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Futureworld - MGM Limited Edition Collection Print E-mail
User Rating: / 3
Written by Chris Mayo   
Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Directed by: Richard T. Heffron
Written by: Mayo Simon, George Schenck
Produced by: James T. Aubrey, Paul Lazarus III
Cinematography by: Gene Polito, Howard Schwartz
Editing by: James Mitchell
Music by: Fred Karlin
Cast: Peter Fonda, Blythe Danner, Arthur Hill, Yul Brynner, John Ryan
Year: 1976
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1 h 48 min

Studio: MGM

MGM is now offering a Limited Edition Collection of films previously unreleased on DVD with a new program called MOD.  MOD or Manufacturing on Demand is a program that allows websites to feature previously unreleased MGM titles for sale without retailers having to order the product in advance.  When a title is ordered the movie is transferred to a DVD-R and sold.  This is great news for cinema fans because now we have the ability to see classic films that have been previously unreleased until now.  "Futureworld" is one such title presented in MGM's Limited Edition Collection.

The 1976 sequel to "Westworld," "Futureworld" follows the same premise as its forerunner.  Futureworld is an amusement park of the future -- one of three vacation destinations for rich travelers with a taste for simulated entertainment, provided by a company called Delos.  Including Futureworld, Delos also offers a Midevilworld and a Western world (Westworld).  Each "world" is operated by androids to simulate your every desire.  Whether you want a romp with some android lasses or have a shootout with a western movie villain, any conception can be realized.  However, Delos has come under fire from critics when one of the worlds had a glitch causing human casualties (as depicted in "Westworld").

"Futureworld" stars Peter Fonda ("Easy Rider") as Chuck Browning, a newspaper reporter who receives a call one day from a man named Frenchy, a former employee of Delos who claims to have some dirt on the company.  Before Browning can get the scoop from Frenchy, he turns up slain, shot in the back.  Determined to unveil the insidious happenings at Delos, Chuck calls upon TV host and fellow reporter gal-pal Tracy Ballard (Blythe Danner, "Tales from the Crypt") to rendezvous at Futureworld during a press junket, to explore the goings-on.  What they find is something more sinister than they could imagine...

"Futureworld" came almost 10-years after Kubrick's sci-fi masterpiece "2001: A Space Odyssey", and while the films are NOT AT ALL alike they do both evoke that same '70's futuristic vibe.  There is no mistaking films from the '60's or '70's that depict the future.  The set-pieces look far from futuristic -- they look exactly like a set-piece from the '70's attempting to depict the future.  With "Futureworld," this is no exception.  The set-pieces are grandiose in scale in an attempt to be futuristic, but it just comes across as a '70's future film (which I like).  It's fun to look back upon cinema from 30+ years ago that have attempted to portray the future.

For the most part "Futureworld" is more of a detective story set in a sci-fi situation, than it is a sci-fi film.  Sure, it contains androids and spaceships but what encompasses the storyline are our two reporters and their journey to bring light to the otherwise corrupt actions of Delos.  It does, however, contain a cool android character who has been dubbed obsolete, who is cared for by a Delos engineer.  The android's face has been removed with only a red bulb for an eye to emote from.  This is one of those characters (a simpleton) in a film that is used for viewers to empathize with and even though viewers know it's an android with a robotic face, the sympathy card is dealt quite well.  I couldn't help but feel sorry for the guy, whilst  simultaneously felling  disgusted with myself for falling for such an easy gimmick.

"Futureworld" is a decent little film that plays more like an episode of the "Twilight Zone" than a typical sci-fi film or detective drama.  It shows its age, which is a part of its allure, in attempting to depict a world of the future where robots cater to our every whim.  The film was not received well critically when it was originally released and still probably won't make any top ten lists but it's an entertaining little outing that fans of '70's futuristic sci-fi might get a kick out of.

MGM presents "Futureworld" on DVD-R in its Limited Edition Collection presentation.  The film is presented 1.85:1 anamorphic  and appears to be remastered which is evident from the accompanying trailer which depicts many film blemishes.  The audio is presented Dolby Digital 2.0 and is as good as one can expect from a dual channel mix.  The only extra exhibited is a solitary trailer.


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 Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 16:9 widescreen
 Region: NTSC R1
 Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0

 - Trailer

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