Man, how come Westworld doesn’t exist? A world in which you can live out your fantasy that just happens to be inhabited by robots. I guess it is like Fantasy Island, but you know, with robots, which are cool. Well it was a cool idea in theory until Westworld showed us that robots can become the sentient killing machines they truly are, so it kind of ruined the fun of going to a nerdtastic Fantasy Island. I got to admit though, Westworld is a pretty interesting science fiction about rich people going to live our their fantasies and shoot robots for fun and then having the very robots go ape shit on them. Also Yul Brenner is a bad ass bald cowboy robot.
Writer/director Michael Crichton has concocted a futuristic “Disneyland for adults”, a remote resort island where, for a hefty fee, one can indulge in one’s wildest fantasies. Businessmen James Brolin and Richard Benjamin are just crazy about the old west, thus they head to the section of Westworld populated by robot desperadoes, robot lawmen, robot dance-hall gals, and the like. Benjamin’s first inkling that something is amiss occurs when, during a mock showdown with robot gunslinger Yul Brynner, Brolin is shot and killed for real. It seems that the “nerve center” of Westworld has developed several serious technical glitches: the human staff is dead, and the robots are running amok. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Given that Westworld is Michael Crichton’s first directing job, I give him a lot of credit for this film and the gorgeous faults it has. The faults in the film are more plot related than anything, but I find that the entire premise and atmosphere of the film is what makes this a memorable movie. The robotic “Disneyland for Adults” is pretty eye catching when you consider the mixing of eras that happen and how each setting starts to bleed in to one another once the robots start going haywire. It’s kind of has this time travel feel to it when you watch Brenner just mosey on through the sets of other time periods and kills everyone in it’s path.
As a science fiction film, it is a solid entry. Hitting on the tenants of sci-fi, you get a slightly arid and dystopian feel from a film that is set out in a desolate location during an unspecified time in the future. You have a society that uses advanced forms of technology, robots in this case, to manage and fulfill their wishes, and then the eventual turn of technology, malfunctioning and pitting them against the humans. It’s a fairly solid premise, one that is found in a lot of other films of the science fiction genre, but Westworld has a bit more hipper feel to it with the time crossing of settings and technology. What Westworld also did, that is a good thing about science fiction, is that the film kind of brings up the ethical notions about technology and consequences. What are the implications of letting people kill life like, non-humans? What does it mean when a machine becomes too complex that they are capable of being too much like humans themselves, such as viruses and disobeying orders with AI mainframes? There is a lot of subtext within the film to think about when watching the movie.
Apart from the look, Westworld is fun movie to watch. There is something eerie about how robotic Yul Brenner can get and you might even root for the dude as he is shooting his way through the richie rich people who are there to act out being a badass when the robots can’t really fight back. Seeing him walk through the worlds with that calculating and emotionless face is frightening and convincing as it seems so second nature. The story is alright in terms of carrying us through a action film, but there are hints of brilliance amongst the Crirchton written script. For a first time outing, he did a great job in crafting an interesting world of robotics and futuristic properties that make it worth a view.