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Seven: Michael Crichton Movies... RIP Michael U will B Missed!


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*THANKS CINEMATICAL FOR THIS GREAT ARTICLE!!*

 

 

*_Cinematical Seven: Michael Crichton Movies_*

 

 

Mention the name Michael Crichton to a heavy reader, and they'll probably think of a very smart man who used real science as a springboard for some truly fantastic stories. Mention the name to a movie geek, and their reaction will probably depend on how old the movie geek is. First and foremost I believe Mr. Crichton will be remembered as the author of _Jurassic Park_, mainly because the book and the film were such massive hits all over the globe. But if you focus solely on the late Michael Crichton's cinematic output, you start to realize what a silly streak the smart man must have had.

 

 

*_Looker_ (1981, screenwriter / director)* -- Once again, a novel concept that's way past its expiration date in 2008, but it's about a plastic surgeon who slowly comes to discover a conspiracy involving computers, supermodels, and TV commercials.

 

*_Runaway_ (1984, screenwriter / director)* -- What must have seemed like a futuristic techno-thriller at one point now looks like a hopelessly outdated piece of action-flick silliness. It's cyborg hunter Tom Selleck vs. Gene Simmons and his gang of robo-spiders! Crazy stuff. And MC was too smart a guy to not notice how goofy some of this stuff is...

 

*_The Great Train Robbery_ (1979, screenwriter / director)* -- For my money this is (far and away) Crichton's finest directorial effort. (I rented the DVD from Netflix several years ago, sent it back, and bought a copy the next day. I love it.) It's a period piece, so the use of technology is of course limited, but that doesn't keep the movie from being smart, slick and quick. Plus Sean Connery and Donald Sutherland make a really entertaining team.

 

 

*_Coma_ (1978, writer / director)* -- Adapted from the novel by Robin Cook, it's about a young doctor who slowly comes to discover a conspiracy involving surgeons, organs, and comas that shouldn't oughtta be happening. Like most of these movies, it feels more than a little dated, but still a fun enough med-thriller.

 

*_Westworld_ (1973, writer / director)* -- Sort of like a very early version of Jurassic Park, only with a cowboy Yul Brynner instead of a cloned T. Rex. Richard Benjamin and James Brolin have to watch their keesters when a rogue robot targets them for demise. Crichton had little to do with the sequel (Futureworld), but did try to resurrect Westworld on TV in 1980. It didn't really take.

 

*_The 13th Warrior_ (1999, producer, novel, reshoots director)* -- Call me crazy but I like this one. If you do as well, do yourself a favor and pick up Crichton's Eaters of the Dead, which is about 14 times better than this guilty pleasure of a Viking action flick.

 

*_The Terminal Man_ (1974, novel)* -- Mike Hodges adapted and directed this version of Crichton's book, and (once again) it's a fascinating flick that suffers from the simple passage of a few decades. George Segal stars as a man with a strange mental imbalance who decides to let a microchip into his cranium. Not a great idea, obviously.

 

...and of course all sci-fi fans should check out Robert Wise's adaptation of Crichton's The _Andromeda Strain_, and of course you might want to skip the only flick that Crichton directed but didn't write. That would be the 1989 Burt Reynolds courtroom potboiler known as Physical Evidence. I know, it doesn't really fit in with most of Crichton's films. And the fact that I made it to the end of this piece without mentioning Twister, Congo, Disclosure, Sphere, Rising Sun, and Timeline is not an accident. Mainly because Michael Crichton didn't direct those films, but also because I don't like any of them. At all.

 

Again, everyone at Cinematical was truly bummed to hear about Mr. Crichton's passing at the age of 66. But hey, he left behind some solid films, a ton of books, and enough E/R episodes to fill a black hole. Rest in peace, sir.

 

 

westworld_ver2.jpg

 

 

Thanks,

Scott Weinberg

Cinematical

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