Westworld (1973) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Terminator vs Jurassic Park version 0.1

Dir. Michael Crichton

Runtime: 88 minutes

Rating: PG

Starring: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin

What a film! Michael Chrichton’s screenplay adapted into movie format with Yul Brynner playing the role of his life (after “The King and I” (1956)) with a great supporting cast including Richard Benjamin and James Brolin.

In the dystopian future of 1983 holidays are different to what you might expect. Theme parks are now robotic holiday resorts which are so authentic that they’d pass for real life, something that Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) has to get his head around when he visits with his colleague John Blane (James Brolin). Delos (the company running the resort) have RomanWorld, MedievalWorld, and WestWorld, all running under the same roof, where all needs and tastes are catered for. But what happens when the androids decide they don’t want slavery anymore? That’s something that Peter has to deal with during his visit as the androids go rogue. He faces a fight for survival as one particular android, the Gunslinger (Yul Brynner), has his sights set on him. With a one-track mind the Gunslinger will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal.

I have soo many fond memories of watching this as a child with glee. The story of the gunslinger in black hunting guests terrified and excited me so much. After re-watching it every couple of years I still have same enjoyment from this film. Yul Brynner is immaculate as the pre-terminator robot gone bad. This film is credited in some circles as being the birthplace to CGI in films. The terminator-esque point of view that the Gunslinger sees through is a rastered 2D layer to make the film look highly pixelated with only 3 main colours. Prior to this, CGI had only really been done in experimental film but it’s “WestWorld” that brought it to the masses. It wasn’t cheap, and certainly wasn’t easy. Crichton is said to have found out that the proper way of doing it would cost $200,000 and take 9 months. He decided to go down a different route though and got an effect done a lot quicker and cheaper. He managed to cut other corners to save on budget too, for example the filming took just 30 days… 30 DAYS!!! He only filmed what he needed to

Fun Fact: The Gunslingers appearance is practically identical to that of Chris Adams in “The Magnificent Seven” (1960), another Yul Brynner character. This helped audiences recognize the character but also worked with one of Crichton’s theories for the film; “most of the situations in the film are cliches; they are incidents out of hundreds of old movies

Fun Fact: Brynner’s performance directly influenced both John Carpenter and James Cameron. In “Halloween” (1978) and “The Terminator” (1984) the bad guys almost copy Brynner’s emotionless march and soulless need for action.

Culturally this film asked a lot of valid questions prevalent at the time as mankind was integrating more and more with technology while being on the doorstep to various conflicts globally. Like some of the themes, some of the visuals are now very dated but don’t forget, this is pre-CGI mainstream, this is the 1970’s. It was made at the time for around $1.2 million and went on to gross over $10 million at the box office. It spawned a sequel (“FutureWorld (1976)“) and a TV series in 2016 starring Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marden, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Hemsworth, Ed Harris, and Anthony Hopkins. This film remains one of my all-time favorite films, and it’s highly recommended. Enjoy!

⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ (9/10)

5 thoughts on “Westworld (1973) ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐”

  1. I’ve always enjoyed Westworld. My only reservation is I wasn’t keen on Richard Benjamin. He came across as a bit of a Mr Bean character, a bit of a wet lettuce.

    Great film though, I love a theme park goes wrong thriller.

    Liked by 1 person

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