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"Mondwest" est le 2ème film tourné par l'écrivain de SF "Michael Crichton" en tant que réalisateur en 1973 (entre "Pursuit" de 1972, téléfilm inédit en France, et "Morts suspectes" de 1973). Romancier très prolifique et considéré comme l'inventeur du techno-roman à suspense, il réalisa ce film sur un scénario original non tiré d'un de ses livres.
Ce film de SF se passe dans le futur pour 1973 (c'est à dire en 1983) où un parc d'attraction permet à ses visiteurs de se retrouver dans une époque proposée par les organisateurs (Empire romain, Moyen-âge ou Western) dans un environnement où évoluent des androïdes. Evidemment, le séjour de ses visiteurs, qui peuvent abuser des robots humains à leur guise pour assouvir leurs fantasmes les plus secrets qu'ils soient de nature meurtrière, sexuelle ou même sadique, ne va pas se passer exactement comme ils l'espéraient. Il y a un grain de sable dans l'engrenage et les esclaves mécaniques se révoltent. Une intrigue bien dépassée maintenant avec l'existence des voyages virtuels mais qui, à l'époque, paraissait plausible et était même une idée renversante.
Dans ce Monde, le héros doit affronter un cow-robot devenu incontrôlable, "Yul Brynner" en copier-coller de "Chris Adams", le chef des "sept mercenaires", qu'il avait interprété 19 ans avant.
Une bonne série B qui nous replonge dans les films SF d'antan, ne gâchons donc pas notre plaisir et oublions un peu la technologie actuelle pour remonter nous aussi le temps dans un passé pas si lointain où l'on imaginait le futur sous un autre angle. Embarquons pour le parc d'attraction pour 85 minutes...
Ce film eut droit à une suite 3 ans plus tard, "Les Rescapés du futur" ou "futurworld" réalisé par "Richard T. Heffron", bien inférieur au premier opus.
Pour la petite histoire, l'œuvre littéraire de "Michael Crichton" est plus connue à travers les adaptations plus ou moins réussies d'autres réalisateurs: "La Variété Andromède", "Jurassic Park" et sa suite "Le Monde perdu", "Sphère", "Le 13ème Guerrier", "Prisonniers du temps", "Congo", "Soleil levant" etc...
le 3 janvier 2015
WESTWORLD  [40th Anniversary Edition] [Blu-ray] [US Import] Where Robot Men and Women Are Programmed To Serve You . . . Romance . . . Violence . . . Anything! Boy Have We Got A Vacation For You!
For $1,000 a day, vacationers can indulge whims at the theme park called WESTWORLD. They can bust up a bar or bust out of jail, drop in on a brothel or get the drop on a gunslinger. It's all safe and the park's lifelike androids are programmed never to harm the customers. But not all droids are getting with the programme. Michael Crichton of ‘Jurassic Park’ and ‘Twister,’ wrote and made his directing debut with this futuristic thriller that heralded moviemaking's future as the first feature to use digitized images. Richard Benjamin and James Brolin portray pals confronted by a simulated reality turned real. And Yul Brynner is their stalking, spur-jangling nemesis. It is man versus machine in a tomorrow that isn't big enough for the both of them.
Cast: Yul Brynner, Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, Norman Bartold, Alan Oppenheimer, Victoria Shaw, Dick Van Patten, Linda Gaye Scott, Steve Franken, Michael T. Mikler, Terry Wilson, Majel Barrett, Anne Randall, Julie Marcus, Sharyn Wynters, Anne Bellamy, Chris Holter, Charles Seel, Wade Crosby, Nora Marlowe, Lin Henson, Orville Sherman, C. Lindsay Workman, Barry Cahill (uncredited), Robert J. Hogan (uncredited), Robert Nichols (uncredited) and Ty Randolph (uncredited)
Director: Michael Crichton
Producer: Paul N. Lazarus III
Screenplay: Michael Crichton
Composer: Fred Karlin
Cinematography: Gene Polito
Video Resolution: 1080p [Metrocolor]
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 [Panavision]
Audio: English: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, German: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Italian: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono and Spanish: 1.0 Dolby Digital Mono
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish, Japanese, German SDH, Italian SDH and Korean
Running Time: 88 minutes
Region: Region A/1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Warner Home Video
Andrew's Blu-ray Review: Imagine a Disneyland for adults where every man and woman can live out their fantasies. That's what science fiction writer Michael Crichton did when he wrote the screenplay for ‘WESTWORLD’ , a film that holds the distinction of being the last movie M-G-M produced before dissolving its releasing company. ‘WESTWORD’ is also notable as the first theatrical feature directed by Michael Crichton and with a story written directly for the screen, Michael Crichton's 'WESTWORLD' is a solid mix between action and allegory that still holds up quite well 40 years after first appearing in cinemas.
