70's Thriller Throwback: Futureworld (1976)

by robotGEEK

Futureworld May Be One Of The Best 70's Sci-Fi/Thrillers You've Never Seen

Released 3 years after Westworld, Futureworld (with no input or participation by Westworld creator  Michael Crichton) finds the embarrassment of Westworld has helped them improve the theme park with brand new updated robots and technology. The park enlists the help of two reporters (Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner) to come experience the all new theme park, now with multiple "worlds", including the retro-impressive Futureworld taking center stage, in the hopes of running a favorable piece to help squash any negativity from the previous Westworld from just a few years before. The reporters soon discover the park's hidden agenda. Can they make it out alive to tell the world what's really happening at Futureworld?

I have to say, this was quite the pleasant surprise. Sitting in my "watchlist" for ages, we had finally run out of films to watch one night and took a gamble on this. The mediocre rating on IMDB didn't help get us excited, but we're suckers for 70's sci-fi/thrillers and Futureworld not only surprised us at every turn, but exceeded our expectations. Which surprised us with it's tepid response from critics and moviegoers. It's really a great sci-fi/thriller.

If you're a fan of this genre, there's just so much to love in here. The production design is simply phenomenal. The retro-cool decor will blow you away, as will the costume design, with some incredibly sexy outfits on a lot of the female "sex" robots.

Fonda and Danner were such a fantastic team, playing off each other like an old married couple with the constant bickering. There's a history to their relationship that plays a big part in their constant banter, but when they're in "investigation mode", it's a great thing to see. The cast also includes none other than legendary bad guy John P. Ryan as one of the new scientists that helped create this all-new updated world.

70's sci-fi/thrillers have such a unique look and feel to them. They're one of most favorite genre's and when it comes to the effects work, Futureworld stands on it's own as a class act in practical effects and design work. This was a time when sets were real, and big! While I know they shot multiple sequences at different locations around the world to achieve that "mod sci fi" aesthetic, it's flawlessly integrated into one another and a damn impressive visual feast.

This would mark the last film for Yul Brynner (through a brief, and honestly an unnecessary cameo), who succumbed to lung cancer shortly after. Though you'd never know it, because he looks as fit as he did when starring in his now iconic role as the gunfighter in the original film just a few years earlier.

Futureworld deserves more love, recognition and respect within the science fiction community. It's a film that while plays homage to the original, is it's own and completely separate entity and it's great. While the first film played more within the western genre and themes, this one hits all the right notes within the thriller genre. The fact that it's also technically a science fiction film and a thriller only makes it all the more special.

Available on every format, including a modestly priced Blu-Ray (which I need to get!), it's also currently streaming on Amazon Prime right now.

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