blame him for doing it, he may have needed some extra cash and got a chance to make-out with Blythe Danner.  It’s just a shame that was the last performance he made on screen before his death.

The movie continues with our heroes…. I mean the main characters of the movie… stumbling around in some restricted areas of Delos.  They meet an engineer and his out-of-date android, ‘Clark.’  With his help they uncover the real plot of the movie.  Delos is replacing world leaders and generals and such with organic androids which are indistinguishable form the originals and totally loyal to Delos.  Yikes, world conquest from an android brothel!

Clark, the real hero of this movie, and all he did was cheat at cards
As the protagonists attempt to escape (and that engineer guy that helped them gets killed) but are confronted by organic androids of themselves that were going to replace them and write good stories about Delos.  The androids happened to decide to wear the same clothes as the originals so we have no idea who won the life and death struggles until the last minutes of the film.

As might be guessed from a simplistic film from the ‘70s the originals defeated their android duplicates and pretended to be the androids in order to escape Delos.  And as they escape Todd turns to the director of Delos and appears to give him the finger.  In actuality I believe he was giving the audience the finger because we had to sit through all that… the exploitation of Yul, the under-utilization of Clark, and the rather lame story.

Oh well.  At least Westworld is still awesome.

The actual purpose of Delos is for the guests to fulfill their dreams of sex and violence.  The androids do whatever the guests want including being their sex slaves.  Many of the androids are also designed to be murdered.  Charming.

Additionally, back in the movie Westworld, they explained how the resort’s weapons worked.  They had heat sensors that would be able to tell the difference between a living being (it would be warm) and an android (it would be room temperature).  The weapons would work only against the poor room temperature bastard and the guests would be fine.  So the androids are room temperature… that’s kinda creepy considering the other use for androids is sex.  Delos is a necrophliac’s dream come true.  Now they just have to add on Whitechapelworld so the guests can try their hand at stalking and killing prostitutes.

I’d have to give this film a four out of thirteen.  There was a good idea buried in there somewhere, so that’s worth a couple of points.  There was a cool cover of the Famous Monsters of Filmland that featured Clark the andoid, so that’s worth another point or two.  I’m rounding up to four since I’m a generous and awesome person.

This rating makes it worth watching for background noise as you do something else.  It is suggested you watch Westworld first to get the whole backstory.

If you’ve seen Futureworld please let me know what you think.

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