Westworld (1973)

DailyView: Day 148, Movie 226

I watched the first season of HBO’s Westworld just like most everyone else did. It was a great TV series that I lost interest in after that opening season. At the time, I was unaware that there was a movie that the show was originally based on. As it is leaving HBO Max this month, I figured this was as good as any time to watch the 1973 sci-fi thriller that lead to the series.

Westworld is one of three vacation locations (along with Medieval World and Roman World) in the high tech amusement park known as Delos. Visitors get an opportunity to live out their fantasies in one of the settings while knowing that they are totally safe. Remarkably realistic robots played the parts of everything else in the world and were programmed to never hurt the guests. However, malfunctions began to ravage the park, allowing the robots to run wild.

I was surprised to see Yul Brynner as one of the gunslinger robots who continued to be involved in the lives of the protagonists, Martin (Richard Benjamin) and Blane (James Brolin). When the Gunslinger becomes the hunter, Westworld really takes off.

While there is not a lot of characterization with the characters, the uncertainty of the story carried the film to a satisfying conclusion.

Directed by Michael Crichton, the premise of Westworld is awesome and the themes of voyeurism and privilege really pop in the film, setting up an even more investigation into them during the series.

This is a nicely paced film that feels like both a Western and a Sci-fi mash-up. It is an engaging movie and it is entertaining to watch.

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