DIRECTOR: Michael Crichton
May Contain Spoilers!
The late Michael Crichton may be best known for his novel and subsequent Spielberg adaptation of Jurassic Park (1993), but his work on films goes back along way. He directed and wrote sci-fi classics such as the Amdromida Stain (1971) and Coma (1978), as well as writing and directing this classic.
People often tell me that Westworld is a “great film” but they haven’t seen it in twenty years. It’s Yul Brynner’s performance as The Gunslinger in the eponymous Westworld which they like, which itself comes of the back of his role in The Magnificent Seven (1960).
But the concept of Westworld and the other two, Future World and Medieval World, are is good. The rich of the near future, visit a theme park, where there dreams and whims can be acted out in a fantasy world, populated by robots, designed to simulate humans and animals. The machines can be shot and killed without any real harm coming to anyone. It’s a technological dream to come true.
But this is a 1974 Sci-fi story. Computers were fascinating but dangerous and the fear of allowing them to have too much power over us was palpable. This complex is controlled by a supercomputer which develops a computer virus, and novel concept in the 1970’s, which leads to a loss of control and the robots turning deadly.
Is it just me, of does this sound a lot like Jurassic Park only with robots? That’s not a bad thing as the concept is good and Jurassic Park would later go on to do this justice, but here, the execution is poor. The casting is below average in most cases with Yul Brynner bringing nothing to role besides his face.
The images of the workshop and mechanical people and horses being repaired is striking and are the ideas being this classic but for me, it’s too dated and offers little in the way of the action which it promises. The intellectual side is good though, if not a little obsolete and simplistic by todays standards, as our laptops can probably do more that this infected supercomputer and that exposition is aimed at an audience with ZERO understanding of computers, whilst this knowledge is now common place.
A worthy effort but one which I believe would reach its full potential with Jurassic Park 20 years later.