Believe the hype
Spoilers for Westworld, The Original
By Jay Hunter – Westworld isn’t your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park — which is looked after by robotic “hosts” — allows its visitors to live out their fantasies through artificial consciousness. No matter how illicit the fantasy may be, there are no consequences for the park’s guests, allowing for any wish to be indulged.
Originally based on the 1973 Michael Crichton movie, the comparisons to Crichton’s later work as an author on Jurassic Park are easy to make. Asking many of the same questions; the morality of man playing creator is an underlying theme through both works. Instead of life finding a way, here artificial intelligence finds a way as Westworld’s robots start to glitch, after an update spawning a drive to “meet their maker”.
The red carpet has certainly been rolled out for the new HBO series. When you feature an all-star cast that includes Oscar winner Anthony Hopkins and Golden Globe winner Ed Harris along with an incredible crew including a writing credit from Jonathan Nolan (The Dark Knight) all neatly wrapped inside the television behemoth of HBO, standards are high to say the least. Westworld was being touted as the next “big thing” along side the likes of Game of Thrones, long before it’s release, and although it’s hard to gauge after one episode, it largely lives up to the hype.
After a somewhat ponderous opening, The Original manages to create not one, but two intriguing worlds; those of course being our world and the amusement world itself. The series so far seems to be focusing on the precarious task of taking the robots and turning them into our protagonists. Whilst it’s no easy feat to sympathise with a soulless machine, considering our other options of Theresa Cullen’s (Sidse Babett Knudsen) foul-mouthed profit-hungry template, it’s the lesser of two evils.
On a technical level, it comes as no surprise that Westworld is astonishingly beautiful, both aesthetically and from a performance point of view. It’s yet unclear as to whether or not the new series will live up to it’s crushing expectation, but it’s certainly got the tools to do so.