Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner
FUTUREWORLD (1976). Director: Richard T. Heffron.

Some years after a disaster in the amusement world of Delos (detailed in Westworld), the park reopens with a new attraction: Futureworld, where you can take a simulated flight into space. Newspaper reporter Chuck Browning (Peter Fonda) and TV journalist Tracy Ballard (Blythe Danner), who have a more or less friendly rivalry, are invited to be the first to visit the reopened Delos and file stories about it. Tracy thinks it's all marvelous, but Chuck got reports of something rotten going on from a former employee who was later murdered. As the two experience all the wonders of Delos, things happen that make them wonder if something much more sinister is going on. Then the reporters discover that they have been duplicated ... Futureworld is superior to Westworld, with a better plot that goes in interesting directions, and a certain degree of suspense. Fonda [Ghost Rider] and Danner are odd choices to play the main characters, but both do a good job, and Danner, an excellent actress, adds some heft to the proceedings -- she is particularly good in a scene where she is dangerously confronted by the Tracy-clone. Arthur Hill [The Andromeda Strain] is solid as the executive in charge of Delos, and John Ryan [It's Alive] is suitably grim as the head technician in the conspiracy. Stuart Margolin scores in the smaller role of Harry Kroft, a tech worker who helps Chuck and Tracy get into a certain room where there are secrets to be revealed. Yul Brynner appears as the gunslinger from Westworld, but only in a very bad dream sequence that is the worst thing in the movie, although Danner may have been happy that she got to make out with "the King." Futureworld is "soft" science fiction in that it doesn't explore its premise with any special depth. Fred Karlin's score is effective.

Verdict: For once, a superior sequel. ***.


angelman66 said...

Yes, this one is much better. Saw it in the theaters with my dad when I was 10.
Wish the HBO series was half as entertaining as this one. Fonda and Danner were great in this. Yul Brynner is chilling as the Gunslinger...Need to see this again.

William said...

As Neil put it in his comment on "westworld," they used Yul in the advertising and he's on screen for five minutes or less in a dream sequence. But this film is entertaining anyway.