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Where nothing can go wrong...go wrong...go wrong...
Writer/director Michael Crichton. In Delos, a big-money theme park of the near future, robots provide your every need or want. It is divided into three sections: Medieval World, Roman World, and Western World. Visitors Richard Benjamin and James Brolin have a great time drinking, bedding local wenches (androids?), and shooting robots that spurt realistic blood.
Then the park’s computer slips a cog and the robots turn on the guests. Yul Brynner agreed to star as the villainous gunfighter provided that he could base his robot on the character he played in The Magnificent Seven movies and wear the same black outfit. He also wore special contact lenses that reflect light eerily as the robot.
Supporting cast includes Majel Barrett of Star Trek, Steve Franken, Alan Oppenheimer, and Dick Van Patten (I’m sure you all remember him from Mel Brooks' Spaceballs as the King of Alderaan, and his son from MonsterVision’s Zone Troopers)
89 minutes, panavision, Rated PG
It is now 3 years later. The robots have been fixed and two reporters are sent to cover the reopening of the Delos theme parks. This time around, new movie director Richard Heffron brings in a mad-scientist plot, in which world leaders are to be invited to the park and secretly replaced by robot look-alikes. Filmed largely on location at futuristic malls and at Houston Manned Space Center, with a bigger budget than “Westworld.” And of course Brynner is back as the gunman in black like some kind of unstoppable terminator
Cast: Peter Fonda, Yul Brynner, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill of The Andromeda Strain, John Ryan, Stuart Margolin
104 minutes, Rated PG, usually scheduled on tv/cable with Westworld
Beyond Westworld (1980)
In this hour-long weekly TV-series, the scientist who created the robots, angry that they’re used only as playthings, unleashes them on the world. Each week, a Delos policeman and his comely assistant track down one of them. It might be a robot who replaced a crewman on a nuclear sub, or a Senator’s assistant. Maybe even the Senator him/herself! Unfortunately, like the Planet Of The Apes tv-series, CBS assumed the TV-series would have a built-in audience from the movies and gave it little support. It debuted March 5 and was gone at the end of the season in May, 1980. Lon Shaw directed the series and wrote the pilot episode.
Cast: Jim McMullan, James Wainwright, Connie Selleca, William Jordan, plus guest stars. No mention of Crichton, though Jordan’s character is named Oppenheimer (one of the actors in the original movie).
Jurassic Park (1993)
Directed by Steven Spielberg. Former medical doctor Michael Crichton returned to his satirizing of big-time theme parks where nothing can go wrong with this screenplay, co-written from his novel of the same name. This time, billionaire Richard Attenborough has taken dinosaur DNA from insects trapped in ancient amber (a trick actually used previously in the 1960s Batman TV-series) to grow full-size dinos. Before the theme park opens, he invites paleontologists Sam Neill and Laura Dern for a preview, along with mathematician Jeff Goldblum (of MonsterVision’s The Fly and Independence Day). Also along are Attenborough’s grandchildren. Why not? Nothing can go wrong with the electric fences and security run by computers…
The movie won three Oscars; for Visual Effects, Sound & Sound Effects, and for Editing. Jurassic Park movies page
Oddly, the decade was almost over before the inevitable two sequels came along. So far, there has not been a Jurassic Park tv-series, unless you count the Saturday-morning series Land Of The Lost.
"Westworld" is available on video and on DVD from Amazon.com
"Futureworld" is available on video only, from Goodtimes Video
Think of "Westworld" as a cross between Invasion Of The Body Snatchers and The StepfordWives (1973), in which Paula Prentiss moves to a town where smiling wives see to their husband's every need (including the bedroom). But something is terribly wrong...And she at the time was married to Richard Benjamin of "Westworld"
See if your favorite person, TV series or
motion picture is available on video:
"Westworld," scheduled occasionally on the SciFi Channel
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