Michael Crichton

Westworld (1973), 7/10 Links:

Michael Crichton (USA, 1942), a novelist whose novels include "The Andromeda Strain" (1969) and "Jurassic Park" (1990),

Westworld (1973) pioneered 2D computer-generated imagery and it is also a dystopian horror sci-fi movie. The film has plenty of suspense and is also a pioneer of the apocalyptic artificial intelligence genre in which intelligent machines get out of control and become killing machines.

In a near future a corporation has created an amusement park called Delos that is populated by human-like robots. Guests are immersed in the world they choose (Far West, ancient Rome or medieval Europe) and can do anything they like knowing that they are interacting with harmless robots. John and Peter are being taken there by a flying shuttle. John has done it before, Peter is worried and excited by his first experience. After a Disneyland-like arrival, Peter and John wear Far Western clothes and are dropped by a stagecoach into a Far Western town. We see that it is all directed by engineers in a vast computer room interacting with a large computer mainframe. They barely have time to have a drink at the saloon that a rude gunslinger offends Peter. John encourages Peter to draw the gun and Peter, after a little hesitation does so, killing the rude gunslinger. The bleeding dead corpse is dragged away. John explains that guns have a sensor that keeps them from shooting at warm bodies, i.e. to real humans. John and Peter have sex with two prostitutes of the saloon and Peter is shocked by how real it feels. Meanwhile, in the medieval world another guest is falling in love with the queen herself, causing a black knight to get jealous. While the guests sleep, teams of workers pick up the "killed" robots and take them to a lab where they get restored. However, behind closed doors, scientists are worried because there have been cases of malfunctioning robots. Every morning the scientists push a button and the three worlds come to life. The same rude gunslinger that Peter killed the day before walks into the hotel room where John and Peter sleep and kills him again, this time without hesitating. The sheriffs arrests Peter but John realizes that it's just part of the show and arranges for Peter to escape in a spectacular Hollywood-ian manner. Peter and John enjoy riding out of town like real outlaws. They stop in the desert and surprisingly John is bitten by a rattlesnake. That's recognized as an embarrassing malfunction by the computer operators who are watching the scene on their screens. However, later Peter and John thoroughly enjoy a colossal fight at the saloon and everything seems normal again. Meanwhile, the guest in the medieval world is falling in love with a humble maid, Daphne. But when he tries to seduce her she refuses, and the computer operators again realize it's a malfunction. The following morning the black knight attacks the guest, forces him to a sword duel and kills him. The computer operators watch in disbelief as they cannot stop the black knight. At the same time John and Peter are confronted by the same rude gunslinger, who has been fixed and actually improved with better vision and hearing. The robot this time shoots to kill and kills John in front of Peter. Peter runs for his life, chased by the robot. The computer operators see that the robot is out of control but cannot stop it. They turn off the power to the entire amusement park but the robots continue to work, relying on battery, and they all malfunction. Peter jumps on a horse and rides out of town, chased by the robot, while the computer operators watch powerless as robots run amok all over town. Worse: the computer operators realize that, by shutting down the generators, they have trapped themselves in the computer room with no air because the doors are electrical. Peter rides into a canyon reminiscent of John Ford's western movies. The robot chasing Peter is now an implacable monster. Nothing can stop him. Peter eventually runs into a worker of the amusement park, but gets no help: the worker is terrified himself by the robots and tells Peter that he stands no chance against that robot. The worker is soon killed by the gunslinger. Peter runs to the Roman world, passing by dozens of dead robots and humans. Peter descends into a tunnel that leads him to the computer room. He cannot open the doors but can see that everybody inside is dead, asphyxiated. The gunslinger is equipped with superior vision and hearing and can follow Peter's footprints and breathing all the way into the tunnel. Peter finds a bottle of acid in the repair laboratory and waits for the gunslinger. Then he throws the acid on his face. This temporarily stops the gunslinger, but soon he is again after Peter. Peter now runs into the medieval world where he finds the queen and the black knight paralyzed, having run out of battery. The gunslinger arrives but can't see well anymore and gets confused by the torches hanging on the walls of the castle. Peter finds a way to set him on fire. Peter finds a woman begging for help and assumes that she's a human. He gives her water and this way causes a short in her head: she's a robot. Peter sits down, presumably the only person or robot still alive.

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