Westworld

Discussion of Science Fiction motifs, symbols and allegory.
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Djchrismac
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Westworld

Post by Djchrismac » Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:20 pm

After delaying advice from a few friends who had been telling me to watch this for some time now, I finally decided to see what Westworld was all about... now I also know why I waited so long to do so as it turns out that it covers a lot of recent discussions on the fora about AI, virtual worlds, the matrix, playing god, video games and much more.

I assume nobody else has watched it or there would have been a topic on it already. It's a bit like Red Dead Redemption crossed with Blade Runner and Groundhog Day, that might sound a bit crazy but it works very well.

I'm only 4 episodes in so far but it is gripping stuff and raises lots of moral questions throughout regarding evolution and consciousness, programming and manipulation, power and control, right and wrong. I don't want to give too much away for the benefit of those who have yet to watch it but I highly recommend it.

Some of the humour is really good, such as modern songs being used as a piano track in a saloon. The characters and actors have been excellent so far too, with the classic mysterious man in black who is chasing some other agenda providing a lot of intrigue.

I'll leave you with this quote from Anthony Hopkins from the second episode...


"Everything in this world is magic, except to the magician."
Jones: [looks at Sallah] You said their headpiece only had markings on one side, are you absolutely sure? [Sallah nods] Belloq's staff is too long.
Jones and Sallah: They're digging in the wrong place!

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Re: Westworld

Post by daniel » Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:27 pm

I saw the original film back in 1973; did not know they revived it and made it into a series.
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Re: Westworld

Post by Djchrismac » Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:02 am

daniel wrote:
Sat Nov 24, 2018 5:27 pm
I saw the original film back in 1973; did not know they revived it and made it into a series.
Somehow the original film passed me by which is unusual as I liked most good sci-fi and obscure movies when I was younger but a friend who's seen both says it is well worth a watch and also recommends the new series as do I.

We're still only 4 episodes in but lots has happened so far and we should manage to watch a few more later this week.
Jones: [looks at Sallah] You said their headpiece only had markings on one side, are you absolutely sure? [Sallah nods] Belloq's staff is too long.
Jones and Sallah: They're digging in the wrong place!

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Re: Westworld

Post by Djchrismac » Tue Jan 22, 2019 10:53 am

I finished watching this the other day and it's fantastic, well worth watching. I had heard a few people moan about series 2 but I thought it was just as good as the first. A brief look indicates that those who didn't like it found it forced them to think too much(!) but really it was quite easy to follow if you paid attention, which is no doubt the root of the problem for the current generation, no attention span.

It's hard to discuss without giving away many spoilers so i'll leave this here until others have had a chance to watch it. I have to say I am probably on the side of the Hosts more than anyone, their situation seems very similar to our current one.

A brilliant story, lots of twists, great characters and acting with brilliant direction and memorable scenes, highly recommended.
Jones: [looks at Sallah] You said their headpiece only had markings on one side, are you absolutely sure? [Sallah nods] Belloq's staff is too long.
Jones and Sallah: They're digging in the wrong place!

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Re: Westworld

Post by Ilkka » Wed Jan 30, 2019 3:04 pm

Just finished season one, about to start second soon.

Series called "Humans" had this type of thing, "the creator makes conscious AI prototypes". Same here only a bit different since these ones need some time to learn, from memory fragments and what not. So memory wipes dont work on them like they should. I did think of Battlestar Galactica and Caprica as well a bit.

It is quite interesting to see where it goes in season 2, have to wait for season 3 for another year or something like that, though. I'll be back to give my opinions.
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Re: Westworld

Post by Arcelius » Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:12 pm

I am only 4 episodes into the first season and am finding it much more interesting than most anything else on TV. Thanks for the recommendation!

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Re: Westworld

Post by Djchrismac » Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:43 pm

Arcelius wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:12 pm
I am only 4 episodes into the first season and am finding it much more interesting than most anything else on TV. Thanks for the recommendation!
You're welcome Arcelius, i'm looking forward to hearing what you think about it.
Jones: [looks at Sallah] You said their headpiece only had markings on one side, are you absolutely sure? [Sallah nods] Belloq's staff is too long.
Jones and Sallah: They're digging in the wrong place!

