I’ve seen Michael Crichton‘s Westworld (’73) seven or eight times if not more, and I’m ready to pop for the French Bluray (i.e., Mondwest) right now. It’s an agreeable but far-from-great scifi thriller that looks low-budgety and has no mind-blowing effects or breathtaking action scenes even. It’s just a lot of basic exposition and half-comedic scenes in a fake old-west town with Richard Benjamin, James Brolin and Yul Brynner.
Why, then, do I like Westworld so much? Because it’s first-rate comfort food with a cool concept, and because you can see the revolt of the robots coming from a mile away and it doesn’t matter because it’s fun to just chill and watch stuff happen. And because Brynner’s gunslinger is a trip, and on a certain level a sympathetic figure. You’re half-rooting for him and his fellow slave revolting robots at the end because they aren’t taking any more shit from rich assholes any more.
Brynner’s badass cyborg is a seminal Hollywood figure, of course — the stylistic and technological forerunner of Cameron and Schwarzenegger‘s Terminator.
The question is why hasn’t Westworld been remade? I would be there in a New York minute if they did. The hook could be that the tourists are metaphors for the most loathed and despised — the Goldman Sachs guys, one-percenters, Kardashians –and the robots are metaphors for the Occupy protestors. Or something like that.
Westworld is basically Jurassic Park with super-realistic robots and fleshbots. It was briefly a shitty TV show in the early ’80s but otherwise it’s been a dormant concept for 30 years, which means that GenY and even younger GenX haven’t a clue. I would love to see this again, and think of how much more more intense it could be with the right FX and a little restraint. It’s a piece about base impulses and repressed hungers, which is to say a piece about who and what we really are.