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Baron's review

Westworld (7 August 2000)

The paradigm for robo-lovers everywhere! The story is simple: two guys vacation at Delos, the resort of the future. Westworld is one of three complexes (Roman and Medieval Worlds being the others) where guests can live out their wildest fantasies. All three areas of Delos are peopled by lifelike robots, programmed to serve their guests (in every way).

All goes well for our heroes (James Brolin, Richard Benjamin); they have a hell of a time shooting up the place, and bedding the local (mechanical) talent. Trouble in paradise looms as one of their previous "victims" (Yul Brynner, deserving a nod for his superb performance) comes back to haunt them, in most lethal fashion. From this point on, the movie establishes a benchmark for the old "technology gone haywire" cliche. The robots turn on their guests, first gently (Daphne refusing a seduction), then lethally (the black Knight). Brynner leads the way, as a nearly indestructible killing machine.

After several close calls, and several failed attepts at destruction, our remaining hero (Benjamin) gets the drop on the Gunslinger, setting him ablaze. Thinking himself home free, Benjamin stumbles across a damsel in distress. Hoping to revive her somewhat with a drink of water, imagine his shock when the girl sparks, buzzes, and smokes, in a decidedly un-human way. The (charred) Gunslinger staggers in to deliver one final shock, before falling to his (inevitable) doom.

This film (almost) has it all: blank looks, malfunctions, activation, exposed innards, and generally sexy actresses in most of the fembot roles. Missing: mechanical/monotone voices. In order of appearance the lady robots are: Chris Holter (blank stewardess), Lin Henson (attendant), Majel Barrett (Miss Carrie), Linda Scott (Arlette), Anne Randall (Daphne), Victoria Shaw (Queen), Sharyn Winters (Apache Girl), and Julie Marcus (girl in dungeon). Not listed are the uncredited Blonde stewardess, and Cindy the saloon girl.

Many connections exist between thi film and other female robot / general sci-fi productions. I'll only mention one: Arlette looks an awful lot like the earlier robot seen in one ep of "The Green Hornet" TV show.

Having recently screened the DVD, and with all the recent buzz about a remake, I thought now would be a good time to once again look at what for many of us here is THE standard, as far as robo-flicks go.

We're all well aware of the rumored re-make featuring Governor Arnie in some capacity (NOT as the Gunslinger); in light of what befell the Stepford re-make, perhaps Westworld is better off in "development limbo" - at least until wiser heads come along in LA-LA land (I'm not holding my breath Icon twisted.gif )!

As for the original, it still holds up fairly well a good 31 years after release; quite a feat considering how today's films seem to be relying more on the "gee-whiz" window dressing, rather than solid stories / scripts / casts, etc.

Hell, the last 25 minutes of Westworld is essentially pantomime; little or no dialogue is present (or needed), save for the penultimate vignette with Julie Marcus in the dungeon. Can you imagine one of today's "stars" relying on their acting abilty, rather than their mouths for 1/3 of a film? And Crichton himself wrote the blueprint for "re-imagineering" when he "remade" the basic premise of Westworld as "Jurassic Park." Pity that so many other attempts at re-imagineering fall WAY short of the mark........ Icon twisted.gif


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