- 1 hr 44 min
In the 1976 science fiction thriller, "Futureworld," the Delos Corporation - the theme park that provided a backdrop for Michael Crichton's "Westworld" - is preparing to introduce an updated version of its popular robotic entertainment, which allows customers to have their every fantasy played out by androids. The corporation promises that this newer version, which has been dubbed "Futureworld," will be even more realistic than its predecessor. Filled with promises of new adventures, repeat customers of the Delos Corporation look forward to being amongst the first to experience it.
There are concerns, however. John Blane (played by Peter Fonda), a hard-hitting television journalist, is investigating the claims made by Delos that all is well with their robotic entertainers. He suspects that the new park is a front for something far more sinister than entertainment. Fearing for his life, Blane asks his female news producer, Tracy Ballard (Blythe Danner), to accompany him on an undercover investigation into the new park. Aware that his investigation will be closely monitored, Blane and Ballard engage with their android managers to try and learn the truth about the mysterious new park and its insidious purpose.
As they explore the park, Blane and Ballard witness several disturbing events, including robots malfunctioning and attacking vacationers as well as a military computer system that aims to take over the United States by using cloned world leaders equipped with brainwashed personalities to infiltrate governments around the world. As Delos's devious plan comes to light, the two journalists find their own lives in danger as they try to stop what might become an international incident with catastrophic consequences.
With narration by John Chandler, "Futureworld" is a thrilling and captivating sequel to the original "Westworld" that delivers on the technical aspects of the first film, while also raising questions about human fragility and the power of technology. The movie explores how modern technological advances could create the perfect environment for disaster to strike. In "Futureworld," visitors to Delos have been conditioned to believe that their desires can be completely fulfilled in a virtual fantasy world.
Despite the film's artful direction, it's the compelling narrative that brings this exploration of moral as well as ethical issues to life. The movie asks viewers to consider whether androids of the future will become more human than humans, and what it would mean for humanity. The viewer is challenged to weigh in on the power of scientific/technological advancement and how it can have negative consequences when it is wielded without both caution and sensitivity.
Director Richard T. Heffron succeeds immensely in creating an eerie and genuinely intriguing atmosphere while masterfully weaving elements of sci-fi and suspense throughout the plot. The movie ends in a powerful climax that builds suspense and excitement throughout. At no point does it get predictable, as it keeps the audience at the edge of their seats till the final scenes. The setting, technology, and actors combine in a fantastic reimagining of this well-intentioned, yet potentially dangerous future world.
Overall "Futureworld" is an exciting, entertaining yet thought-provoking sci-fi thriller that's a must-watch for fans of the genre. With some masterful storytelling, captivating acting performances, and a suspense-filled plot, this is a movie that is well worth seeking out. As far as sci-fi filmmakers, "Futureworld" stands firm as an imaginative yet disturbing cautionary tale about the dangers of playing God with technology. If you enjoy the idea of a future that could side-step into darkness, this is the movie for you.
Futureworld is a 1976 action movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 44 minutes. It has received mostly poor reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 5.7 and a MetaScore of 46.