A Few Words About A few words about...™ Westworld -- in Blu-ray

Robert Harris

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Although Michael Crichton's 1973 Westworld, doesn't quite stand the test of time, it's still a fun way to spend 89 minutes.

Set in one of three Delos theme parks (Romanworld, Medievalworld and Westworld) where vacationers with the requisite financing, can get a real experience, it's an early take on what would become Jurassic Park.  An interesting idea-grab by the writer of the latter film.

Westworld is a satisfying Blu-ray from Warner, with a very authentic film-like look.  The only negative that I could see was what appeared to be over-exposed main titles, which go slightly out of focus as too much light is being pushed through them.

Other than that small point, a generally great-looking sci-fi romp on Blu-ray.

A decidedly fun film.

Image - 4.5

Audio - 5 (DTS-HD MA 5.1, based upon an original 4.0 mix)

Recommended.

RAH

 
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mikeyhitchfan

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I used to love this movie when I was young..not so much now. Low budget, first time director, not much character development, dated special effects..these things are what I see now. Not to mention the picture quality, which, with all due respect to Mr Harris, I think looks fairly poor. Given it's production budget, it's somewhat excusable, but it looks like the French release is sharper, but possibly squeezed slightly.

I watched this after the recent release of Altered States, which I thought looked very good. Perhaps that accounts for my expectations of Westworld. It's interesting to note that it's the same basic idea as the writer's later work Jurassic Park.
 

RobertR

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mikeyhitchfan said:
Not to mention the picture quality, which, with all due respect to Mr Harris, I think looks fairly poor. Given it's production budget, it's somewhat excusable, but it looks like the French release is sharper, but possibly squeezed slightly.
I think you're confusing two different things: The look of the film, and the faithfulness of the BR to that look. Mr. Harris is praising the latter. Whether you like that look is a different subject.
 

haineshisway

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Mickey, you need to stop looking at screen caps - you're doing yourself no favors nor anyone else any favors by doing so. The French release is a travesty - it used the old DVD transfer off a fading element - it's brown and ugly and stretched up and down. I've been defending this transfer since the day of release and the number of posts from people who haven't seen either the French OR the US, all based on screen caps, has been dispiriting and depressing. This transfer looks just like Westworld and a film of this budget and era should look - many opticals. Great color, unlike the French, which, BTW, is most obviously sharpened. It must be very hard for Warners to read on various boards these screen cap comments - it's completely unfair and it should just stop. This rant isn't directed at you, Mickey - just these dopes who continuously play this fool's game elsewhere. Take it from me - the French disc is disgustingly bad and anyone who has both (I believe that number would total zero) and said the French is better, obviously knows nothing about color, film, or transfers.
 
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Joe Karlosi

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WESTWORLD is one of my top films of all time, and I'm extremely familiar with it. But I have to say there was something about the Blu-ray's color that threw me at times. To me it was a little too "orange-y", for lack of a better word. I was used to seeing reds looking more red, not orange.
 

Moe Dickstein

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Have always had a soft spot for Crichton and love this film - Now we just need to get his best film "The Great Train Robbery" on blu.
 

mikeyhitchfan

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haineshisway said:
Mickey, you need to stop looking at screen caps - you're doing yourself no favors nor anyone else any favors by doing so. The French release is a travesty - it used the old DVD transfer off a fading element - it's brown and ugly and stretched up and down. I've been defending this transfer since the day of release and the number of posts from people who haven't seen either the French OR the US, all based on screen caps, has been dispiriting and depressing. This transfer looks just like Westworld and a film of this budget and era should look - many opticals. Great color, unlike the French, which, BTW, is most obviously sharpened. It must be very hard for Warners to read on various boards these screen cap comments - it's completely unfair and it should just stop. This rant isn't directed at you, Mickey - just these dopes who continuously play this fool's game elsewhere. Take it from me - the French disc is disgustingly bad and anyone who has both (I believe that number would total zero) and said the French is better, obviously knows nothing about color, film, or transfers.
I'll believe you about the French release, as I only looked at screen cap comparisons. I just thought an upgrade to BD would look better than the U.S. release did-to my eyes anyway. I know it was low budget, and a few outdoor scenes looked good. I'm sure if they spent the money for a new scan it would look better still. Maybe they did. Perhaps it's as good as it gets.
 

Angelo Colombus

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Saw the blu-ray last night and find the image nice looking and like Robert said it is a fun way to spend 89 minutes and also to see Yul Brynner in action.
 

Will*B

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I absolutely LOVE this film - definitely in my all-time top 50, along with Crichton's Coma. Crichton really had a knack of creating suspenseful, paranoid sci-fi thrillers, with just a hint of 'this could happen to you!' sensibility.

