Westworld (TV Series 2016– ) Poster

(2016– )

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Outstanding dialog, acting and story line
letshaveagoodtm29 October 2016
Pay attention, this series explores some very subtle story lines. I was extremely impressed when they introduced the bicameral mind concept when considering consciousness. That is one of the more important concepts when considering the origins of consciousness. I hope they explore this idea in greater detail and especially its implications related to physics. It is rare indeed to have a fictional work undertake such a complex topic without trivializing it. I definitely have to compliment the writers for undertaking such a complex topic and I hope they continue to explore the implications.

Again, IMDb thinks I should add additional lines to my review which is ridiculous. I have offered a clear and concise review and they want an arbitrary number of lines, what kind of idiot makes this a requirement?
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How do we define "human"?
gogoschka-13 October 2016
Warning: Spoilers
* May contain slight spoilers * As many sci-fi fans will know, the show 'Westworld' is based on the 1973 feature film of the same name (written and directed by Michael Crichton), and the premise is basically the same as it was then: In a future where technological possibilities are seemingly endless, a highly sophisticated theme park offers rich clients the chance to visit the long gone era of the Old West (Crichton later explored a variation of that theme in a certain well known novel – which was then adapted by a certain Mr. Spielberg - albeit with slightly different creatures than cowboys populating a slightly more "jurassic" environment). The show does a great job pulling the viewer immediately into Westworld. Within 10 minutes of the first episode, the basic rules of the theme park are established: paying guests called "newcomers" get to interact with androids called "hosts" (which to the naked eye are indiscernible from the guests) in a world dressed up like the Old West – and in this world, the guest truly is king. The rules are brutally simple: the visitors get to do whatever they like with – or to – the androids. They can have a friendly chat with them, flirt with them or embark on a spontaneous (or scripted) adventure with them – but they can also shoot them, rape them, torture them and kill them at will. Imagine a real-life version of the game 'Grand Theft Auto' (in a slightly different setting) and you'll get the idea. The androids, on the other hand, are constructed and programmed in a way that is supposed to inhibit them from physically harming "living" creatures. At the beginning of the show - thanks to an interesting choice of storytelling - we get to experience Westworld from the perspective of the androids, which reveals a cruel detail about their nature: they apparently experience emotions. Artificial or not, they do feel pain and fear – as well as affection and anger, and they have no idea that they don't count as "real" people (at least not to those who call themselves real people). And while that detail certainly makes the "game" even more thrilling and more realistic for the visitors, it means that the shocking abuse some of the androids have to suffer is harrowingly real to them. The way the show is constructed - so far - it immediately confronts the viewer with very uncomfortable questions. How do we as humans behave towards creatures we consider non-human? How excessive do we become and how thin does our layer of morality turn out to be if we're allowed to live out all our fantasies without having to fear any consequences for our actions? And at what point should a creature have rights similar to those we demand for ourselves? How do we define "sentient"? How do we define "human"? And how well do we actually understand - and how well are we able to control - the amazing technology our species seems to have acquired so suddenly? As an avid film fan, I found 'Westworld' immediately intriguing; not only because it dares to challenge the viewer with fascinating philosophical questions and scientific concepts, but also because its premise offers the chance to explore a wide range of film genres: sci- fi, western, drama, horror - to name but a few. In the first few episodes alone, there are hints of many of my favorite films and stories such as (obviously) 'Frankenstein', 'Blade Runner', 'A.I.', 'Ex Machina', 'Jurassic Park', 'The Truman Show' and 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' (and I suspect somewhere down the road there will be a strong 'Spartacus' vibe). As for the non plot related aspects of the show: production design, music and effects are fantastic – as we've come to expect from HBO's high concept productions – and, with very few exceptions, the impressive ensemble of high caliber actors do a great job at bringing their respective characters to life (artificial and otherwise). A special mention needs to go to Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins: their charismatic screen presence is once more just impossible to ignore and they simply own every scene they're in. Generally speaking, there really isn't much to complain about in 'Westworld' (so far), and I'm pretty sure HBO have another winner. Given the amount of talent involved, anything else actually would have been surprising. Produced by J.J. Abrams, created by Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy Nolan based on a concept by the late – great – Michael Crichton; directed by Neil Marshall and Vincenzo Natali (among others), and with a cast most shows would kill for, the stars really seem to have aligned for 'Westworld'. My overall verdict so far: 'Westworld' is intelligent science fiction for adults (some scenes are very graphic) which offers more than just eye candy and is full of mysteries for the patient viewer to uncover. The show's main themes may not be new, but I found the way they are presented never less than compelling. It succeeds in creating a powerful metaphor for oppression, and by showing how quickly humans tend to deem "un-humane" treatment of other beings acceptable - once they've managed to convince themselves they're "less" human than they are - the show drove a point home that resonated strongly with me. 9 stars out of 10.
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timoverend8315 October 2016
This show is so far perfect. The story is intriguing, the visuals are beautiful and the acting is incredible.

