Blu Review: Futureworld

After the tragic deaths of several guests at the hands of robots in Westworld, Delos decides to invite reporters Tracy and Chuck to the rebuilt resort. Delos representatives want to prove to the public that their new vactioning spots are completely safe and their robots are under control and harmless. As Tracy and Chuck investigate Futureworld, they begin to suspect there’s something sinister behind Delos’ welcoming embrace.

Judging Futureworld on its own merits, I found it to be a mildly entertaining slice of 1970’s sci-fi. The movie’s warnings against allowing machines and computers too much control and relying on them too heavily seems prophetic in hindsight. For 1976, I’m sure it felt fresh and was terrifying for a world that was just barely embracing electronics and the technology we take for granted today. Director Richard T. Heffron and writers George Schenck and Mayo Simon don’t really do much more here besides expand on the concepts Michael Crichton came up with for Westworld.

The only actor to return from Westworld for this sequel is Yul Brenner. He isn’t given much to do here. He basically walks around and has an awkward love scene with Blythe Danner. Honestly, it’s uncomfortable to watch. Peter Fonda is great as a chauvenistic wisecracking 1970’s reporter that could never get away with his treatment of Danner’s character in modern times.

The high definition transfer for Futureworld cleans up the picture and presents it as clear as one can expect for a low-budget film from the 1970s. Thankfully, the Blu-ray upgrade didn’t rob it of any of the beautiful graininess and nostalgic flavor of the movie. The 2.0 stereo doesn’t immerse home viewers in a sea of sound effects, dialogue, and music like they’re accustomed to. However, it still sounds better than it ever has in its past home video formats.

It’s no surprise that this edition of Futureworld doesn’t feature much in the way of bonus material. The film wasn’t given much thought at the time of its release. MGM dropped the ball on the production and gave it away to AIP (American International Pictures).

I highly doubt anyone was thinking about preserving the history surrounding the making of Futureworld. Unfortunately, this means no “Making of” featurette or interviews with the filmmakers or producers. The only special features we get are a theatrical trailer, radio spots, and a still gallery.

Futureworld is a fun and nostalgic journey back into the 1970s. Its interesting to see what the state of science fiction cinema was even a year before Star Wars breathed life into a dying genre. You’ll not find any of the carefree advetnure and joy we found in “a Galaxy Far, Far Away” in the dystopic and doomed Futureworld of our making.

Futureworld is available now on Blu-ray.