Okay, so this is another Sci Fi Invasion boxset streak I'm on right now aside from God Told Me To, this one is a sort of western sci fi clearly inspired by Westworld. Keir Dullea from 2001: A Space Odyssey stars as Lewis in this very bizarre, but very ahead of it's time film.
It started in a way that made me super excited too. Keir Dullea and a bunch of people wake up in this nowhere town with no memories of anything, who they are or where they came from etc. Soon enough it appears there are some masterminds behind the scenes who are controlling things, and altering things in a god like way. The Supervisor is a evil main villain who twists things to his desires, and that directly effects the players in this wild west world. Jack Palance fills out the cast, and here's what's cool: due to the change in the scenarios, he doesn't stay evil for once!
So, this review will make more sense if you've seen the 2012 movie The Cabin in the Woods. In that, there's the teenagers at the cabin, but then behind the scenes there's Richard Jenkins and co who are controlling what happens at the cabin. So take that idea, but imagine if they could also change the characters themselves. They decide to turn one guy evil. They decide that two characters need to have a fight. Etc. Then, you also have a few actors playing different parts, which I genuinely didn't notice until the end. It's a very interesting twist to a otherwise very regular film.
But that's all it takes. The Cabin in the Woods may be one of the most innovative and entirely 'new' films to come out in a long time, and this movie made me think of it a LOT. I wish other movies would do this. It doesn't take a lot to twist a fairly stale genre. As readers of Shakespeare will know, he did it in his plays from time to time. He'd have characters remark, either to themselves or whatever, about the situation they were in and twist things. Or he'd have a character of a god come in and tell the audience: look, this is what I'm going to do, let's see how the character reacts.
There is not a problem with a bit of nontraditional plot telling. To break down that barrier, become a bit self aware, and to remark on your own legacy as a storyteller, that is a great idea. This movie did that, as does The Cabin in the Woods. In fact, I'd go so far as to say I liked this a lot more than Westworld. Westworld to me was one of those movies that has a fantastic premise, but in the end it's just a average slow paced sci fi film with a western setting. Yul Brynner is cool and all, but I like Keir Dullea and Jack Palance way more.
It had some times where it was confusing, it probably could've used some more fleshing out and a better script, but it was a great start. The quality sucks too, as the pan and scan was apparently performed by a retarded chimpanzee. Most of the shots that are close up, you can't see a characters whole face, or body, or whatever. If this were on a good unaltered version, I bet it would be a classic film.
So for having tons of potential, making me think, despite the flaws, I give it 3.5 stars.