The previous reviewer who said the violence is unnecessary has missed the point in my opinion. The violence is very much needed. It is there to make you feel uncomfortable, because it is that inner dark side and battle between good and evil (and more often than not the middle ground between) that is at the very epicenter of the human condition.This is what the show is often commenting on and this is what makes this show so interesting, thought provoking and ultimately entertaining.

If it carries on in the same vein we will have a modern day classic on our hands.
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A delightful change from cheap flicks
Movie Tracker3 November 2016
First of all, it is very clear that the production mindset behind Westworld is far from creating a cheap product with generic high bursts of tension/love/horror/excitement. It is full of deep human conflicts, that is if you are open to watch it with a clear mind.

Hopkins' quote from the end of episode 2 when he says "No" to "Odyssey on Red River" and explanation of his refusal feels like a statement of the production mindset. "Odyssey on Red River" pretty much summarizes everything wrong with entertainment media nowadays, and Westworld is a real delight that shines as a great production.

I don't know how to tell its greatness without spoiling the show, but unless you want a cheap ride you will glimpse at screen in between your texting; you can not not enjoy this show!
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Absolutely spectacular
lesley_givens18 October 2016
Wow, where to begin...

First of all, the score by Ramin Djawadi is absolutely majestic!

The actors, well, whatever I say just won't be enough. It's a total pleasure watching every second of their stellar performances.

The plot - being a huge fan of sci-fi, it simply doesn't get better than that!

The scenery is gorgeous, it really takes you in the past. That constant mix of past and future is brilliant.

Overall, I am amazed ( obviously ), mesmerized and absolutely loving every single thing about this show!

Already a classic in my book <3
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A Spectacular Philosophical/Sci-Fi TV Show
greyfire3 December 2016
Westworld has quickly and unexpectedly become one of my favorite shows of all time. It's a show that manages to make the viewer ask questions about human existence and human morality.

I was really excited to watch this show because of the premise alone: There's a theme park filled with robots called 'hosts' that are made to resemble humans in almost every way; visitors to the theme park enter a western themed world where they can do whatever they want, including raping and murdering the hosts. At the beginning, I wasn't sure where the show was headed, but it intrigued me. After a few episodes, some questions were answered and as I began to see the direction the show was taking, I fell in love with it.

The show presents the perspective of many different characters who each have their own opinion on what is right and wrong regarding the use of the hosts. And there's always mystery in the plot that'll keep you wondering about the people, their motives and whether or not they should be considered an immoral person based on their actions.

Westworld challenges us to think about what makes someone a conscious human being and what exactly makes us real and separates us from the hosts.
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Television at its finest
theruralfox30 October 2016
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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Intensely disturbing dance of sociopathic humans and emotional robots
michiel moore17 October 2016
No spoilers... I haven't watched the original movie. I won't watch it either, because I want to be guided by this series.

The theme song and intro are brilliant. Warm piano music contrast the robot-esque fabrication and programming of man made perfection.

The story does not seem to be everlasting in length but almost infinite in width. Imagine what kind of people would pay to go to a place where no laws affect you, where paying customers can murder, rape, live their fantasies without scrupulous. The man made actors and actresses in a real fictional world often seem more human then the paying clients who visit Westworld to create their personal Sodom and Gomorrah. Its a dance of empathy and apathy on every level. The depth is breathtaking, the viewer is treated on a painfully confronting view of what man is capable off.
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A beautifully layered story on the dawn of AI
Ayan Sarkar29 November 2016
It's a beautifully layered story about the dawn of Artificial Intelligence, where the androids are becoming more & more emotional as they gain consciousness, and humans are becoming more homicidal as they lose their humanity. In a theme park world, where human actions are devoid of any consequences, as machines evolve by self-learning, they are becoming more enlightened than their creators. Bringing together huge names like Michael Crichton, Jonathan Nolan and Anthony Hopkins, along with a multi-million dollar budget, this show, just after a 9 episode run, looks promising enough to be the best TV show ever. Could it break the record-breaking following achieved by Game of Thrones, could it keep blowing away our mind even after a 5 season run like Breaking Bad...I can't wait to find out.
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A wasted opportunity - a plot so thin you could use it as a window
Corben D'alasse15 January 2017
Warning: Spoilers
> Assets : cinematography, well-performing A-list actors, beautiful scenery and an interesting starting idea

> Shortcomings : bad storytelling (which is ironic, since the whole "Westworld" fictional universe relies on immersive storytelling), incoherent characters with ever-changing motivations, unnecessary plot twists, ... the list goes on.

