Westworld

Westworld (1973)

Westworld (1973)

An expensive fantasy getaway turns into a nightmare as machine turns against man and the wild west turns truly wild.

Delos, made up of three fantasy worlds – Medievalworld, Romanworld and the titular Westworld – is a rich man’s playground where tourists can live out their fantasies in a world of hyper-realistic androids.  You can duel, joust, battle or party to your heart’s delight.  Until the computers turn against their masters and the androids turn the guests, that is.  James Brolin is the cocksure would-be gunslinger who takes his pal Richard Benjamin into Westworld to unwind and put his divorce behind him.  They visit the whorehouse, break out of jail and even outduel the brooding man in black, Yul Brynner.  It’s all fun and games until Brynner comes back, looking for revenge.  He turns the tables and sets up a surrealistic chase through all three worlds, stalking his prey, as the robots and machines in all of the worlds turn on their masters.

The film is a little on the short side, but considering how much actual material is here, the pacing is strong.  The first half of the movie is basically fluff, but you never notice that nothing much has happened due to the novelty of the experience and the masterful way in which Brolin’s character is used to provide the exposition.  The acting is first rate and the effects, sparse as they are, are passable for a 1970s film.

Dark and suspenseful, “Westworld” is more than a story of man against machine, but also a parable against our own baser instincts.  Written and directed by Michael Crichton, it also shows us that – as the man who also gave us “Jurassic Park” – Crichton clearly grew up hating amusement parks.

Stars: 4.5/5

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