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Westworld (HBO)

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Adam Lenhardt, Aug 9, 2015.

  1. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Producer

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    As a fan of the original film, I have to say I am completely in love with this show. Very true to the source material. The best pilot episode of a show I have seen since "Dexter" so many years ago. Brilliant.
     
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  2. Hollywoodaholic

    Hollywoodaholic Edge of Glory?

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    I enjoyed the show and it looked fantastic, but the them of androids or man-made robots becoming self-aware sentient beings is a pretty tired motif in the SF that existed long before Blade Runner or I, Robot came along. I hope this theme is not the driving or continuing mythology of the series. I would actually prefer if it were more like an anthology, where each episode is like it's own short story of a guest experience in the park. Harris' character is too obviously a renegade host.

    I also notice they specifically never mention this takes place on Earth, and there was a visual reference to Delos, so I'm wondering if there will ultimately be other sci-fi elements to this show.
     
  3. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    On a related note, in a recent interview, Nolan revealed how the guns work. The official HBO Westworld website has the in-show release form that supports what Nolan said.

    Basically, to summarize the interview/release form, the guns work like this:

    The bullets are simunitions like real life training rounds. They hit you and sting like being hit with a paintball, but don't really hurt. When they strike a host, the host reacts as though it were struck by a live round.

    Here's a link to the interview (warning, some may consider these spoiling future reveals).
     
  4. SamT

    SamT Producer

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    It was a nice episode. 8/10. I imagine they spent more money on this than the movie? Yet, the old movie looks more cinematic and mysterious in atmosphere. The late night removal of bodies with those huge lights was more eerie in the movie.

    The story in this new series looks very interesting and engaging and I was not bored for one second. Didn't look at my watch. However as I said I think they failed in creating or showing an eerie atmosphere. It looks like an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation.
     
  5. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    The music wowed me, especially the translation of modern songs into Western instrumental scores. I found myself humming along to "Paint It Black"; it took the first verse and refrain to figure out it was a song I knew, and then another round through to make the leap to the Rolling Stones. What a great sequence. I was thrilled to learn that Ramin Djawadi is the composer on this. I loved his work on Nolan's previous series "Person of Interest" and he's already at home with HBO since he does "Game of Thrones".

    I'm expecting him to be someone very powerful, either a titan of industry on the Delos board or a senator or even the president. Someone who can afford to basically live in Westworld for long enough to dig past the surface.

    The reason I don't think he's a host is because Teddy wasn't able to shoot him down. The show can certainly find ways around that, but there'd have to be a degree of programming to make him identify to the other hosts as a human. The fact that the park managers were aware of Teddy's situation and unconcerned leads me to believe he's just a VIP.

    Agreed.

    The exciting thing for me is that it feels in many ways like a thematic sequel to "Person of Interest": That show ended with the first sentient artificial intelligence, albeit in a drastically different form. This show begins with the first sentient artificial intelligence, and asks what comes next once they're here.

    I was very critical of some of the rape scenes in "Game of Thrones", but the rape scenes here essential to the story being told: What is agency? Who has rights? What qualifies as a "who"? The key to the success of exploring this theme is embracing the ambiguity, finding the middle road between the "Terminator"-esque distopia and some of the more utopian visions. In many ways, it's like first contact with an alien species. At the same time, it might be like homo erectus making way for homo sapiens: Like picking up with the final act of A.I.: Artificial Intelligence and then continuing from there.

    Agreed about the look, by the way; when we do get a Western these days, it seems like they're always trying to capture the look of Westerns in their prime, whether that's the painterly beauty of John Ford or the grit of Sergio Leone. This show photographs the Western scenes in the same antiseptic way as the behind-the-curtain scenes. No faux-film grain, no softness or narrow focus. Everything is clean and razor sharp.

    I kind of hope that we never get more than hints about the "real" world outside the park. Whether it's a near future that's virtually indistinguishable from now or a conceived vision of the future that ventures into the fantastic, it'll date the show as a product of 2016. If we only see the workshop and Westworld, with the outside world a mystery, it could hold up as well decades from now as it does now, since there's no contemporary reference point.

    I do hope we get glimpses of the other parks, like Medievalworld, Romanworld and Futureworld.
     
  6. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    There is also a non-zero chance that it wasn't a rape at all, but another of the Man in Black's "experiments" to find out more about the "next level" of the game (although maybe it was both...).
     
  7. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Lead Actor

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    I was a huge fan of PoI; particularly its themes dealing with the emergence of AIS entities. So yeah, I agree with the notion of it being a thematic sequel. I was very happy to hear that Nolan was affiliated with this show when it was first announced way back when. Ramin Djawadi's involvement is a nice bonus. Now if we can get guest appearances from Michael Emerson, et al then that would be the icing on the cake. :)

    - Walter.
     
  8. trevanian

    trevanian Stunt Coordinator

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    Not getting your faux-film grain ref given this is a show originated on 35mm. Presumably there IS grain in the image, and I'd hope they make sure post doesn't smear it into looking like digital noise.
     
  9. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    I'm trying to watch this show, but I have to be in a certain mood to get through this concept. I'm not a huge fan of AI/Robot storylines.
     
