Westworld Series 1 ep1
The wait is finally over, Westworld aired last night on Sky Atlantic in the UK. My first reaction to this reboot was cold when I saw the trailer back in the summer. However the more I saw of this reboot of the science fiction horror that was all but forgotten. I’ve only recently seen the original, complete with Yul Brynner‘s cowboy version of The Terminator that Arnold Schwarzenegger truly made his own over a decade later, an iconic image of film that’s built upon for another generation beyond that of what was a much forgotten obscure film about a theme park for the ultra rich in a future where guests would spend a week to indulge their pleasures.
Move forward to more recently we have the reboot, a series I will actually bang on about because I can see this being very successful even just for series one. There is so much potential for the scope of this world. Co-produced by JJ Abrams who seems to be going around breathing new life into classic films rather than really making his own mark beyond Cloverfield (2008) and this years sequel. He does however have the ability to really get under the skin of a piece of work, practically resuscitating it back to life, making it fresh for a new generation as he has done with Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015).
Taking episode one as a whole the makers of the series have stayed true to the film. Beginning not with a silly hovercraft but a steam training bringing a fresh batch of guests to enjoy the wild West theme park. However there is a nice twist with the first character that we meet, believing Teddy Flood (James Marsden) to be a guest whose actually a host who meets his first bloody end. A host being one of the androids, the whole language of this worlds been updated to give us a more considered corporate driven theme park that has grown from the 1973 original. Much like Jurassic World (2015) there’s an acceptance of the past which’s built upon. Hoping to improve on their mistakes.
It’s refreshing to see a series that’s lead by a woman – Dolores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood) who is very important to her makers. No longer are we in a male driven frontier, the woman is able to speak up and hold her own. It’s scary how a fly can walk all over her characters face without producing a reaction, either that’s damn good acting or clever subtle C.G.I. at work either way, our perception of who is a host and guest is really being played with in Westworld.
We see very little of Ed Harris who is basically chewing up the sets and spitting them out again. Lets face it he’s having a ball here in Monument Valley, my only concern is the makers of the show aren’t treading on sacred Navajo ground. Harris plays a mysterious character who we know very little about, however he knows more than he’s letting on, looking like the real threat to this theme park at the moment.
Looking up to the management of the theme park we found just as little of creator Dr. Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is the name a dark nod to Jesse James assassin? Or am I just reading too deep, this inventor doesn’t appear to be mad scientist type who wont give up on his dreams. However his latest update does start a series of malfunctions that lead to a recall of hosts to be checked over. He’s not about to give up on his empire just yet, whilst those around him are more aware of potential problems, you can see the politics of science vs profit starting up.
Down in the park you can see the potential for danger, its bold, bloody and brutal. Early on we are brought into a loop, the daily life of the resort, it’s only until we see the subtleties, do we realise that they hosts are programmed much like the less life-like robots on museums, having their own stories, dialogue, actions and routines. Only here the aim is to be more an illusion of life but do management really want that. All this and more interesting questions that are all starting to be explored, the notion of sentience for artificial life. Its all about to get a whole lot darker very soon where things are left, malfunctions are happening, eyes are being turned, truths are being sought.