XIXAX Film Forum

Film Discussion => The Small Screen => Topic started by: Jeremy Blackman on July 07, 2016, 09:53:19 PM

Title: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 07, 2016, 09:53:19 PM
Coming in October...



Look at that cast. Could be amazing. It's like The Matrix meets Deadwood meets Lost with a splash of Game of Thrones. Nah, that's too good to be true.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: pete on July 10, 2016, 03:42:12 AM
I really thought for a moment you said "...meets Lost MEETS SPLASH meets Game of Thrones" and I was very very intrigued.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: polkablues on July 10, 2016, 11:41:45 AM
If I watch this and there are no mermaids, I'm holding JB personally responsible.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: 03 on July 10, 2016, 01:10:07 PM
thats the spinoff 'Westwater'
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Reelist on July 10, 2016, 04:36:26 PM
Very clever
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on October 04, 2016, 12:25:45 AM
Anyone else catch the premiere?

My short review: Has potential. Hire better writers, fire 2 or 3 actors, and you could have the DNA of something great. This is quite far from that right now.

Westworld thinks it's a lot smarter than it actually is. I'm coming to this from my Lost re-watch, and this does not fare well in comparison. There is not one kernel of mystery here. I can explain basically everything, because I was given so many explanations. I don't really have any questions or pressing curiosities. That's a really bad sign for a show with this level of ambition...

SPOILERS

You might wonder about Anthony Hopkins's ultimate motivation, but I think he essentially explained that for us. He wants to create a new synthetic evolution that mimics actual evolution, where a single "mistake" (mutation) can lead to a sudden advancement. It should be interesting to see this play out, but I don't think there's anything mysterious or mindblowing about it.

The only real question I can conjure is, what is Ed Harris? A rogue robot? Why are they not examining him? Is he hiding, and if so, how, and why doesn't he appear to be hiding? This corner of Westworld feels like a weird gap, but I'll give it the benefit of the doubt.

So, other than all of that, what's really ruining this show is the staff. The manager lady with the European accent does not work on any level. Replace this actress as soon as humanly possible. She does not competently deliver a single line of dialogue.

Jeffrey Wright is passable. But he has brought nothing to the role so far, except for his endlessly neutral face. Some actors can evoke entire worlds of emotion with the subtlest of micro-expressions. Not Jeffrey Wright. Trust me, DP, you can try all the close-ups you want, you won't find anything there.

Highlights:

- The dad's "meet my maker" speech. More intense/meaningful moments like that, please.
- Ed Harris
- "Black Hole Sun" on the saloon piano
- The whole robbery sequence scored to "Paint It Black." We've got a regular Moulin Rouge over here.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: RegularKarate on October 04, 2016, 09:52:04 AM
I LOVED this pilot. I thought the execution was great and it introduced the world in a clever yet easy to comprehend way. Obviously it's just a pilot so it could easily go south, but I'm looking forward to watching the rest.

I'm coming to this from my Lost re-watch
There is not one kernel of mystery here.

Too many unpopped kernels is what ruined that popcorn. I'll take less mystery and more thought please.*


(*yes, I'm aware we just have a difference in taste when it comes to Lost, I just wanted to say that popcorn thing)
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on October 04, 2016, 10:31:31 AM
At the risk of sounding a bit cheesy, life is mysterious. The universe is mysterious. Shows like this that refuse to reflect that, even while aspiring to be fantastical, feel inert and kind of lifeless to me.

I think Lost answered a few too many questions, actually. Complaints to the contrary are not supported by the content of the show. (We can take this to the Lost thread — I bet I could satisfy most of your curiosities.)
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: RegularKarate on October 04, 2016, 11:20:33 AM
But "What the fuck is Ed Harris?" is plenty mystery for one episode for me. Especially considering the amount of information we were given in this pilot and how entertaining it was despite all the background covered.

As far as Lost is concerned. It's not that I wanted more answers, I wanted the show to give a shit what the answers were. It was a show driven on mystery for the sake of mystery (something I hope Abrams involvement in Westworld doesn't add too much of). I think we've been over that though... again, a matter of taste.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on October 04, 2016, 11:36:36 AM
Yeah, I think it's fair to characterize this as a difference of taste. I did appreciate Ed Harris... just felt like they wasted a lot of potential with the rest of the episode, answering questions almost before they were done asking them.

The acting and writing didn't bother you? Because... yikes. This is definitely not the new Game of Thrones.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: RegularKarate on October 04, 2016, 12:25:56 PM
The acting and writing didn't bother you? Because... yikes. This is definitely not the new Game of Thrones.

The writing didn't bother me because I know that it's a matter of information dump in the pilot and that the dialog for the robots is supposed to sound written. I thought the switch at the beginning was fun and clever so I can't say that I think the writing is bad.

The only actor I didn't really like was the same woman you called out because I kept thinking she was a robot too... though maybe she is?

