Thursday, November 18, 2010

Old-School Forgotten Sequels: Futureworld

When you strike gold, you shouldn't always assume that there is another nugget under there.  A lot of the times, there's just a bunch of dirt and oil.  In 1975, a great film called Westworld was made.  It told the tale of a futuristic amusement park for rich people that turned bloody.  How?  Because the whole thing was full of robots and they didn't stick to their programming.  Naturally, this led to not one but two spin-offs of this film.  First, they made the film that you're going to learn about today.  Second, they made a TV show that barely lasted five episodes.  DVD release in the future, guys?  This film loses most of its main cast, but does retain Yul Brenner...kind of.  I'll get into that later.  The movie has a lot of questions to answer, but don't expect to get a lot of that.  Get out your spark gun for my review of...
The film begins with...a game show?  Followed by a long shot of a man's eye as the credits roll.  This is all to set up the return of Delos, the amusement park of the future.  It's apparently been re-opened and the investors invite some reporters to a test run of it.  Mind you, they also invited a whole bunch of foreign dignitaries and the guy from the game show.  So, are you open or not?  Why are you having people look into your park if it's already open?!?  This is the first of many plot holes/confusions that we'll run across, so it's best to just pace yourself.  We are introduced to our two leads: Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner.  Fonda is a news reporter who meets up with a source named Frenchie, only to see him be shot and leave behind some evidence.  In a bit of ret-conning, they state that Fonda's reporter was at the original Delos site and broke the story.  Danner is a TV reporter who has a past with Fonda and doesn't want to steal the spotlight.  They have sex later- I'm just going to call that now.  Both of them go to the place, but Fonda questions some of the clientele.  What do you mean?  It's not like they're all rich, foreign dignitaries or something.  Oh- that does look a bit suspicious.
For those of you wondering how the place was allowed to be re-opened a mere 2 years after a whole slew of murder, the film does address it...kind of.  They explain that they spent $1 billion in remaking the entire facility and that the Westworld section took the bulk of the blame.  Yeah, that's it.  The Delos facility has a number of worlds, including Medieval World, Roman World and Future World.  In future world, you do things like ride in space shuttles and go on space stations.  Yeah, people do that now.  Mind you, this is the same movie that was originally known as 2002: Futureworld, so they're take on the future is a bit dubious.  Fonda and Danner are told that they can go anywhere in the facility whenever they want to...but they're going to have a guide- totally 'for their safety.'  This portion of the movie focuses on showing the inner workings of the facility  and juxtaposing that with the people enjoying the sights.  We see the Russian dignitaries drink drugged water and see their reflections as their younger selves.  Come to Roman World!  You'll come for the hallucinogenic drugs, but stay for the robot orgies!  We also see a Japanese dignitary fight a 'knight' in Medieval World and one of his aides take pictures, despite being told not to.  Does this go anywhere?  Nope.  During all of this, Fonda acts really paranoid, while Danner tells him to cool it.  This is the same sight that lied about the technicians being robots.  You can trust them, guys!  Completely random moment: Danner has a dream where she dances with Brenner's Gunslinger.  Big-Lipped Alligator Moment?
After wandering and causing all sorts of trouble, our heroes figure out the truth.  The Delos people kidnapped a whole bunch of the visitors- including Fonda and Danner- and made clones of them.  Are they robots?  No.  Are they humans?  No.  What are they?  Shut up- that's what!  They join forces with an engineer at the facility who keeps an old robot in his workspace.  They run afoul of a slew of Samurai robots as well- thanks, that added nothing.  The group agree to split up and make a break for the plane to escape the facility.  Back in their rooms, the evil boss confronts Fonda and gives more explanation of their plan.  He's apparently a robot too and wants to replace everyone with robots too.  Danner distracts him and a fight breaks out, before the woman shoots the robot with the spark-firing gun.  It's supposed to be bullets, I guess, but all we ever see are sparks.  Evil Fonda kills the engineer and chases the real one around, while Danner is confronted by hers on the ruins of Westworld.  Her clone-bot explains that she can read Danner's mind, which leads to...Danner shooting the thing dead.  Meanwhile, Fonda's clone taunts him at every turn, but can't read his mind.  Continuity anyone?  Fonda takes the fight to a higher point than before- why exactly?- before one of the Fondas falls to their death/destruction.  All seems to be in Delos' favor before Fonda reveals that he's the real McCoy.  The End.
This movie sucks big time!  The plot is a complete 180 in a lot of ways- none of them good.  I can buy the Delos company being evil or at least Machivellian, but when did they become controlled by robots?  They never set this plot point up as far as I can remember.  Never mind that the whole 'switch people out with robots' plot is obvious from the first time that Fonda questions the guest list.  You wanted that to be your twist why?!?  The acting is alright, although the supporting cast does play it a bit too forcefully.  Fonda is okay, while Danner is kind of an airhead.  They have a whole 'Mulder and Scully' thing going on, but that's just a pretense to have them screw.  The robot effects they actually show are alright.  The faceless robot is a good effect...until they linger on it.  Nice plaster mold of the head, movie!  On the plus side, they don't do the cheap 'split-screen' effect from Star Trek for the clones.  Considering how much shit this movie puts on screen, I guess that's a minor compliment to give.  Take it or leave it, you shitty movie sequel!
Next up, we wrap up this special week of reviews with the oldest of old-school films.  What happened after Gojira but before the more famous films?  This one.  Stay tuned...

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