Futureworld (1976)

The movie Westworld had a sequel, only instead of killer robots in a theme park, it’s about killer robots in a theme park…with nonsensical dream sequences, an evil corporation replacing world leaders with robots, and eyeglasses that would make Elton John giddy. Oh, and a lot of talk about sex with robots because why not?

Basically the film takes place a few years after Westworld, with the Delos corporation coming back strong with a new line or robots and an expanded theme park. Delos invites world leaders along with game show winners and journalists to come see the park, so newspaper reporter Chuck Browning and TV reporter Tracy Ballard come to see it…only Chuck’s received a message from a technician who was assassinated in front of him at the start of the film, so he’s very suspicious. As the two journalists investigate, they discover the Delos corporation is making robot doubles of world leaders as well as themselves, with the plan to assassinate the originals and then eventually rule the world and prevent bad or embarrassing press for the company.

The biggest problem with this is that everything is ’70s chic, so it’s already highly embarrassing for the company, and for all involved. Having to listen to the game show winning pervert rave about what it’s gonna be like to pork lady RoboCop certainly doesn’t make me think good things with regards to Delos. Also note, none of the Delos robots can apparently withstand getting wet yet, so a brisk summer shower would likely be enough to stop their evil plans. Also the new area of the park, a space station simulator called Futureworld that allows you to do things like ski on Mars, is very underwhelming, particularly “futuristic” versions of games like Chess and Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots. I was not impressed.

Yul Brenner does come back in this sequel, but only for a weird dream sequence where he’s apparently the lover of Tracy. Also there is a red string, some weird bondage stuff, a chase sequence…none of which makes sense and all of which feels totally out of place. It felt more like they were trying to pad out the movie than anything else. The same goes for a weird chase sequence where samurai holograms appear and attack the reporters. It’s disjointed and awkward.

There are a couple of nifty things though. First, the earliest CGI production ever made, A Computer Animated Hand, makes an appearance. Second, this was the first modern American film to achieve theatrical release in communist China, which makes sense considering its representation of an out of control capitalist corporation plotting world downfall. Also Futureworld apparently used the same sets as Logan’s Run. I preferred Logan’s Run, though admittedly it also has problems with being ’70s chic.

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