This is a post I’ve been cultivating and deliberating, editing and tweaking for some time now. Because of the reverence it incurs in its viewers, the resonance it has along with the fact that it is one of the most intelligent series I’ve encountered thus far. I’ll be doing episode by episode analysis soon but they won’t be simply plot related. As a student in college, a significant part of my degree was film and tv studies. So the episode by episode breakdowns will be textual analysis, looking at pastiche, metaphors, allusions, mis-en-scene, narrative arcs etc.. & for those of you who haven’t fully grasped the meanings of those terms I’ll be explaining them simplistically before delving into analysing them. Back to the reason for this post, I have sat down countless people to watch this series and no matte their age, interests or philosophical intrigue, it literally seduces everyone. I’d seen the trailer for it about six months previous to it airing and was one of the members of the world who watched it week by week as it came out and slowly started to lose my mind in fascination at it. Having remembered a film called the same name made sometime in the 70s I looked it up, and the series I’m currently reviewing is loosely based on a film of the same name. The movie was a far less advanced and philosophical than its successor in nearly every aspect but there’s no denying that without the concept of the film, this wondrous creation wouldn’t be what it is today.
When watching the trailer, I realised that this was going to be so much more than a simple Sci-Fi with a western ‘theme park’. There was discussions and allusions to the idea of consciousness and sentience as the robots in the series are called “Hosts” and we find out that, as Hopkins puts it “So, some of our creatures are misbehaving.” This show is riddled inside and out with philosophical schools of thought, nods to the great thinkers of the world and some incredibly tantalizing concepts and ideas that can leave you talking about the show for hours at a pub….. literally. The juxtaposition of the Western themed theme park and the futuristic labs and buildings create quite a unique visual display.
The cast in this series is something pretty damn spectacular, we’ve got our big names and very recognisable faces:
Along with a few lesser known but equally as diabolical. Another impressive attribute is that even though it has a fairly large cast (another 5 actors who are also main and imperative characters, all are well-developed and fleshed out. There isn’t one that you feel you didn’t ‘grasp’ his/ her character, the pacing of the reveal of our protagonists pasts is done pretty perfectly too. Gone are the days when you need to know everything immediately, as i attempted to explain to my father when sitting him down to it, this is a postmodern text.
So, the intro for you guys. The show is set in an unspecified time in the future, at least a hundred if not a few by my guess. And at first sight, we’re shown that the concept of “Westworld” is that its like a theme park where the incredibly wealthy can come and visit and play cowboys and escape their real lives. This has a few connotations and allusions to the concept of the first “Jurassic Park”, in which you have a very wise creator who’s done something seemingly impossible and its marketed as a park, or a metaphorical and literal playground. Within minutes we head people on the train talking about their first time here and the concept of the ‘white’ or ‘black’ hat decision. This being that when your entering you can be white hat and play the good guy, take your family and go on ride-outs, explore saloons and mountains. Or, you can go black hat and go as the guests say ‘straight evil’. This said regardless of the colour hat you choose you can change your mind anytime you please. The ‘hosts’ in the park are incredibly life-like and you can do to them as you please, converse with them, drink and eat and go on adventures or you can fuck, rape, torture and kill them. As the park slogan tells us “The only limit is your imagination”.
Character wise, our omnipotent and seemingly-omniscient creator Robert Ford (Anthony Hopkins) is one of the main characters, and as anyone who’s a Hopkins fan (which I am) it is heavenly, perfected and surprisingly dark role that intrigues you and comes out with such philosophical lines that really resonate with you after each episode ends.
[insert Gif of Hopkins character Ford using the quote “I guess self-delusion is a gift of natural selection”]
1/3 / 1/2 way done.