FUTUREWORLD Blu-ray Review

     April 10, 2013


In 1973, Michael Crichton wrote and directed Westworlda sci-fi classic that went on to influence The Terminator, Crichton’s own Jurassic Park and one of the best episodes of The Simpsons.  A few years later TV creators Richard T. Heffron, Mayo Simon, and George Schenck made a sequel that remains mostly forgotten.

Futureworld does attempt to take the Westworld concept in an interesting direction.  Had it worked, it’s not hard to envision a world in which the Westworld saga became a series of increasingly bizarre chapters ala Planet of the Apes.  The ingredients are there.  Cool robots, counter culture undertones and the awesome camp inherent in 1970s theme park design.  Unfortunately, despite some lofty goals, Futureworld is kind of a slog.  Hit the jump for our review of Futureworld on Blu-ray.

futureworldTwo years after Yul Brynner and his robot buddies went awesomely apeshit, the Delos corporation has reopened their park.  This time everything is super-100% disaster proof and there is totally no way that robots can run amok again because they replaced the human staff with new, even smarter robots because that is obviously a plan that will work.  Surprisingly, it totally does.  Ten minutes into the movie, it looks like this is going to be a rehash of Westworld and to Futureworld’s credit, it takes thing in a very different direction.  Less to its credit, that direction is super dull and pretty poorly executed.

Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner are reporters who, along with a hand-picked group of world leaders, are invited to preview the now-totally-100%-safe Delos Amusement Park.  Fonda, an old school, facts-first newspaperman, stomps around in a cranky, pandering, bored-sounding funk,  while Danner’s young, go getter of a TV reporter wears a gentle, accommodating smile.  The fact that they used to sleep together is just the tip of Futureworld’s quaint, infuriating gender politics as Fonda take every opportunity to behave like a smarmy, pandering jackass.

futureworld-blu-rayThere is some fun misdirection at play; one character sneaks a camera into the park, there is some business involving another character’s antique sword and it really feels like they’re setting up round two robot rampage. But these all turn out to be red herrings.  Delos is secretly making android copies of its powerful guests, with the intention of sending them out into the world to recommend the park to their powerful friends so that they visit the park and then Delos takes over the world.

There’s a  nugget of a fun idea there, with corporate interests literally stealing political power but Futureworld isn’t really interested in fun.  It’s almost as if the filmmakers saw The China Syndrome and felt the need to make a similarly serious expose about the dangers of theme-park robot identity theft.  There are like ten scenes in the entire movie and each lasts waaaay beyond its expiration date.  It feels like half the movie is composed of characters walking slowly past dank pipes.

It amounts to a huge missed opportunity.  There are moments that hint at a minor camp classic and I kept hoping that it would devolve into a Zardoz style bit of psychedelic fun.  Things seemed especially promising during Yul Brynner’s cameo.  He shows up for one scene in which he slow dances and makes love to Blythe Danner in a totally white room.  It is both sillier and more awesome in practice than it sounds and those are both adjectives Futureworld could have stood to have more of.

Special Features

A trailer, some radio ads and still pictures.

Final Thoughts

With a few exceptions Futureworld eschews the fun of Westworld in favor of bland misogyny, misguided attempts at humor, an over serious tone and one of the dorkiest endings I can think of.

Final Grade: C-

Around The Web

Latest News

DEADPOOL: The Merc with a Mouth and Negasonic Teenage Warhead Catch a Cab

A new image showcases Wade Wilson and his young, telepathic pal.


Matt and Adam discuss Pixar's latest and greatest.

Joe Manganiello on MAGIC MIKE XXL, a 3D Sequel, Bodyguarding for Tyrese, and More

The actor discusses his past as a bodyguard for Tyrese, the possibility of 'Magic Mike 3D' and setting a sequel overseas, and more.

INDEPENDENCE DAY: RESURGENCE: Celebrate July 4th President Whitmore-Style

Think you can outdo Bill Pullman? Now you can give the speech yourself using Dubsmash.

Mark Wahlberg, Ronda Rousey Team for Peter Berg Actioner MILE 22

'The Raid' actor Iko Uwais also stars in the Indonesia-set action film.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Says TERMINATOR GENISYS Didn’t Need James Cameron’s Endorsement

But he's happy Cameron liked the film all the same.

Exclusive: R-Rated CHIPS Greenlit; Michael Peña Confirms Comparison to LETHAL WEAPON

Michael Pena talks about Dax Shepard’s upcoming adaptation of the 1970s TV series.

THE HATEFUL EIGHT: New Image Teases “the Funniest Snow Western Ever Made”

Apparently it's funnier than 'McCabe & Mrs. Miller.' Who would have thought?

CARTEL LAND Director Matthew Heineman on Filming During a Shootout and More

The filmmaker discusses his harrowing, unsettling documentary about two rebel groups on both sides of the border trying to bring down a Mexican drug cartel.

Comic-Con to Stay in San Diego Through 2018

Hall H will remain "the place to be" for at least three more years.

Page 1 of 4,02612345...102030...Last »
echo ' '; ?>