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Re: Westworld

Post by Ilkka » Mon Feb 11, 2019 11:17 am

I found a funny catch phrase from this show. "Freeze all motor functions!".

The finale of season 2 after the end credits, made me more curious to see how they continue this show. Don't wanna spoil it from others who might read this and haven't seen season 2 yet.
I think I got the jist of it just now, the writers/creators of the show are thinking ahead obviously because I was lagging behind while watching. They are smart and I can see some variations of how the story would go on in the next season. It is quite simple big storyline that repeats itself, thats one for that one main character, that you will see in the fore mentioned last episode of season 2 after end credits.
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Re: Westworld

Post by Arcelius » Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:00 pm

Djchrismac wrote:
Sat Feb 09, 2019 3:43 pm
Arcelius wrote:
Sun Feb 03, 2019 3:12 pm
I am only 4 episodes into the first season and am finding it much more interesting than most anything else on TV. Thanks for the recommendation!
You're welcome Arcelius, i'm looking forward to hearing what you think about it.
Spoiler ahead for those who don't want to read them. I have finished watching the first season only. I do have a copy of the original movie and thought I would watch that next (just hasn't happened yet). So, the below is based on the first season.

There are a number of parallels drawn between different things in the series. For example, how Arnold chooses to die and why is basically the same way that Robert does later on (the 2 people who created Westworld). Robert's grand narrative with sweeping changes hides many things that get uncovered as things progress. I'm a bit disappointed that Elsie ends up dead. She is curious and independently discovers much of what is going on but never has a chance to let anyone know. I would have liked to have seen that rewarded though it does provide some catalyst for Bernard towards the end.

In the earlier episodes, Arnold (though shown as Bernard) is seen having secret conversations with Delores and then, later on, Robert and Bernard have very similar conversations. Things like asking the other not to tell anyone about them. When others have this kind of conversation with one of the residents when something happens that shouldn't (e.g. they see a picture of a modern city, they have a conversation around someone taking a person part/trophy home to mount on their car, etc.), they usually ask them whether this causes them to question the foundation of their reality. They are programmed to ignore certain things ("They do not see the things that would help them. I have spared them that." Robert) as though sparing them the burden of consciousness was a good thing ("Free, under my control" Robert). At the same time, other people simply ignore the signs that independent consciousness may be developing and think that perhaps they should be dumbed down so they will only do what they are told and nothing else. People like Sylvester and Felix get caught in the middle because they know that Maeve is not behaving as she should and yet have no idea what to do about it. Sylvester represents the response of hiding that evidence and pretending that everything is normal. Felix takes the other stance of being more curious and helping things along. Maeve calls him a terrible human because he does so while most everyone else has the Sylvester response.

Unfortunately, William's transformation from "white" hat to "black" hat is glossed over. I think more time should have been spent on that. I do wonder what happened to Logan (if he died in the park, there would have been an investigation but there is no mention of either event nor what Logan may have done if he exited the park). William represents the ultimate fulfillment of the park, that is, what comes after satisfying every desire (everything normally prohibited by law or by a functioning conscience which he seems to have at the beginning though in hindsight, it is probably just a fear of seeing himself as he is). Logan (STS) comes to realize that the person (William) he thought he could or was controlling had broken out from beneath him and had taken over. In a way, Logan does seduce William before he is surpassed. In the end though, William is looking for something beyond self-understanding but the maze is not designed for humans and when he discovers the maze he is greatly disappointed. William seems like a child that never truly grew up (e.g. look at his temper-tantrum when the maze is discovered and it is meaningless to him).

Then there is the part of the story which sees the park as a business venture only; a product that (rich) people will spend money on. This is the initial presentation before the other themes are shown. It comes back though with the board trying to access the intellectual property of the park and take over. Another person (Angela) dies in this story line as a blood sacrifice. William (Chairman of the Board) doesn't really care because he is trying to find the maze so it seems that other board members are pushing this and to get Robert removed (too independent and can't be controlled). They also represent the status quo; keep everything running the way is always has and change nothing. Then people will continue to come and pay money. Even there, they want to simplify things so it will be easier (costs less) to maintain and run the park resulting in more profit. Dreams versus profit.

