Cyberpunk Review » Futureworld (The Proto-Cyberpunk Sequel to Westworld)

February 11, 2010

Futureworld (The Proto-Cyberpunk Sequel to Westworld)

Movie Review By: Mr. Roboto

Year: 1976

Directed by: Richard T. Heffron

Written by: George Schenck, Mayo Simon

IMDB Reference

Degree of Cyberpunk Visuals: Low

Correlation to Cyberpunk Themes: Moderate

Key Cast Members:

  • Chuck Browning: Peter Fonda
  • Tracy Ballard: Blythe Danner
  • Dr. Duffy: Arthur Hill
  • Dr. Schneider: John P. Ryan
  • The Gunslinger: Yul Brynner
  • Rating: 4 out of 10


    The bots are back in the official “unofficial” sequel to Westworld. Actually, the makers, American International Pictures, was bought up by Filmways, which was bought up by Orion Pictures, which was bought up by MGM, who made Westworld.

    Overview: The idea of making a (crappy) sequel to a popular movie isn’t exactly new, as Futureworld will show. As the now “official” sequel to Westworld, Futureworld tried to take the storyline into a new (some would say “misguided”) direction by answering the big unanswered question: Why did the robots suddenly turn on the human guests of Delos?

    I managed to catch this on Reelz a few weeks back. I’ve been looking for a DVD for some time as well, but this rare film is… well… rare. I resorted to torrenting it to give you this review. I’ll keep on searching for it.


    The Story: Reporter Chuck Browning (Fonda), who first reported the Westworld fiasco, gets a phone call from a person who says he has important information. When they meet, the contact dies, but uses his last breath to say why he needed to contact Browning… “Delos.”

    The Delos Amusement Park is now set to reopen after two years and some $1 billion in “improvements,” and want Browning and fellow reporter Tracy Ballard (Danner) to visit the park and report on the improvements to show that it is now safe. Among the improvements made are the abandonment of Westworld in favor of the space adventure “Future world.” Browning soon discovers that the park has a more sinister operation behind it than just entertainment.

    CGI Hand

    Another moment in cinematic history: Just as Westworld was the first to use 2D CGI, Futureworld is the first to use 3D CGI. The hand on the monitor is the first example.

    A Gunslinger’s last stand.

    Ballard gets to try out a brain-wave scanner. This is where we see Yul Brenner in his last movie role before his death in 1985. Meanwhile, Browning is watching it all through a scanner.


    An unanswered question is answered. And now, the answer to the million dollar question: Why did the robots go screwloose and kill everyone in Delos?

    Somehow, the robots were learning through their contact with the guests, and what they learn is that humans are a threat not only to them (the robots), but to the the planet as a whole:

    Futureworld - Dr. Duffy

    “The human being is a very unstable, irrational, violent animal. All our probability studies indicate that, if left alone, you will destroy much of this planet before the end of the decade. We at Delos are determined to see that doesn’t happen. We don’t intend to be destroyed by your mistakes.”

    To stop the humans, the robots came up with a plan:

  • Invite the world’s “elite”… the rich, the famous, the powerful and influential… to visit Delos park.
  • Drug the guest’s meals and measure and sample their inert bodies.
  • Create clone “duplicates.”
  • Program the duplicates to act on behalf of Delos.
  • Have the duplicates kill the guests.
  • Send the duplicates out into the world to work on behalf of Delos.
  • ?????
  • WORLD DOMINATION! (Why not? They already run Delos.)

    But, is it cyberpunk? Like Westworld, Futureworld was made before anyone ever coined the word, so they could not have made this cyberpunk… at least not on purpose. The visuals aren’t there (even the access tunnels are brighter and cleaner than what one would expect), there are no hackers or underground resistors, and there’s no word on the state of the world in the movie other than the above mentioned probability studies. The added themes of corporate control (Delos’s plan) and the robots running the show do push Futureworld closer to being cyberpunk, but not totally into that arena.


    Conclusion. Since its release, Futureworld has had a rather hard-knocked life of being constantly panned by critics (Rotten Tomatoes gives it only a 33% “Rotten” rating), some see it as a worthy sequel to Westworld. At least, it was worthy enough to attempt a television series, Beyond Westworld. I sort of liked it, but you may feel differently, depending on how you see ‘unofficial’ sequels.

    Chuck Browning (Peter Fonda)

    Spring must be around the corner. I can hear the birds… flipping.


    February 11, 2010

    Klaw said:

    You tell ‘em Peter Fonda. With the double gauge “Up yours, Man” and your shouts of “YUL NEVA TAYKS MAH FREEDUMS!”

    February 12, 2010

    G4sM4sk said:

    Haha. I’m really glad this one got on here! It’s a craptastic film and is genuinly pretty horrible! Lets give the bad guy the finger and jump on this very slow moving tram controlled by robots.

    It definatly deserves a review for better or worse so people know what they’re getting into.

    The holograms were compleatly unnessicary, not to mention physically impossible.

    “hmm which one of these is the lightswitch” on the massive machine consoles.. opposed to… on the wall… looking like a lightswitch…

    It’s really painfully bad invasion of the bodysnatchers after all the good they did in WestWorld.

    Though if you’ve ever had sexual fantasy about Yul Brynner killing ninja surgons this really is the film for you!

    hellhound said:

    I think the funniest thing I found in it was what pretty much equated to be a futuristic version of rock’em sock’em robots and the fact that Tracy wins but Dr Duffy kind of laughs and goes “Well I did interrupt.” like he’s saying as if you would have won.

    I’ve never really understood the need to explain why robots go nuts. I mean isn’t it just one of the 2 logical steps one does?

    Also I don’t know about everyone else but in my Yul Brynner fantasies he can at least undo simple knots.

    February 25, 2010

    Kodyax said:

    Very interesting, I must agree with earlier reviewers in that the review of the film gives you more or less enough information to make a decision on whether or not to give this one a rental. It sounds intriguing enough to me at least that I may take a look t the film at some point in the future. But I like Westworld so I am predisposed.

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    February 1, 2012

    Burnt_lombard said:

    I wanted to like this movie but it was so dull. There’s a few interesting moments and I really like the title sequence that went inside Fonda’s pupil.

    Skip it.

    April 1, 2012

    andyfuturefan said:

    This film gets almost nightly viewing I think its cult classic and the story is not half bad at all.

    The ending is funny giving the finger to that nut case Doctor.

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