Rating 3/5 – Okay people let’s stop this nonsense about calling the original Westworld “Jurassic Park with Cowboys.” First of all it was made in 1973, so it predates Jurassic Park by decades. Secondly Westworld is the same as Jurassic Park as a World War I movie is the same as a World War II movie. Sure, they were both wars but different times, different eras and completely difference reasons for what’s going on. Westworld was a hit in 1973. I know because it was one of those movies no one, including myself, would shut up about. It spawned a sequel, a couple of books – because books were at thing back in 1973, and even a TV series that did not last too long called Beyond Westworld. So all this nonsense about it being a little movie is being put out there by people who were born after the Internet was a thing, don’t know better and are too damn lazy to use Wikipedia. Oh, and Westworld was not a book first. The movie made 4 million dollars, which was a huge success in 1973 money, and when a movie did that good a book version was always rushed out afterwards – even if there was an original book. (Yes, that did happen a lot.) The better comparison would be to say Westworld was Terminator before there was a Terminator.
The basic story is that there is a theme park where you can go to three different worlds, Westworld, Medieval World and Roman World, which was populated by life like android apparently built anatomically correct. It was a place where the rich could live out various fantasies in these old time places. The android begin to act twitchy which leads them to do what they are programed against doing, attacking and killing the guests. The main antagonist was the gunslinger played by then super-star Yul Brenner. In the old movie the gunslinger had nor gave any reason for his actions. He just shot a guest and went on the hunt for another. I can see the comparison to the later blockbuster dinosaur movie, but where people are confused when they say Westworld was Jurassic Park set in the west. The more accurate description should be that Jurassic Park was Westworld with dinosaurs.
Now HBO his begun it’s series based on the 1973 movie because the 1979 follow-up, Futureworld, was a piece of shit and no one wants to touch that one again. It’s the same basic premise, western theme park populated by life like androids where people with enough money can indulge the America fantasies of killing Native Americans or hunting down bank robbers or screwing a hooker. This show is also sporting one hell of an all star cast. Of course there were things beginning to go wrong with the androids only in this version the thing going wrong has a very interesting twist. You see, more than a few of the androids have been reused a lot, sometimes in different roles in the theme park and all those programing memories still exist. The show open with the head of the theme park, played by Anthony Hopkins, putting through an upgrade to give the androids, called Hosts, more human qualities only the upgrade is causing more than few of them to malfunction. Insert, guess what’s about to happen next, any time.
Westworld’s first episode was mostly set up and introduction as you would expect. It has a brand history so that kept me watching and things happen in it I did not expect. There isn’t a “gunslinger” but a guest played by Ed Harris who is going around shooting and raping androids for some unexplained reason. It’s hard to say whose going to take on the Yul Brenner role at this point but my money is on Evan Rachel Wood who, as it turns out, is the focus and what the title of the show is referring to. The very end with the swatting of a fly tells you where the show is going and whose going to be doing there when the time comes. A lot of people are saying that Westworld is HBO’s new Game of Thrones. I disagree. You know what’s like Game of Thrones? Game of Thrones. (This reminds me of when people kept saying Mc G’s Charlie’s Angels was like Matrix even though it did not have a single story element related to the Matrix at all. What can I say, people are stupid.) I was not overly impressed but I wasn’t bored either. The acting was solid, you got a sense of the world and it’s rules and you got a sense of who the “bad guys” will turn out to be when all is said and done. I’ll give it a couple of more episodes to see if it’s worth sticking around for.