AN EMPIRE OF WORDS

Westworld (1973)

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Welcome to Westworld, one of three getaway resorts invented for our pleasure by Delos Company. Westworld, Romanworld and Medievalworld are three vacation spots available for $1000 per day, to live out your indulgent fantasies.

Westworld is a wonderfully bizarre trip undertaken by Peter (Richard Benjamin) and John (James Brolin) who venture to Delos’ much famed vacation paradise. Peter becomes swept up in this bizarre world solely inhabited by androids and the only other humans are vacationers. These androids are indistinguishable to other humans, which allows vacationers to indulge in their greatest fantasies, even to the extremes.

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From the mind of Michael Crichton, whom is known for writing Jurassic Park and Twister, indulges not only the vacationers but the viewer with great sets of a old American styled Western town, Pompeii and the medieval castle.

Not only the great sets used, but Crichton creates throughly entertaining scenes, most notably, the bar fight scene in which everyone runs amok as bottles are smashed, chairs are thrown and people are put through tables.

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Naturally when a film involves science-fiction and the idea of artificial intelligence that can thrive in a world with us, there is always, always, always something bound to go wrong. This is broken down as the back-room staff in the Delos Company state that there seems to be virus strain that is infecting the robots and interrupting the circuitry.

The androids in question are so lifelike at points I was questioning who could be an android or who could simply be a vacationer at Westworld. This even goes down to the animals in a ‘turning-point’ scene where John is bitten by a Rattlesnake which I thought would’ve been a real snake, but turned out to be an android gone haywire.

It has the be said though, there are some flaws from the 1973 directorial feature film debut of Crichton as there is a clear to the eye ‘three-act’ structure maintained with Peter, our protagonist. It shows Peter being unsure of Westworld and not understanding it, then Peter succumbing to the charm of the vacation and then of course being hunted by Gunslinger in the finale.

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That being said, Westworld does make for a rather enjoyable watch all things considering. The effects for the 1970s are simply outstanding, mainly embodied by Brynner’s Gunslinger character, but the outstanding sets that were built for the film are also excellent.

The ‘three-act’ structure does slow the pace of the film down as it is quite recognisable between the acts, but the ‘thrilling’ part of the film is showcased in the final act in the showdown. Checking in with a run-time of 88 minutes though the film is fine for what it does and is rather entertaining.

I recently have learned that the film is set to be adapted into a mini-series. Now this could be tempting to watch as the film’s effects for the seventies are outstanding and with modern day effects at their disposal, the mini-series could look even more sublime.

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Author: Nathan Harris

Currently studying Film & Television studies and Media Writing at Derby University. Hopefully wanting to become a film critic/journalist.

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