Futureworld (1976)    1 Stars

“Where “Westworld” Stopped, “Futureworld” Begins! Offering fantasy, sensuality and adventure complete satisfaction guaranteed. Entry Fee: $1,200 Per Day. Exit Fee: Your Life!”


Futureworld (1976)

Director: Richard T. Heffron

Cast: Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill

Synopsis: Two reporters receive a message from a colleague who discovered something about “Futureworld” but was killed before he could tell anyone about it.






It’s to Futureworld’s credit that it manages to avoid simply rehashing the plot of Westworld in an attempt to cash in on that film’s success, and it’s interesting to see that a story written over quarter of a century ago still contains topical elements today. Instead of the simple chase plot of Westworld, the sequel opts for a (none-too-original) conspiracy thriller involving the cloning of world leaders holidaying at the revamped Delos holiday complex. That all these world leaders would flock to a glorified theme park is questionable but, that quibble aside, the premise does give the basis for quite a suspenseful couple of hours.

The technology still looks fairly fresh today and, considering the minor-celebrity status of the leads, it’s a fair bet that this is where most of the budget was spent. Unfortunately, the acting of the two leads is a serious flaw. Fonda is never more than adequate as the crusading reporter, and Blythe Danner, as his sidekick, lacks any kind of screen presence. Together, they are a disaster, exhibiting no chemistry whatsoever. That they are given a pedestrian script with which to work — their interplay, in particular, is horribly banal — doesn’t help matters.

Yul Brynner makes only a fleeting appearance in a truly cheesy dream sequence that is guaranteed to have you rolling on the floor with incredulous laughter, and the ending is pretty lame, so it’s something of an enigma as to how the movie as a whole manages to be so enjoyable.

Futureworld is not so much a sequel to Westworld as a companion film. If anything, it could be argued that Crichton’s Jurassic Park is more of a sequel (or remake) — after all, the story is identical (uncontrollable robots relentlessly chasing a group of helpless visitors around a theme park).

(Reviewed 14th May 2002)