Westworld isn't your typical amusement park. Intended for rich vacationers, the futuristic park allows its visitors to live out their most primal fantasies with the robotic "hosts." However, the robotic hosts have evolved an artificial consciousness that is similar to, yet diverges from, human 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; but there is a price to be paid.
Warner Brothers had been trying to remake Westworld (1973) since the 1990s. In 1996, Michael Crichton, the Writer and Director of the film, met with J.J. Abrams, wanting him to write the screenplay, but Abrams was unable to come up with a way he thought worked. In 2000, Joel Silver was announced to be working on the remake. Silver hired Richard D'Ovidio to write the screenplay. In 2002, Arnold Schwarzenegger was announced to star in and produce the film with John Brancato and Michael Ferris writing a new screenplay. Schwarzenegger subsequently left the project when he was elected Governor of California. In 2005, Tarsem Singh was announced as the director. In 2007, Quentin Tarantino claimed he had been offered the film. In 2008, Billy Ray was hired to write a new screenplay. In 2013, Abrams pitched the idea of a television series to Creators Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy. As Nolan told Deadline: "J.J. came to Lisa and me with the suggestion that Westworld wasn't to be realized as a movie, since it had been ripped off so many times, and inspired a number of science fiction films, rather a television series from the robots' point of view." See more »
If you've watched the original film, you will approach watching Westworld with an understanding of the basic premise and a moderate expectation of entertainment. That is how I approached it, and my expectations were taken to another level. Westworld is, put simply, a contemporary screenplay masterpiece. It has taken the original premise and intelligently added layers of complexity to its plot that resonate with where humanity finds itself in the 21st century. What is consciousness? What is humanity? Where is the line? And how does this related to creating artificial consciousness? The original film failed to explain how 'what happened' happened. But the TV show eludes to the faultline between corporate sponsorship (The Board) and scientific enquiry. I will avoid spoilers for anyone who has not seen this yet, but in setting the seen the writers/producers have created Westworld not only as a TV show, but as a series of questions for humanity to ponder. And the acting is sublime, in particular Evan Rachel Wood & Thandie Newton's characters evoke empathy in my very core.
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