Monday, November 21, 2016

Sci Fi Top 100, #68: "Westworld" (1973)

Movie Stats:
Released 1973 (USA)
American, in English
Director - Michael Crichton
Stars - Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Yul Brynner

Plot Summary:
At the amusement park Delos, vacationers can spend $1,000 per day for one of three authentic experiences: Roman World, Medieval World, or West World. However, when the robots that populate these worlds begin to malfunction, terror ensues. Benjamin and Brolin co-star respectively as Peter Martin and John Blane, two friends on an adventure together in West World, and Brynner as the malfunctioning gunslinger that hunts them down.

Violence; gore; sexy times.

Bad Stuff:
It doesn’t seem to have much of a point. Or, if it does (humans trying to play god is bad, perhaps), it doesn’t try to showcase it at all.

I would say it falls a little more on the horror/thriller end of the scale than it does on the sci fi end.

Good Stuff:
The pacing is very good. Peter and John are just two friends having a good time playing cowboys while the noose slowly settles around their necks without them even realizing it. It’s actually quite chilling. (The scene where Peter and John finally realize that something has gone terribly wrong is excellent.)

Acting was great. Benjamin and Brynner were my favorites. I also enjoyed the cameos from Dick Van Patten (as another West World vacationer) and Majel Barrett (as brothel owner Miss Carrie).

I thought it was realistic. The explanation for what went wrong with the robots was plausible. The reaction of the company - the inclination to keep running so as not to lose out on money - seemed true to business form. I also liked how the humans didn’t magically become bad asses once the robots turned on them; they didn’t suddenly know how to fight or use weaponry, they just did the best that they could with whatever they could find.

The Verdict:
I enjoyed it. It’s not deep or meaningful. It’s not going to make you think. This is one of those pure entertainment films. You watch it for the thrill, not for mental stimulation. It’s a little cheesy, but it’s good in pretty much every way imaginable. And at barely an hour and a half long, it’s an excellent choice for one of those nights when you want to sit down with some popcorn and an action flick.

I give it 4 stars.


Patricia said...

And now it's also a series! Have you seen any of the series? I've heard some praise. (I think)

balyien said...

I've heard a lot of praise. I watched the first episode. Haven't gotten around to watching the rest. I'm having trouble committing to TV shows.