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Grown-up amusement park gone seriously wrong.

I actually saw this movie in the theater when it came out in…urk, 1973? wow, I’m old. At least I didn’t drive myself, someone (my older brother, maybe?) dropped me off at the movie theaters and picked me up later. And as is our wont in the family I grew up in, I got there early.

The double feature was Westworld and Soylent Green…and I walked in on the ending of Soylent Green. Dammit. THAT was bad timing.

But Westworld was great; it has always been a favorite of mine, because the implacable THING that will not stop following no matter what is one of the two or three kinds of recurring nightmares I had as a kid…seeing someone else face it on the screen was AWESOME.

And the movie is fun- it was amazing writer Michael Crichton’s screen writing and directing debut, it had good and well-known actors (at the time) in it, and the technology, although laughable now, was right up to the minute. It was exciting, funny, scary, and full of surprises. And James Brolin was a TOTAL HONEY then.

Now, having said that, it was made FORTY YEARS AGO. Compared to movies made now, its pace is slow and stately, the scary stuff is not so scary, the blood and debauchery (which were rather shocking back then, I remember all the discussion about it) are tame, and the ending, although it does definitely end, kind of leaves the viewer hanging…but none of this matters.

This was totally game-changing at the time-it made a huge impact not only on me, but on most of the people who went to see it. I keep hearing rumors of a new version of it being planned with state-of-today’s-art f/x and all, and would like to see that…but I am skeptical that without Crichton’s hand at the helm, the gore and salacious details will be amplified at the expense of good storytelling…oh, this newsflash just in from Den of Geek as of September 2013 (and I’m quoting it below in case the page disappears):

“Westworld, the 1973 cult classic about an amusement park populated by life-like robots that allowed vacationers to live out their every fantasy, is on the fast-track to become an HBO series courtesy of J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot. Yul Brynner was the “bad robot” of the original film, which dealt with what happens when the robotic inhabitants started acting on their own…and targeting the resort’s human visitors. The memorable trailer for the film (which we’ve embedded below) described Westworld as the place “where nothing can go wrong…go wrong…go wrong…”

The pilot will be co-written by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy, who will also produce along with J.J. Abrams, Bryan Burk, and Jerry Weintraub of Bad Robot. HBO describes Westworld as “a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and the future of sin.” I guess this means we’ll be seeing more of the realistic robot hookers from the 1973 flick. Considering the “adult themes” present in Westworld (which sprung from the mind of none other than Michael Crichton), there’s plenty of opportunity for cable TV ultra-violence and gratuitous nudity.

We can’t wait.”

So, we all know J. J. Abrams…but Jonathan Nolan is ringing a bell…imdb…uh oh. On the one hand, he wrote The Dark Knight, which was very good. On the other hand, he is responsible for The Dark Knight Rises and the suckfest that was The Prestige.

Hmmmm…we will see. And yes, I’ll catch it as soon as it’s available to those of us who don’t pay out a chunk of our income for cable television…stay tuned, Truefans!

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