Delores (an original resident of Westworld or perhaps the oldest resident) seems to represent the awakening of the normal residents. Maeve is deliberately altered to move things along but nothing is mentioned about Delores in that way (beyond the reveries change affecting the everyone). She displays evidence of being able (at times) to remember multiple lives and is not able to quite put things together. Whether she does or not at the end of Season 1 isn't fully disclosed though the residents are clearly well on their way to taking over the park (whatever that may mean in Season 2). At the very least, by the end, she seems more willing to face some hard truths and continue to move forward. Perhaps without the frequent mind wipes, she may be successful. In a strange twist, Maeve returns to the park (technically before leaving). I thought it would have been more interesting to see how she survives in the "real world". She is in a good position to assist the fellow residents though, or at least, take over some of its functions.

There are many other things but those are the ones that I remember now (I finished watching a week or so ago). Some of them might include having a hidden resident working outside the park who doesn't know he is a resident. This includes having a "loving" (left to interpretation) relationship with a human. Some of the assumptions that the security people had with respect to the residents and their behaviour which ended up making them very vulnerable. I liked the one where the cost of them was reason enough not to damage them even though they were behaving like homicidal maniacs and had already killed a number of people (reminded me of Jurassic Park in that respect). Robert recreating his family in the park seemed strange to me though and I'm not sure why that was part of the story.

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Re: Westworld

Post by Ilkka » Mon Feb 18, 2019 4:35 pm

Arcelius wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 2:00 pm
Robert recreating his family in the park seemed strange to me though and I'm not sure why that was part of the story.
An experiment, just to see how well he could copy/recreate a human mind into an artificial body, personal challenge of sorts perhaps. That was my first thought of it when I saw it. The second season will answer some of your questions and thoughts above.

Logan's fate was in my mind also when I finished the first season, since he just like disappeared from the scenes after William left him bound on a horse. But it is told in second season what happened to him, which gave conclusion to his story.
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Re: Westworld

Post by Djchrismac » Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:35 am

I'm glad you are enjoying it Arcelius, you'll love season 2.

I watched the original Westworld Movie last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can see what inspired the series writers, directors and producers. The original man in black is one creepy fellow!

You can download or watch it on archive.org:

https://archive.org/details/Westworld1973_201810

The movie Westworld also felt much a more believable theme park than the series, probably because it was solid and not subject to CGI environmental and landscape changes at the whim of the park's creators.

It was also a lot of fun enjoying the 1970's sets, especially massive desks with loads of buttons and switches on the consoles and large screens but with tiny monitors showing vector graphics. Having grown up with this classic sci-fi instead of CGI I know which one I prefer. :)

Image
Jones: [looks at Sallah] You said their headpiece only had markings on one side, are you absolutely sure? [Sallah nods] Belloq's staff is too long.
Jones and Sallah: They're digging in the wrong place!

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Re: Westworld

Post by Ilkka » Thu Mar 21, 2019 3:22 pm

Djchrismac wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:35 am
Having grown up with this classic sci-fi instead of CGI I know which one I prefer. :)
I prefer classic as well instead of CGI, mainly because you still can differentiate if its CGI or not. Tech is improving there is no question about that though.
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Re: Westworld

