Tuesday, July 6, 2010

70's Cinema: WESTWORLD

I don't want to speak ill of the dead, but Michael Crichton wasn't that good of a director. Strangely, he had managed to pump out a handful of films and peppered in the mix are a couple of my favorites. COMA (Dr. lady sees almost dead people and rides on top of an ambulance), RUNAWAY (Kristie Alley battles Gene Simmons and robots), PHYSICAL EVIDENCE (a SUSPECT rip off starring Theresa Russell) and LOOKER (pretty girls make graves). More known being a best seller author of more than a dozen books best read while on an airplane, Crichton started toying with his Jurassic Park idea a decade before dinosaurs would roam the earth again with his second feature film WESTWORLD.

WESTWORLD is a BIG ASS movie with BIG ASS ideas. The run time of only 88 minutes seems odd, but you know if it is that short, it must be gonna pack a punch. It doesn't. You really, really want it too, but it doesn't. So some Walt Disneyesque dude created an amusement park (that isn't very amusing) and it has three worlds. Medieval World, where you can joust and get served by a bar wench. Then there is Roman World, where you can wear a toga, eat grapes and fuck your brains out with any gender you want too. But the big draw is WESTWORLD. Set in the olden days of lawlessness and can-can girls, Westworld provides the perfect outlet for almost middle aged men to show each other just how big their dicks are by shooting guns. The cool thing about all this is that all three worlds are full of robots that have been engineered to act and look human and give you the ultimate jolt of fantasy. Now what happens when the robots revolt? All hell breaks loose and people start getting stabbed over in Medieval World and over in Roman times, women and men are getting raped then slaughtered (all off camera). Lurking in WestWorld is the Gunslinger. Now, the gunslinger is played by Yul Brynner, who looks smoking hot in his cowboy outfit. Wrangler Butts drive me nuts! He stalks the guest, murdering them one by one and having a blast while doing it. But darn that phony mustache wearing Richard Benjamin!!! RB shoots the Gunslinger and makes him really, really mad and he chases RB around the three different worlds until they get to the ultimate showdown. Now that sounds like a kick ass movie!

Fault can be pointed at two main problems. First the pacing is so ungodly slow. Everyone seems to be on tortoise time. I mean, i fucking thought i was watching fucking Passage to India or Enchanted April or some shit. Things happen very slowly in WestWorld. Maybe that is how it was back in the olden days. Nobody got in too big of a rush, but with a run time under 90 minutes, you gotta crank it. By the end of the movie, you want RB to die, so the movie will be over. Luckily, the pacing does help out when we get to see Yul Brynner walk away for almost a solid minute. He has a double scoop!

Secondly, Richard Benjamin as the lead is a poor choice. He just can't carry the movie. You don't believe that he would even be interested in watching a western, much less shooting a gun or riding a horse. He looks uncomfortable the entire movie, but I do think it is the only movie I have seen him wear a mustache in. He also directed MERMAIDS and THE MONEY PIT, so i can't hate on him too much. Playing his best buddy is James Brolin (a BADMOVIEART fave) and honestly, the should have reserved the roles. James is charming, fucking hot and looks like he would kick Yul's ass. He plays the role with a wink and smile and has never looked better. I bet he makes Babs watch this movie and THE CAR all the time!

The special effects are pretty outstanding and look impressive even in this day and age of right click, blue screen, open a number one at the box office for a week and then die a slow painful death only to get a cult following on dvd. Crichton basically took the idea of this film and just retooled it and put dinosaurs and kids in it and made a zillion dollars. I am all keyed up to watch the sequel FUTUREWORLD. I wonder where it will be set?!

That is how you give good face.

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