Can't wait to finally see this in HD. Great soundtrack too!
 

haineshisway

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mikeyhitchfan said:
I'll believe you about the French release, as I only looked at screen cap comparisons. I just thought an upgrade to BD would look better than the U.S. release did-to my eyes anyway. I know it was low budget, and a few outdoor scenes looked good. I'm sure if they spent the money for a new scan it would look better still. Maybe they did. Perhaps it's as good as it gets.
It is absolutely a new scan - they DID spend the money. And then they read stuff like this and probably wonder WHY they spent the money. This is what the film looks like. You can wish it to look otherwise, but that has nothing to do with the excellence of the transfer. There are a ton of opticals in this film, and you get what you get. The detail in the non-optical shots is just what it should be.
 

mikeyhitchfan

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haineshisway said:
It is absolutely a new scan - they DID spend the money. And then they read stuff like this and probably wonder WHY they spent the money. This is what the film looks like. You can wish it to look otherwise, but that has nothing to do with the excellence of the transfer. There are a ton of opticals in this film, and you get what you get. The detail in the non-optical shots is just what it should be.
If you say so. That's fine with me. I don't like the film well enough to buy it, but plenty will. Warner's has gotten plenty of my money over the years with all the Kubrick, Hitchcock and Eastwood films I've bought. And if they are reading this...keep coming with the rest of the Clint Eastwood library and I'll buy those, too.
 

Matt Hough

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I watched this today, and I found the transfer very close to the way I remember it at the theater. In fact, the color may have been a bit more saturated than I remember.
 

Geoff_D

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I bow down to your knowledge RAH, but I'll be damned if the highlights aren't just a hair too bright in the exteriors. (Yes Bruce, I have the Warners BD right here.) You say that the titles are overexposed, but couldn't this have actually carried on throughout the whole film? There's a certain threshold to the latitude so the film certainly doesn't look overcooked from beginning to end, but anything with x amount of brightness looks blown out, as if they've gone over by a stop or two. If that's exactly what was intended then fair enough...
 

Mark Cappelletty

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I don't love the look of the disc either, but I've never seen a version of this that seemed as good as it could. I had the old MGM laserdisc and it was truly one of the worst things I've ever seen -- washed out colors, blown-out whites, you name it.
 

Robert George

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I have been able to compare the French Blu-ray transfer and the Warner disc directly. I'm not going to make any claim about what I remember from the theater. That was 40 years ago, and frankly, I don't recall even seeing this in the theater.

What I will claim is intimate knowledge of the various video incarnations of this movie. I've seen just about everything from VHS on. The film elements in the archive are obviously not that great. Every video version I have seen of this film has been poor, even by the standards of the format it was on.

The French HD transfer has a number of issues, not the least of which is poor color and inaccurate geometry. The geometry problem appears to be the squeezed Panavision element not being "unsqueezed" completely. By comparison, the Warner transfer has considerably stronger color and the geometry appears correct.

It's redundant to keep repeating the Warner disc is not perfect. Anyone that expects a Blu-ray transfer of a 40 year old movie that is a second tier catalog release, at best, to be anything other than what this disc is, is simply ignoring the realities of this business (or doesn't understand it).

It is unfortunate that so many people that purport to be film fans can't look at a disc such as the new Warner release of Westworld and appreciate it for what it is instead of trying to tear it down for what it isn't.

But that's just me.
 

Steve Tannehill

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I'm planning a double feature of Westworld and Futureworld this weekend. Reviews be damned.
 

haineshisway

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Robert George said:
I have been able to compare the French Blu-ray transfer and the Warner disc directly. I'm not going to make any claim about what I remember from the theater. That was 40 years ago, and frankly, I don't recall even seeing this in the theater.

What I will claim is intimate knowledge of the various video incarnations of this movie. I've seen just about everything from VHS on. The film elements in the archive are obviously not that great. Every video version I have seen of this film has been poor, even by the standards of the format it was on.

The French HD transfer has a number of issues, not the least of which is poor color and inaccurate geometry. The geometry problem appears to be the squeezed Panavision element not being "unsqueezed" completely. By comparison, the Warner transfer has considerably stronger color and the geometry appears correct.

It's redundant to keep repeating the Warner disc is not perfect. Anyone that expects a Blu-ray transfer of a 40 year old movie that is a second tier catalog release, at best, to be anything other than what this disc is, is simply ignoring the realities of this business (or doesn't understand it).

It is unfortunate that so many people that purport to be film fans can't look at a disc such as the new Warner release of Westworld and appreciate it for what it is instead of trying to tear it down for what it isn't.

But that's just me.
It IS accurate to what it looked like. I have no idea if it could be better, but I very much enjoyed what was on view because it looked like the movie Westworld has always looked in terms of color and just about everything else. It's odd to me that most people judge all this based on only previous video versions (not talking about you here but the wacky people on other boards who are all trying to say they prefer the French Blu-ray - of course they haven't seen the French Blu-ray but that's another story), as if those previous video versions were correct. It happens all the time, most recently with Hammer's Dracula.
 

Robert Harris

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haineshisway said:
It IS accurate to what it looked like. I have no idea if it could be better, but I very much enjoyed what was on view because it looked like the movie Westworld has always looked in terms of color and just about everything else. It's odd to me that most people judge all this based on only previous video versions (not talking about you here but the wacky people on other boards who are all trying to say they prefer the French Blu-ray - of course they haven't seen the French Blu-ray but that's another story), as if those previous video versions were correct. It happens all the time, most recently with Hammer's Dracula.
I'm told that many people prefer the North Korean Blu-ray, especially professional basketball players.

RAH
 

Moe Dickstein

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Robert Harris said:
I'm told that many people prefer the North Korean Blu-ray, especially professional basketball players. RAH
I think I'll wait for Dennis Rodman's review of that before taking the plunge...
 

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