Blu-Ray Review: Futureworld



Delos was conceived as the ultimate theme park. It was an adult oriented Disney World that allowed guests to believe they are in ancient Rome, medieval Europe or the wild West. Instead of actors faking it, the performers were androids programmed to be authentic to the time. People paid a fortune to get lost in time. Unfortunately the world of play turned tragic when the androids went bad especially a gunfighter (The Magnificent Seven‘s Yul Brynner). Things had to be shutdown with extreme force. That was the story of Westworld. But you can’t keep a multi-billion dollar pleasure palace shuttered forever. Thus Delos was retooled, reprogrammed and reopened for Futureworld.

Vacationers are excited at the chance to try out the place now that it’s safe for tourists. Or is it? Allen Ludden (Password) gives out trips to the grand reopening on his gameshow to an excited contestant. Nobody cares about things going wrong a second time. The owners of Delos have locked up the old West town to not give people the heebies. Now they have Futureworld for the guests wanting to blast off. Once more this is the ultimate escape including carnality with the androids. Reporters Peter Fonda (Easy Rider) and Blythe Danner (Meet the Parents) get clued into the fact that there’s still issues at the park. The source of such news gets killed so Fonda senses it’s legit. They make sure they’re among the first inside the new Delos. This time the issue isn’t the androids killing the guests. There’s a more sinister plot afoot. Can Fonda and Danner escape with their hot story? Or will they be hacked up by samurai warriors?

Certain elements of the movie haven’t come close to predicting how we live today. There’s something ironic about a futuristic world where newspapers exist. On top of it, the main office of the newsroom only has typewriters on the desks. Where are the computers? Futureworld is historically significant in being a vision of the future. This was the first live action movie to feature CGI. Ed Catmull, the future president of Pixar contributes to this feat. The movie was Yul Brynner’s final film role. He’d spend the remainder of his life on the stage performing The King and I. He’s great in his finale that brings back his iconic cowboy characters.

Futureworld is a worthy sequel to Westworld since take the nightmare of an android park to the next level without retreading the original script written by Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park). Fonda looks convincing in the role of the pesky reporter. He was drive-in royalty during this part of his career with Fighting Mad and Outlaw Blues coming out. Futureworld is prime weirdness from that period of time right before Star Wars altered how studios made their science fiction titles. This wasn’t a galaxy far, far away, but a theme park just around the corner. We now live in a world of talking robots with human faces and even “real” dolls for pleasure. Futureworld warns us what can go wrong in a world in our times.

The video is 1.85:1 anamorphic. The 1080p transfer brings out the glory of the ’70s android effects and Peter Fonda’s hair. The audio is DTS-HD stereo. The mix is fine for the time when it was created. The movie is subtitled.

Trailer (2:49) catches us up on what went wrong when Dalos was first opened. They swear all has been fixed, but the resort might still have a bug or two.

Radio Spots (1:06) claim the entrance fee is $1,200 a day. The exit fee is your life! You might be able to get a cheaper rate if you sit through a time share presentation.

Still Gallery (0:57) include artist conception paintings and posters.

Futureworld remains a great follow up to Westworld. The movie reminds us why you should always be wary after a disaster to trust a corporation’s PR campaign. Peter Fonda is the perfect guy to expose the next nastiness at Delos.

Shout! Factory presents Futureworld. Directed by: Richard T. Heffron. Starring: Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill and Yul Brynner. Running time: 107 minutes. Rated: PG. Released: March 26, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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