It's hard to think today of science fiction that doesn't involve spaceships and lots of special effects and explosions, but in the pre-'Star Wars' era of the late 1960s and early 1970s, science fiction movies had more to do with addressing current social issues than they did with simple good versus evil. In 'WESTWORLD,' Michael Crichton tackles the issues of technology and man's overreliance on it. Set in the near future, which could very much be in our own present day, 'WESTWORLD,' also frequently referred to in the film as 'Westernworld,' and is one of three adult-themed amusement parks, including 'Romanworld' and 'Medievalworld,' where adults pay $1,000 dollars a day to live out their fantasies. The "actors" within each park are highly-advanced humanlike robots, which means the customers can interact with them in any way they wish...insulting them, having sex with them, and yes, even killing them, with no repercussions. ‘WESTWORLD’ was filmed in several locations including the Mojave Desert, the gardens of the Harold Lloyd Estate, and several sound stages at M-G-M. Apparently the film was shorn of ten minutes prior to its release in order to earn a PG rating which makes you wonder what the R-rated footage could have been. Perhaps a sequence with Richard Benjamin, James Brolin, and those obliging saloon girls?
As the film opens, friends Peter Martin [Richard Benjamin] and John Blane [James Brolin] are off to 'WESTWORLD' for a vacation getaway. Peter is less knowledgeable and more wary about 'WESTWORLD' than John is, who either has been there before or has a better understanding of how things work at the park. John Blane serves primarily as the film's information provider, telling Peter Martin and, thus, the viewer, how and why things work the way they do in 'WESTWORD.' When the two visits a saloon, Peter is taunted by a Robot Gunslinger [Yul Brynner] and winds up shooting him, only to have to shoot him again a few days later. You see, in 'WESTWORLD,' the characters never really die, they just go back for repairs and resurface a day or two later.
The three theme parks are run and managed by a team of scientists and computer technicians who control how each robot reacts and responds to the vacationers. However, when John is bitten by a robotic snake, the scientific team begins to realise that they are losing control of their creations. One event leads to another and soon they've lost complete control of the robots in all three of the parks, leaving the humans within to fend for themselves.
If you haven't already picked up on it, there's a tremendous amount of similarities between 'WESTWORLD' and another popular Michael Crichton story that became a motion picture, 'Jurassic Park.' One could even argue that the latter is basically the same story as 'WESTWORLD,' with DNA-created dinosaurs replacing the robots. Comparisons can also be made to a non-Michael Crichton film, ‘The Terminator,’ as the stalking of Peter by the gunslinger in the last act of the movie certainly reminds one of a certain cyborg. In fact, there were talks a few years ago about Arnold Schwarzenegger playing the gunslinger in a 'WESTWORLD' remake/reboot.
Sci-fi fans should also be on the lookout in 'WESTWORLD' for roles played by actors who either had or would go on to have parts in other notable sci-fi franchises. You'll see Majel Barrett ['Star Trek'] running the town's brothel, Jared Martin [TV's 'War of the Worlds'] as one of the lab technicians, and in one of the coolest connections, Alan Oppenheimer as the lead scientist who developed and repairs the robots. Alan Oppenheimer, of course, also played Dr. Rudy Wells in two of the television films that lead to the launch of the 'Six Million Dollar Man' series.
