Novelist, screenwriter, producer and director (and doctor) Michael Crichton was one of the most beloved and visionary entertainers of the late 20th century. From popular entertainments (JURASSIC PARK) to provocative social button-pushers (RISING SUN, DISCLOSURE), he never failed to rivet his audience.
American Cinematheque will screen WESTWORLD and LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica.
WESTWORLD, 1973, Warner Bros., 88 min. Dir. Michael Crichton. Bored suburbanites Richard Benjamin and James Brolin embark on a weekend at a new fangled amusement park offering a deceptively "real," idealized fantasy experience. It just so happens they've chosen Westworld, where immersion in the cowboy experience of frontier times is the order of the day. Unhappily, they've picked a weekend where electronic glitches in the park's security suddenly make the park's androids go on the fritz. Once things go haywire, there's one very aggressive gunslinger robot in particular (a maniacal Yul Brynner) that seems to have it in for the boys. And he pursues them relentlessly as fantasy devolves into a nightmarish reality.
THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK, 1997, Universal, 129 min. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Jeff Goldblum returns from JURASSIC PARK and is joined by Julianne Moore and Pete Postlethwaite in Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Michael Crichton's bestselling sequel. This time, an expedition of scientists, businessmen and game hunters travels to the island where the dinosaurs of the first film were bred, with predictably terrifying results. Both more action-packed and more playful than its predecessor (with plenty of tributes to Howard Hawks and HATARI!), this is one of those rare sequels that equals and at times even surpasses the original.
Aero Theatre will also host a MAD MAX Special Triple Feature on January 31.
MAD MAX, 1979, MGM Repertory, 93 min. Dir. George Miller. In 1979, audiences were stunned by this nihilistic road-rage sci-fi action film about violent car gangs taking over the highways and awed by the daring car chases and the grim sadistic tone, reminiscent of spaghetti westerns. As with the rest of the cast, future international star Mel Gibson's voice was dubbed at the time of the release because the American distributor was afraid U.S. audiences would not understand Australian accents. Shown here in all its uncut and undubbed glory, this dark revenge tale still manages to impress audiences.
MAD MAX 2: THE ROAD WARRIOR, 1981, Warner Bros., 94 min. Hockey mask-wearing Lord Humongous whips his speed-freaks into a frenzy, while Road Warrior Mel Gibson tries to save the remnants of civilization, in director George Miller's lean, mean, thrill machine - along with James Cameron's ALIENS, the finest action film of the decade.
MAD MAX BEYOND THUNDERDOME, 1985, Warner Bros., 107 min. Dir. George Miller. The third and most ambitious of George Miller's MAD MAX movies is less action-oriented and more politically allegorical, as Max (Mel Gibson) finds himself among a group of children being oppressed by matriarchal uber-capitalist Tina Turner. The deeper thematic resonance doesn't get in the way of some spectacular set pieces, however, particularly in the Thunderdome of the title, a gladiatorial theatre that is a triumph of visionary production design. Discussion following MAD MAX 2 with cinematogrpaher Dean Semler. One of their patrons has kindly offered to bring his replica Interceptor by the Aero for display.