  10. MarkMel

    MarkMel Screenwriter

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    I started watching, I was tired and kept falling asleep, not the fault of the show. So I think I only saw pieces of the show which added up to a very confused viewer. Then I read some reviews of the show and the show they reviewed was not what I interpreted. I think I need to go and rewatch. ;-)
     
  11. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Founder
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    Great show. Just finished watching it moments ago.

    Let's start with a spoiler...

    I loved the way that they were able to initially fool the viewer as to who was human and who was not. We are first introduced to the arriving traveler who meets the girl who drops the canned good on the ground. When Ed Harris enters the picture, we find out that the traveler is not human, but a host. That was a great twist.

    I do agree with the fact there isn't the kind of "eerie" atmosphere I would have expected. However, the production values and storytelling are first-rate to that point that I am completely hooked and looking forward to where this goes.

    It has been a long time since I committed myself to a series. I just don't have the time anymore to watch. However, I am hoping I made a good investment with my time in Westworld
     
  12. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Lead Actor

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    Re-watched the first episode and I've changed my mind regarding the nature of The Man In Black. The narration by Jeffrey Wright (interviewing Dolores) that plays while TMIB confronts Dolores and Teddy, and Harris' dialog about paying too much money for it to be 'easy' makes me think he is a human and that his purpose for being there relates to uncovering what is mentioned in a later scene in the premiere. (The female executive is telling the writer that he is smart enough to know something is going on, but not smart enough to figure out what it is.)

    I still maintain that beyond the guns there have to be other protection mechanisms for the newcomers (i.e. humans). We know that the hosts are sort of 'lifeguards' but that seems to imply some form of recognition of newcomer vs. host and if Harris is indeed human then I am really surprised that Teddy was able to attack his character. Programming the hosts to react to non-lethal guns is one thing, but what about knives, rocks, fists, ax handles, clubs, etc? Of course, he didn't physically attack Harris and went passive when the gun failed to kill him, so maybe that is part of the protocol?

    Looking forward to how this unfolds in the coming weeks.

    - Walter.
     
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  13. Brian L

    Brian L Producer

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    I suspect that the question of "Who's a Newcomer, and who's a Host" is going to be a common thread throughout the entire run of the series, and that in some cases, it may never be revealed.
     
  14. todd s

    todd s Lead Actor

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    So it looks like the country girl is taking the mantle of Yul Brenner's character from the original.
     
  15. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    What I was getting at is that they're not trying to replicate the look of old Westerns. From what I've read, they shot a good portion of the pilot on Kodak 5245, which is a sharp, fine-grained high-contrast film stock.
     
  16. Josh Dial

    Josh Dial Producer

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    Okay, but I still have to disagree with your earlier comment that the Westworld scenes shared the same antiseptic look of the "real world." To my eyes, Westworld was distinctively orange-pushed, while the real world was teal-pushed; Westworld had noticeable grain (though I'll allow it was fine grain, and nowhere near the "classic" look), while the real world looked scrubbed.

    I don't think Westworld looked antiseptic at all, and while the vistas weren't lifted directly out of a John Ford-esque Monument Valley shot, they still captured part of the western look and feel. In fact, I would argue that the establishing shots were specifically "just off" from the Ford look to elicit a similar "off" feeling in the viewers. Warm, but not inviting?
     
  17. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    You're closer to what I was trying to express than I was able to get; it's a palette of "warm" colors -- reds and oranges and yellows and browns and analog lighting -- but it's sharp and clear and high contrast. Even though, as you pointed out, the behind-the-scenes settings have a completely different palette -- of grays and blues contrasted with the occasional blood red, under fluorescent lighting -- they're also sharp and clear and high contrast. So that it felt to me of one piece in a way that frustrates any inclination I might have to buy into the reality of Westworld.
     
  18. Joe Bernardi

    Joe Bernardi Supporting Actor

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    Where are they? The directors up high watching little critters down below.
     
  19. Walter Kittel

    Walter Kittel Lead Actor

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    We have no idea where the Delos installation is located; although I believe that it is safe to assume that it is somewhere in the Western U.S. (Filming locations for the series include, as per IMDB, Monument Valley, AZ and Moab, UT.) One of the questions about the series is whether or not we will ever see the world outside of Delos/WestWorld. The only glimpse we have been given so far is from the photograph that Pete Abernathy stumbles upon.

    We know that it is not a virtual reality environment (otherwise why all the physical production) and unless they have perfected the technology to miniaturize the entirety of the setting, including guests to the park :) that it takes place in a 'real' physical setting that they own and operate. The entire valley and closeups that we see the production team hovering around are a virtualization of the real world enabling the WestWorld production team to monitor in real time the status of the amusement park. At least that seems logical to me. Of course we don't know how, or if, The Man In Black is evading detection of stepping outside the bounds of the game.

    - Walter.
     
  20. Stan

    Stan Producer

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    Okay, here it goes. Once again I'm taking the contrarian approach. Was really looking forward to this, but also kept falling asleep. :D I found it to be extremely boring, and Ed Harris is one of my favorite actors. I'll try a few more episodes, but it better improve fast or the DVR opens up some free space for something else.

    We're all allowed to politely express our opinions, mine just happens to be the opposite of about 99% of the other posters.
     

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