The best way to judge the quality of a film is how well it holds up years later, and considering its 40-years-old, 'WESTWORLD' holds up pretty well. Naturally, the special effects and sets haven't aged well, and there's a silly barroom fight about half-way through the film that is too long, too campy, and completely unnecessary for the story, but all in all 'WESTWORLD' deserves its spot as one of the more memorable science fiction films of the early 1970s.
Blu-ray Video Quality – For a 1973 release, Warner Home Video has done a fairly nice job with the transfer here. Colours are bright, although at times a little oversaturated, and while some scenes do have a softer look to them, overall the transfer is fairly sharp and detailed. Warner Bros. hasn't gone overboard using digital noise reduction, leaving a nice layer of grain in the picture that is always evident, but never obtrusive. Any dirt or other defects from the original print have been removed here. Overall, this is a nice balance between giving us the sharpness that Blu-ray can provide, and still trying to maintain the original look of the theatrical presentation. Fans of the film should be pleased by the presentation.
Blu-ray Audio Quality – The audio track here is a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Track and the 1.0 Dolby Digital tracks are also available in Spanish (both Castilian and Latin), French, German, and Italian), but the vast majority of both the dialogue and music comes from up front, with little, but noticeable activity in the rear speakers. While both the dialogue and music are crisp and clear, the balance between the two is not. When Fred Carlin's score is featured, it's almost twice as loud as the dialogue in the film, meaning most viewers will either be playing with their audio volume throughout, or just gets a jolt every time the film's music is featured. Usually with Blu-rays, where the music and other sound effects are louder than the spoken dialogue is nothing new, but it's much more evident in 'WESTWORLD,' due to the fact that music rarely plays over dialogue and vice versa.
Blu-ray Special Features and Extras:
Special Feature Documentary: On Location With Westworld  [480i] [9:07] This is an original promotional short vintage behind-the-scenes documentary showing how the film was made, and primarily focusing on writer/director Michael Crichton, as well interviews with fellow actors Yul Brynner and Richard Benjamin. We also see how some of the stunts were performed, including the scene where Brynner's character gets engulfed in flames. Although it's an all-too-brief look at the production, it is easily the best bonus feature and it's nice that Warner Home Video decided to include it on this release.
Special Feature: 1980 TV Pilot: Beyond Westworld [480i] [47:52] This is the pilot for the quickly abandoned series that CBS attempted to develop from the film. The series jettisoned the notion of technology run amuck and substituted a human villain named Quaid [James Wainwright], who had designed the robots but didn't like seeing them wasted on leisure activities. Quaid seized control of the entire robot population and had them destroy the theme parks. Now it's up to corporate trouble-shooter John Moore [Jim McMullan] to stop whatever Quaid has planned, which seems to involve national security.
Theatrical Trailer  [480i] [3:07] If you're one of the few who has yet to see 'WESTEWORLD,' then do not watch this trailer before watching the film. It gives away literally every major plot point in the film, including the demise of major characters, the final scene, and the final line of dialogue!
Finally, one aspect of `WESTWORLD' that always left me dubious was the willingness of its guests to let themselves be observed by the park staff while engaging in the theme parks' elaborate charades, including sexual relations with robots in a variety of fantasy scenarios that most people presumably wouldn't want to share with strangers. This time around, though, I realised that Michael Crichton's instincts were once again ahead of his time. If a theme park like WESTWORLD existed today, and it still may be built, as least in the world of remakes, there would be an additional class of guest besides those paying the contemporary equivalent of $1000 a day. For these guests, all expenses would be paid in exchange for a waiver allowing their entire stay to be filmed and broadcast on a reality series. Michael Crichton might not have imagined the specifics of Westworld: The Jersey Shore, but the germ of the idea is right there in his park design. Although it is good follow up to the previous release of `FUTUREWORLD,' sadly it does not quite match up to that film and on top of that, sci-fi has moved on and things look slightly old fashioned, but despite this, I am still glad I have added this to my Blu-ray Collection. Highly Recommended!
Andrew C. Miller – Your Ultimate No.1 Film Fan
Le Cinema Paradiso
WARE, United Kingdom