Imagine a place where you could actually live in the days of the wild west. You can shoot and kill people, cattle rustle, rob banks, hunt for gold or track down wanted men for bounties. If that’s not your style perhaps you’d enjoy living in ancient Rome. A world with massive wine-fueled orgies and gladiatorial fights. If you want something more chivalrous, live in the actual medieval times with jousting and wenching. This is the original premise of Westworld; a vacation so real that you forget it isn’t.
Created by Michael Crichton the writer of Jurassic Park. Westworld is an amusement park where guests enter the world of the wild west. The residents of this park are A.I. controlled robots who believe their world is actually real. In the original movie, the robots were made to be unable to harm the guests. The villain of the movie, the gunslinger played by Yul Brynner, was programmed to have a slower gun draw allowing the guests to beat him at gun fights. The human employees of Westworld closely monitored each park ensuring their uests enjoyment and safety. Of course like Jurassic Park something has to go wrong and it does. The robots refuse to accept commands from the programmers, become violent, killing the guests, and causing chaos everywhere. One man is hunted down by mercilessly the gunslinger who; has become the terminator with thermal vision and heightened senses. It all leads to a final intense battle that still gives one the shivers.
Over the years the movie became a cult classic due to its vast airings on cable television and even for its time the movie has somewhat held up well.
We now come to the present. HBO announced that they would be launching Westworld as a series. Fans of the movie were excited to see this new vision of the beloved classic and also worried that this Westworld would have nothing from the past movie. HBO’s Westworld exceeded expectations and has made one of the most engaging series. It is peppered with a powerhouse of a cast. Anthony Hopkins plays the creator of Westworld with a feel of Gepetto when it comes to his creations.
Jeffrey Wright plays another robotic engineer channeling his role as Beetee from the Hunger Games series. The A.I. characters within the world are not 2D like many LARPs or other fantasy style places. They are real people with backstory and emotions which draws the guests into the fantasies. Also the fact there is a whorehouse that gets a lot of attention helps add to the illusion; you know what they say folks…save a horse ride a cowboy. Unlike the fast pace of the movie, the series is open to a slow burn. We know something is wrong with the robots but which ones are affected and how this is all happening has become a mystery. The man in black played by Ed Harris is another puzzle to the whole story. He is a frequent guest to Westworld who is in search of the deeper level of the game referred to as “the maze”.
While the original movie had to deal with the limitations of technology and of course, the movie rating system. The series has been able to break free from that rope and run wild. The audience is treated to tons of violence, blood, and of course nudity. 3D printing technology has been a big help to this series, adding in the intricate designs of each human robot and animal. This is a show that should not be missed and when the DVDs are released they should be bought and then watched multiple times.