In case you’ve been under a cultural rock Westworld is a theme park. The aniamatrons aren’t bolted to stands but sophisticated lifelike robots. Guests pay a fortune to indulge themselves in any fantasy within the Role Play scenario currently being played. Only three’s a rancher’s daughter that’s fallen in love with a gunslinger her maker might not approve.
Micheal Chrichton brought us Westworld in 1973. It was his directorial debut. This is the creative genius that will go on to be the only one ever to simultaneously chart at Number ONE in US television (ER), film (Jurrasic Park) and book sales (Disclosure). Chrichton had that rare ability to make simple films that were incredibly nuanced. He’s a lot like John Ford who’d say all he was making was a western when there was a technical mastery at work and a whole lot of intellectual action.
I like, as a director and a spectator, simple, direct, frank films. Nothing disgusts me more than snobbism, mannerism, technical gratuity… and, most of all, intellectualism. – John Ford
Westworld has potential. It fits right into the niche HBO loves where you can have lots of gorgeous women (And increasingly men) naked for reasons that make sense to the plot. It’s sharpening you up for a bit of the old ultra-violence. If HBO execs could only figure out how to get Food Porn into the formula they’d retire as industry gods. Their only problem is there is no John Ford running things and Micheal Chrichton is only a fading ghost from 1973.
When in doubt make a Western. – John Ford
There has not been a critical failure in the park for thirty years. What a tease. There could be a Yul Brenner from Magnificent Seven down in cold storage. I love the idea that the livestock pen in the way down was clearly repurposed from an earlier version of the park. One where Buffalo Bill gave away his origin with only a handshake!
Now things are more sophisticated the Synths (Holy Hell that’s milk polymer bath is right out of Fallout 4 who stole from whom?) Excuse me the Hosts are even more lifelike and sophisticated. Dr. Ford has been programing “reveries” in. It’s a fantastic new idea to add gestures and subconscious tics for human nuance. The guests are eating up the idea but there’s a glitch. The robots have their memories reset over and over again but they’re remembering on a subliminal level and their worlds are repeating violent nightmares.
The happiest place on earth for anyone with a murder fetish – David Crow, Den of Geek
One of the more disturbing trends at HBO is this idea that the ruling class should be allowed to indulge themselves in violent pastimes. HBO’s new president of programming Casey Bloys squirms a bit and explains it’s not just violence against women. “It’s indiscriminate.” He says as if that excuses the old Ultra-Violence. Sure my little Droogies the first thing that flashes into my gulliver is that I’d like to have her right down on the floor with the old in-out, real savage. But old Alex from the Clockwork Orange will meet you with chain or nosh or britva anytime. All set to the magnificent Ludwig Van for the art of it.
“This place is the answer to that question that you’ve been asking yourself,” Logan smirks to his excessively buttoned up pal. “Who you really are? And I can’t fucking wait to meet that guy.”
So we meet Dolores. She is almost literally a Disney Princess. She loves her daddy and god’s country and paints watercolors of the sweeping vistas. She thinks newcomers are just wonderful and when she meets one just off the train she takes him home to dear old mom and dad only…spoiler alert… Teddy isn’t the real newcomer. Ed Harris is the Man in Black and despite having ally Brynner’s best lines he has the dark soul that only a human monster can have. His idea of fun is raping the girl next door while her family is cooling on the back porch. As he explains to Teddy it’s just not good without the sweetheart there to take her from. Dolores exists to be the good girl violated. Night after night. Only Casey Bloys is right. It’s not misogyny when you’re indulging in full blown psychopathy.
This guy is jaded from jacking up the price of AID’s drugs. Or he’s a corporate takeover specialist who’s not getting a trill of gutting companies and sending the jobs overseas. He’s a monster already but civilization won’t let him indulge himself openly. To understand him you need to look at the gamers who populate MMO’s as griefers. It’s not about the violence. It’s about GODMODE. He’s living for that moment when as the invulnerable newcomer he can grief entire villages with his six guns.
Another identifier is that he’s obsessed with winning the game in a world where the story is open ended. In a little chat with Clifton Collins Jr. (Who plays a charming outlaw saved from the gallows) he explains why he keeps on coming back: “You know why this beats the real world? The real world is just chaos; it’s an accident. But here, every details adds up to something.” And yes Virginia it seems there is “another level” for the American Psycho’s like the Man in Black.
“We practice witchcraft,” Ford says with that perpetual Anthony Hopkins twinkle in his eye. “We speak the right words and we create life itself out of chaos.”
He might want to be careful though. Dolores had a brief vision of a street strewn with dead bodies and wolf prowling around their remains. It implies that the Disney Princes might be thirty years old and remember where the “violent delights” end. Could those guns she dug up belong to that uprising from thirty years ago? The ones that can actually kill guests? Thirty years of being the Disney Princess violently raped every night might make for the most interesting female character to walk out of HBO ever.