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In Westworld, an amusement park of the most modern fashion is opened, where wealthy visitors can indulge in carnival dreams becoming reality: they can be sheriffs and knights, noble gentlemen and murderous villains. The worlds are being created most accurately, and they are being populated by highly sophisticated robots who have the look and feel of humans, but they are programmed to have sex with anybody who paid entrance fee and also to get killed by anybody whose ego requires a bit of a shootout before going back to the bank management next Monday. Until one of the Cowboy robots forgets the programming, and quickly all hell breaks loose.
In Westworld, two reporters are being invited by the company running the park to collect information about the re-opening and the new features. This marketing stunt to create trust and attract new customers is being met with scepticism by Chuck, who briefly before had a man dying in his arms who wanted to tell him a secret about the park. Together with a mechanic, they climb into the belly of the machinery and discover the secret of the operations and the reason why the park seeks to attract so many global leaders.

Now Westworld is a lasting childhood memory and really a film I have been longing to watch again for years. Of course it does not live up to expectations, not really. What it does is remind me of the fright the Black Cowboy caused when I saw him as a child, his robotic, irresistible walk, the feeling that there are not many things that can stop him from getting you, even though he never runs. Mike Myers meets the Terminator, in a setting that is exotically rich in colours and flavours (Knights, Kings, Castles, Cowboys, Romans, grapes and sex and Whiskey and bar fights and brothels, all there) and at the same time aseptic and cold, in a kind of scientific atmosphere Crichton is insurmountable in achieving (see Andromeda Strain for even higher level of perfection). That is all: the atmosphere is overwhelming, the plot is thin and acting is poor, never mind, every gets what they deserve in the end, and the feeling lasts that you did not just watch a Science Fiction movie, but indeed a parable on decadence and lower human instincts that are reflected in their leisure behaviour.
Futureworld, in contrast, does not have anything parabolic. It is very straightforward in creating a James Bond-ish world conquering setting, and pretty ridiculous at that. Terrible directing, especially in what counts as action scenes (some Samurai fighters being summoned out of thin air… what hell of an idea was that?!?). If the stunt coordinator or editor or second unit director (if they had all that) of Futureworld would ever get exposed to a minute of any “Bourne” installment, his brains would fry.
Harry the Mechanic actually gives a bit of human flavour to the otherwise terrible pseudo-SciFi gravy, and Peter Fonda – even though he clearly was young and needed the money for the next haircut – is cool and confident enough not to care about the incredible rubbish being created around him.

If I ever have the idea again that watching those two films would be a good idea, in sum I would suggest: stop me!

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