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Bald Gunslinging Robots Make Theme Parks Fun!

Long before Michael Crichton opened up the can of dinosaurs and let them run loose inside a theme park with Jurassic Park, he had already visited the world of theme parks going bad. In the early 1970s, he wrote and directed Westworld, the tale of an android-filled theme park where the robots get a little pissed off and start killing the humans they're supposed to amuse. That film spawned a sequel and a television series — and now, a remake is on the way for 2009. Find out everything you wanted to know about the ultimate robo-vacation destination gone wrong in our triviagasm below.

Illustration for article titled Bald Gunslinging Robots Make Theme Parks Fun!
  • The plot is pretty basic: tourists visit a theme park and interact with realistic, lifelike androids. Of course, something goes wrong and they start murdering everyone, which makes it hard to run a business.
  • In the sequel, FutureWorld, the park is reopened after they've spent $1 billion dollars in safety improvements. They invite reporters (played by Peter Fonda and Blythe Danner) to come check the place out and vouch for the place. Whoops, something goes wrong. Again. Only this time, the demented theme park owner is trying to duplicate world leaders in cloned android form. There is nothing like an evil Walt Disney.
  • Yul Brynner's final film west FutureWorld, where he appeared again as the Gunslinger in a semi-dream sequence.
  • In the final sequence of FutureWorld, one of the dying clones tells the head scientist "They're the wrong ones!" as Fonda and Danner leave the facility. They were supposed to be replaced by evil clones who would give Delos a rave review, but they were outsmarted by the real thing. Fonda turns around and flips the scientist the bird.
  • The television show, Beyond WestWorld, was about the security chief in Delos trying to stop the head scientist from using the robots to take over the world. That probably wasn't in the job description. The show featured plots like this, "Quaid (the scientist) gets his hands on some uranium, and John (the security chief) and Pamela (Connie Sellecca!) must find another android who is hiding in a rock band." Why this was canceled after only five episodes, we'll never know.
  • Michael Crichton was inspired to make this film after visiting Disneyland and seeing the animatronic figures on Pirates of the Caribbean, so you can now blame that attraction for at least five movies: WestWorld, FutureWorld, and all the the Johnny Depp Pirates movies.
  • This was the first movie to use digitized 2D computer graphics in a film, and the sequel FutureWorld was the first movie to use 3D graphics. In fact, in FutureWorld, the 3D hand you see on screen belongs to Edwin Catmull, the co-founder and president of Pixar and of Walt Disney Animation Studios.
  • The theme park in the film is actually called Delos, and was meant to be the ultimate vacation destination. Visitors could visit WestWorld, MedievalWorld or RomanWorld and actually have sex with the androids, who were programmed to be receptive to all sexual advances. All this pleasure only cost $1000 a day.
  • Yul Brynner's Gunslinger character is an homage to the character Chris he played in The Magnificent Seven, and he even wears the same outfit.
  • John Carpenter has said that the Gunslinger was an inspiration for the Michael Myers character in Halloween, and it sure seems like The Terminator owes a lot to this relentless killing machine as well..
  • The Brynner-Bot has his face burned off by acid at one point, which also destroys his visual circuits. However, he has infrared backups, and spends the rest of the film chasing the main character while faceless. Trust us, it's cool.
  • Not really trivial... but doesn't James Brolin look a lot like Christian Bale in this flick?

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Ed Grabianowski

Wow, Brolin/Bale...eerily similar.

This plot was mined once again in a Lincoln Child novel called Utopia. It was not a good novel, but a good script could make it into a better movie than a Westworld remake. I liked the idea that the whole park was inside a giant climate-controlled dome in the Nevada desert. They even had fake rain showers, and one of the "zones" made it look like you were in a space colony on one of Jupiter's moons.