Westworld (1973)

Finally catching up with a bona fide classic years too late always makes me a feel a little dirty and inadequate, but in this case at least I have the defence that is was released in the year I was born. Movie-going was thus limited. I’ve also had less motivation to catch-up with it as it hasn’t been remade/murdered for the new era. So there’s been no impetus for me to catch the original before my memory of it is forever ruined by a ham-fisted.

Actually that’s not strictly true. This was remade, of course. But it was remade by one of the greatest directors of all time, with the involvement of the original’s director/writer in the form of Jurassic ParkIn the unlikely even you haven’t seen that film, then you’ll know it’s a joyride of a film, a magnificent popcorn classic. So it didn’t ruin anything.

Westworld has the same plot, just in a different sort of theme park with different out-of-control main attractions. The special effects are … well … it’s hard to think yourself into what 1973 was like, really. So they’re not that special. What is special is Yul Brynner’s magnificent performance as the automaton who/which turns on his/its tormentors. It’s note perfect, and shows up Arnie’s efforts in the Terminator movies for the shallow surface-kissers they are. Just because a character is entirely artificial doesn’t mean he/it is easy to play well.

Both films have a cheeky sense of humour and a non-too-subtle line in social commentary; what Westworld lacked for me were the jumps, shocks and tension which made Jurassic Park such a blast. Maybe it’s a generational thing, maybe it’s an overfamiliarity with CGI, or maybe it’s just the fact that I took a date to see Jurassic Park which is given its jumps and shocks was a great move. Whichever it was, there just wasn’t quite enough danger. On the plus side, though, Westworld doesn’t have Sam Neill.

I watched this film at home on TV.

I rated this film 7/10 on imdb.com and 3.5/5 on rottentomatoes.com

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