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Westworld (1973)

Jondee here at Delos,


This is a review that was written last year with some updates. Before Jurassic World, there was Westworld. This film was written and directed by Michael Crichton, who created Jurassic Park as a novel in 1990. It was Crichton’s first feature film in 1973 and was ground breaking in using CGI through the Gunslinger Vision. Westworld does not feature “biological attractions”, but is a theme park created for adults. It in fact, uses advanced robots to fulfill guest fantasies. The film begins with a reporter talking about the Delos park made up of Romanworld which recreates Pompeii in its pre-volcano days, the 13th century Europe of Medievalworld, and Westworld which is the frontier of 1880. He notes that it costs $1,000 a day. Even at 1970’s prices, this is incredibly cheap with the number of robots destroyed and maintaining the park. This switches to the hovercraft taking guests to Delos. Two guests are ready for Westworld; Peter Martin played by 70’s everyman Richard Benjamin and his friend, West World vet, John Blane played by a young James Brolin. They are later joined by Dick Van Patten who plays a humdrum unnamed man. It is explained that the robots of Delos are not perfected especially with the hands (which look plastic) and their low body temperature activates the guns. They dress in Western wear before heading off to Westworld. The duo arrives at the Grand Hotel via stagecoach, after checking in, they head to the bar. Peter is bumped by the man in black, the Gunslinger played by Yul Brynner. Brynner of course sealed his Western cred in The Magnificent Seven (1960) which also has a modern remake with the Antoine Fuqua film. The freaky part is the glow of the Gunslinger’s irises. John encourages Peter to shoot the Gunslinger. Peter shoots him three times and it looks like red paint spurting out of the Gunslinger’s wounds.


We get a glimpse of a banquets at Medievalworld and then the duo head over to a whorehouse run by Miss Carrie. She is played by Majel Barrett who played Nurse Chapel in Star Trek. A little stunned to see her play a madam. She brings two of her girls, Cindy and Arlette. Arlette’s irises glow when she opens her eyes, she’s a Sex Model robot. As they sleep, work crews in vans collect the robot bodies from the gunfight. Alan Oppenheimer plays the Chief Technician checking on the robots. Oppenheimer is a well known voice actor for cartoons (also the voice of Falkor in Neverending Story!) and is also known as Dr. Rudy Wells in the Six Million Dollar Man show after working on Westworld. One of robots had a malfunction and the supervisor ponders that this is a second one. He believes it is working like a disease. The robots are frozen until the technicians have Resort Activation in the morning after sunrise. John gets a knock at the door and the Gunslinger enters with his gun pointed at John. Pete kicks in the door and shoots the Gunslinger until he crashes out of the window and falls bloody to the ground. Pete is thrown in jail, but John arranges for a jail break. At the canyon hideout of the outlaws, John is bitten by a snake. The snake is examined at the lab and the Chief Technician reports that the logic circuits failed with the snake. One technician suggests that the resort be closed for a month. The resort has been booked so Delos remains open. There is no Nedry to disrupt the park, this happens through a system wide breakdown.


A bar fight breaks out and John and Pete sit quietly until a man crashes into their table. The creepy Medievalworld guest is rejected by a serving girl who slaps him. He later gets in a fight with the Black Knight, his sword is bent in the duel, and he gets killed by the Black Knight’s sword. Then, the duo face the Gunslinger. He guns down John and Pete knows this is for real and starts to run. This is the classic Terminator hunt. Guests are being slaughtered by the robots at every part of the resort. Technicians note that the robots are working off stored charges and can go on up to 12 hours. The Lycine Contingency. They also find out that the doors are sealed and they are running out of oxygen. Pete on horseback leaves Westworld, takes a service corridor in Romanworld, and ends up in the lab. He finds a bottle of hydrochloric acid and pretends to be one of the robots on the tables throwing the acid in the Gunslinger’s face. Pete walks away, but the Gunslinger is not finished. His face is worn and part of his mechanical jaw is exposed. Make-up right out of the Terminator (1984). Pete races into Medievalworld. The Gunslinger vision can only sense Pete’s heat signature. Under a torch, he is hidden, and he sets the Gunslinger on fire with it. Pete reaches the dungeon starts to walks away to turn and face the Gunslinger who is charred from the fire and he falls. The Gunslinger picks himself up with no face only electronics and then collapses in a sparking death. The relentless robot is what is copied nearly to a T in the original Terminator. Arnold is no Yul Brynner. A new HBO series was created by Jonathan Nolan based on the Crichton film. It stars Anthony Hopkins as creator of the park, Dr. Robert Ford, the Gunslinger is now The Man in Black played by Ed Harris, and also in the series is Evan Rachel Wood as Dolores Abernathy. It is set to debut this year (October 2 at 9 p.m.!),