Review of 'Westworld'

westworld.jpg In the near future “Delos” is an expensive theme park that offers visitors three simulated reality experiences: Westworld - the action of the wild west, Romanworld - a sensual experience set in the time of the roman empire and Medievalworld - where you take a part in a medieval kingdom. The kingdoms are made real by androids and robotic animals that can be killed or used in any way you wish. We follow two young men, Peter Martin (Richard Benjamin) who is here for his first visit and John Blane (James Brolin) who is on his second. They both chose to visit Westworld where they are dressed in appropriate clothing and given guns before taking the stagecoach into an old west town. The experience is very real and they quickly find themselves in a bar where Martin kills a tough gunslinger (Yul Brynner). At night we see the bodies of the androids removed to be refurbished ready for the next day. The gunslinger returns the next day for Martin seeking revenge only to be killed again…escaping into the dessert Martin and Blane are attacked by a (robotic) snake. There is something wrong here, the park exhibits are not supposed to be able to harm their visitors…something is terribly wrong. The question is: Will they survive their experience?

An early precursor to the likes of Jurassic Park, Westfield certainly feels a bit dated but it deals with the same issues: The hubris of man in assuming it can control it's own creations. This is a theme that Crichton returns to again and again in his novels “Andromeda Strain”, “Jurassic Park”, and “Congo” – amongst others. In all of these we see man choosing to play god then being destroyed by it.

The effects in this film are actually really quite good for the time in which it was made though, unfortunately, the acting is not that great. I remember seeing this a long time ago but not really seeing the humour which is now evident when re-watching. The ending is definitely not funny and it leaves a powerful message for viewers. Still interesting, relevant and thought provoking though, perhaps, a modern viewing audience might be tired of the same message over and over again - This is where it all began.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2016-10-02

Directed by: Michael Crichton

Studio: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

Year: 1973

Length: 88 minutes

Genre: Science Fiction