By: Oberst Von Berauscht (Three Beers) –
“Have we got a vacation for you!” is the tagline of the Delos Corporation’s Theme Park, which allows its attendees to immerse themselves in the Wild West, the Middle Ages, or even the Roman Empire. The Androids are nearly indistinguishable from humans at a glance, and paying customers are able to shoot, stab and sex their way through their vacation with no regard for consequences.
Few people seem to remember that sci-fi novelist Michael Crichton once fancied himself a filmmaker. While he had written several scripts in the past, Westworld was the first script he chose to personally helm. The concept was incredibly original, essentially a western with robots. Yul Brynner is frightening as a relentless gunman android that haunts the main characters throughout the movie.
Seen here in “Bob Marley” mode…
Richard Benjamin and James Brolin are hilariously understated in their role as businessman friends who are looking for a good time the park, and are sorely underprepared for the havoc which ensues. The special effects were top notch for the time, holding up well today, if a bit on the campy side. Particularly notable is that the film features the first digital images ever created for a film, in the form of a handful of heavily pixelated android POV shots.
In this day and age, Westworld is perhaps doomed to comparison to the far more popular Jurassic Park, as both films involve a theme park at which the attractions kill the guests. Westworld could only have come from the 1970’s, whereas Jurassic Park doesn’t have that aged feel.
So what you’re saying is this isn’t timeless?
This places the movie firmly in cult-film circles, though it is still a lot of fun for those willing to take a chance on it.
With its deliberate, procedural pacing and straight-laced approach, Westworld feels like a spiritual sequel to The Andromeda Strain, which Crichton also wrote. In hindsight, this expository style feels out of place.
Like your face…
In The Andromeda Strain, this approach gave the film a documentary feel. But in Westworld, a film with an unabashedly silly premise, it makes the film take itself too seriously. The result is a series of sequences which fall directly into the “unintentional comedy” category. With a more assured approach, Crichton could have given the tone a more foreboding feel, which could have overcome the sillier aspects of the screenplay by adding genuine terror to the menu.
“Hey buddy, say buddy!”… ” You know when Tony Stark calls the bad guy “Westworld” in Iron Man 3? NOW do you get it?”
Take a Drink: each time someone indicates that everything is safe, or that nothing could go wrong
Take a Drink: each time something goes wrong
Do a Shot: for the human/android body count