Post by Arcelius » Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:05 pm

Djchrismac wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:35 am
I'm glad you are enjoying it Arcelius, you'll love season 2.
I've finished watching Season 2 (and the original movie) and find out that the next series comes out next year. The waiting begins.
Djchrismac wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:35 am
I watched the original Westworld Movie last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can see what inspired the series writers, directors and producers. The original man in black is one creepy fellow!
I watched it with my wife. I liked it though she did not (she typically doesn't like older films due to poor special effects). The man in black (Yul Brynner) has actually played in a number of westerns so his role here seems very appropriate (perhaps you have seen the original The Magnificent Seven? As himself on WestWorld [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY_FrRUSX88[/youtube])
Djchrismac wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:35 am
The movie Westworld also felt much a more believable theme park than the series, probably because it was solid and not subject to CGI environmental and landscape changes at the whim of the park's creators.
Also, the same could be said for the park administration areas such as real corridors that go on and on and then a turn (again and again). It gives the real sense that this place is massive, much more so than the new show. As well, the movie starts with the idea that there are multiple "worlds" out there for differing tastes. Season 2 shows this a bit and I wonder if much more will come out in the next Season.
Djchrismac wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 7:35 am
It was also a lot of fun enjoying the 1970's sets, especially massive desks with loads of buttons and switches on the consoles and large screens but with tiny monitors showing vector graphics. Having grown up with this classic sci-fi instead of CGI I know which one I prefer. :)
In the TV series Sanctuary, there is an artifact that is found and when they activate it, it has a fully tactile user interface. For example, there is a steam train engine pulling some cars that threads through the interface. Big Guy/Bigfoot puts his hand on it and it stops until it is released.

On another note, the classic sci-fi required actors/actresses who could actually act well rather than let a series progress more on the special effects/CGI. Anyone watch Sapphire and Steel?

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Re: Westworld

Post by Djchrismac » Tue Apr 09, 2019 5:37 pm

Arcelius wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:05 pm
I've finished watching Season 2 (and the original movie) and find out that the next series comes out next year. The waiting begins.
Same here, we really enjoyed season 2 and having the original movie to watch after that was even better.
Arcelius wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:05 pm
I watched it with my wife. I liked it though she did not (she typically doesn't like older films due to poor special effects). The man in black (Yul Brynner) has actually played in a number of westerns so his role here seems very appropriate (perhaps you have seen the original The Magnificent Seven? As himself on WestWorld [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XY_FrRUSX88[/youtube])
Ha it was the opposite with my other half, she thought the older film was a more believavle theme park world, but then we were both born around the mid 1970's so those effects were the norm for us. I guess us older folks just prefer something solid acting a character or as an effect instead of CGI, of which some of the older stuff (or newer B-Movie style horrors) is so bad it's more like a cartoon.

Thanks for the video link, Yul Brynner was a brilliant choice, there is something almost robotic in his mannerisms and he played the role down to a tee.
Arcelius wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:05 pm
Also, the same could be said for the park administration areas such as real corridors that go on and on and then a turn (again and again). It gives the real sense that this place is massive, much more so than the new show. As well, the movie starts with the idea that there are multiple "worlds" out there for differing tastes. Season 2 shows this a bit and I wonder if much more will come out in the next Season.
Yeah that was good, the start too with the long journey across the park. The corridor scene reminded me of some of the first computer adventure games on the BBC micro and Macintosh where you would have to physically map out or draw your route so as not to get lost, or find out from a friend what the order was to escape such as north-north-east-north-west-north-north-east.

The different theme park worlds are actually quite boring, where's Mythology World? The Demons, the Giants, the Monsters oh my! The Delos scenes were also gripping and I really enjoyed them, something about an angry sweary Scot on screen can make something much more real for me. :D

I'm also intrigued about where season 3 will go and suspect more will continue to be made of Bernard who I think is the most fascinating character by far, much more "human" than Deloris. I really enjoyed how season 2 revolved around him even if others didn't.
Arcelius wrote:
Thu Mar 21, 2019 4:05 pm
In the TV series Sanctuary, there is an artifact that is found and when they activate it, it has a fully tactile user interface. For example, there is a steam train engine pulling some cars that threads through the interface. Big Guy/Bigfoot puts his hand on it and it stops until it is released.

On another note, the classic sci-fi required actors/actresses who could actually act well rather than let a series progress more on the special effects/CGI. Anyone watch Sapphire and Steel?
I've not seen either of those, TV time is a rarity these days save from the occasional good series, old movie or interesting documentary/podcast. I'm so glad I watched Westworld though, one of the rare productions that takes it time to get things right and doesn't mind getting delayed, it makes a big difference.
Jones: [looks at Sallah] You said their headpiece only had markings on one side, are you absolutely sure? [Sallah nods] Belloq's staff is too long.
Jones and Sallah: They're digging in the wrong place!

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