Even though the series got a lot of hype, I started watching it without too many expectations. And I happily admit being immediately hooked after the first episode : the setting of the show revealed itself to be very intriguing, triggering a lot of questions and the desire to discover the full extent of it. The scenery is magnificent and well- shot, the opening credits are gorgeous and the actors are doing a fine job making everything come to life.

The problem is that the series appears to be unable to keep its promise. After episode three or four, I started wondering whether this show was worth watching after all. I'd say that the main issue is the thinness of the plot : it is simply too flimsy to retain the viewer's interest over time. What it all boils down to is this : the bots (or so-called "hosts") are slowly gaining conscience and, after realizing that the gods (i.e. the management of the park) controlling them aren't as divine and powerful as they appear, they try to take control being helped by the park's creator. This is certainly not a bad storyline, but it is hardly enough to carry alone 10 hours of showtime. And instead of adding interesting backstories and side-plots to keep the slow unraveling of this central plot line entertaining, the writers simply stretched everything out and repeated the same things over and over again. For instance, I don't need - as a viewer - to see Dolores having 4 or 5 existential crises before getting what is going on. This endless repeating of the same messages made me feel as if the writers suffered from a severe lack of imagination. Don't get me wrong : I don't dislike the central backstory, I simply feel it should have been a real *back*story, instead of an overstretched "front"story repeated under four different story lines.

Now let's get to WestWorld's infamous "plot twists". Every show has them (or at least tries to) : these "wow"- moments, when the plots catches you off-guard and truly surprises you by giving the show a whole new dimension. WestWorld has them too, but most of them completely miss their point. They don't add anything to the plot, on the contrary : they slow things down instead of allowing progress. Most of the time these twists revealed themselves to be mere smokescreens for the plot's lack of depth, adding no new dimensions at all. Despite all the twists, the central back-story never changed course. From the first episode on, we knew that the hosts were getting sapient and in the end, well... they got sapient. In other words : no real twist at all, simply cheap techniques used to make the show appear deeper and smarter than it really is.

Another thing that really bothered me are the show's inconsistencies. For instance : why would the man in black kill Maeve and his daughter to test his ethical sensitivity ? According to the story's timeline, Billy had been roaming WestWorld for more than 15 years before this event, slaughtering dozens and dozens of hosts. There was no need for his little "ethical test", besides clumsily connecting the Billy/man in black storyline with Maeve's. Time for a bit of speculation: the Maeve-man in black story will probably (and sadly) become a major thing in WestWorld's next season... By the way, Maeve's decision to stay in the park was another big inconsistency and let-down : this behavior proved that she still was bot, as she clearly wasn't capable of truly emancipating herself from her code.

But the worst thing among all WestWorld's shortcomings is the endless list of implausible events. Movie writing priority number 1 should be the conservation of the viewer's suspension of disbelief. That does not entail that a show has to be realistic : it means that it should be coherent and believable. The fact that visitors can not be hit by bullets is an example of implausibility : how this is possible should have been explained, otherwise it looks like pure wizardry. But there are stronger examples : Maeve's escape is implausible from start to finish. Glass walls everywhere in the facility and nobody notices what is happening until it is too late ? Moreover, that facility is always buzzing with activity and people running around, but as soon as Maeve starts acting rogue everyone vanishes. The way Sylvester (Felix's lab buddy) reacts to Maeve's plotting is also laughable : after being stabbed in the throat, he meekly continues to collaborate instead of warning his management. It seems that the fear of losing his job outweighs his fear of losing his life. As implausible as all the rest is Dolores' escape from the Confederados: she shoots an officer in the middle of a soldiers' camp and manages to run away without trouble. And what to say about the season's finale : how could Ford predict that the man in black was going to stab Dolores ? The stabbing was paramount : without it, Teddy couldn't tenderly kiss Dolores' dead body on the beach in front of the board. And the list of implausibilities goes on...

All in all, I believe that the 10-hours lasting series should have been reduced to a decent 2-hour movie. The starting idea was pretty good, but the writers didn't bring it home.
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