Jeffrey Wright is Jeffrey Wright. He probably won't ever not be.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on October 04, 2016, 01:14:45 PM
I think we have the same concerns there, just to different degrees. I thought the western dialogue was pretty good, and in general that world is fun. The other half didn't work for me. I bet they have separate crews and directors working on each.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: polkablues on October 04, 2016, 01:43:50 PM
The only real bad writing to my ear was the rooftop conversation between the woman exec and the head writer guy. Honestly, that actor is the only one I'm really concerned about. Sidse Babbet Knudsen will be fine, she's actually an amazing actress who is the last minute replacement for her role (Miranda Otto originally shot the pilot then dropped out). But the guy who plays the head writer is hammy as shit. Jeffrey Wright is bad in his uniquely Jeffrey Wright sort of way, which means sort of actually kind of good? Evan Rachel Wood has been one of the best actors around since she was like 12, this show will actually give her a chance to prove it.

Also, I like the show a lot. I don't share JB's concerns so far.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on October 04, 2016, 01:49:53 PM
Evan Rachel Wood has been one of the best actors around since she was like 12, this show will actually give her a chance to prove it.

I can agree with you there. ERH completely carried Across The Universe, for one. She's always really soulful, which I guess is interesting if she's playing a robot. Lots of potential there.

I wonder what arc they could actually take her on over multiple seasons, though. She's not exactly... human... with human dimensions. Unless the plan is for them to evolve souls or something like that.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: RegularKarate on October 04, 2016, 02:49:06 PM
Unless the plan is for them to evolve souls or something like that.

I can't imagine that not being part of the plan.
Or at least getting them close enough for us to question what a soul is.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: polkablues on October 04, 2016, 03:26:41 PM
Unless the plan is for them to evolve souls or something like that.

I can't imagine that not being part of the plan.
Or at least getting them close enough for us to question what a soul is.

I mean, I'm pretty sure that's the core of the series' theme: at what point does a simulation of consciousness become consciousness?

Side note, but I want to single out my favorite bit of the episode, when Hopkins was drinking with the old-timer robot down in the basement. I don't know what magic combination of performance, makeup, and CGI they used to create that effect, but I thought it was amazing. The most perfect representation of the Uncanny Valley I've ever seen.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: diggler on October 05, 2016, 09:14:21 AM

Side note, but I want to single out my favorite bit of the episode, when Hopkins was drinking with the old-timer robot down in the basement. I don't know what magic combination of performance, makeup, and CGI they used to create that effect, but I thought it was amazing. The most perfect representation of the Uncanny Valley I've ever seen.

That was my favorite scene as well, those movements were remarkable.

I think making the gunslinger character human was a stroke of genius. We're going into this thinking it's a robots gone bad scenario and they've switched the protagonists on us. I'm a little curious about what the outside world is like but I hope this doesn't become a Lost style mystery box. There's plenty to work with story wise without going there. I do have a lot of questions about how the guests don't harm each other or about how bullets work but rather than think about them as plotholes i'd like to think of them as interesting aspects to explore.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: ©brad on October 05, 2016, 11:39:10 AM
Hmm I feel like this needs a better director.

I like the premise and agree this has a lot of potential. Right now it lacks a unique visual point of view. You watch the pilots for Breaking Bad, Mr. Robot, and GoT and they immediately imbue a distinct style that feels grand and different. This feels like CBS doing HBO. I'm not entirely sold on Nolan's direction, who moves the camera like a film student using cranes and dolly shots for the first time. Also the music is banal and unimaginative.

I'm definitely excited to see where it goes though.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on October 07, 2016, 01:11:21 PM
SPOILS

Okay, so it seems obvious in retrospect (and from other reviews I've heard) that Ed Harris is a human visitor. He returns time and time again so he can rape ERW. And now he's going rogue. So that kind of dissolves the one mystery element for me. But his character could still be very interesting. Like a very twisted audience surrogate — we follow him as he discovers the inner workings of Westworld and maybe uncovers secrets etc.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: polkablues on October 07, 2016, 04:24:27 PM
He's like one of those guys who still plays Super Mario 64 just to find all the hidden glitches.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: cronopio2 on October 07, 2016, 05:22:55 PM
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 10, 2016, 04:29:09 PM
Just want to say I'm completely on board. The second episode seemed to answer most of my criticisms, and from there it's been enjoyable to watch.

Not sure if this is going to achieve its full potential as a crazy mystery show. I'm moderating my expectations. But I would love it if some of the theories are true (especially those about separate timelines).

Read It And Weep has a very good/fun episode on the series:

http://read-weep.com/#!/episode.php/westworld
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 13, 2016, 05:43:03 PM
Westworld actors are getting uncomfortable...

Quote
In an unusual move, SAG-AFTRA has notified members that they have the right to withdraw from scenes requiring nudity or participation in “graphic sexual situations” on the set of HBO’s “Westworld.”

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/sag-aftra-westworld-explicit-scenes-1201605884/


This is an excerpt from the original contract:

"By accepting this Project assignment, you may be required to do any of the following: appear fully nude; wear a pubic hair patch; perform genital-to-genital touching; have your genitals painted; simulate oral sex with hand-to-genital touching; contort to form a table-like shape while being fully nude; pose on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back; ride on someone’s back while you are both fully nude; and other assorted acts the Project may require."
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: RegularKarate on November 14, 2016, 05:38:05 PM
spoilers!
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Drenk on November 14, 2016, 05:49:05 PM
Westworld actors are getting uncomfortable...

Quote
In an unusual move, SAG-AFTRA has notified members that they have the right to withdraw from scenes requiring nudity or participation in “graphic sexual situations” on the set of HBO’s “Westworld.”

http://variety.com/2015/tv/news/sag-aftra-westworld-explicit-scenes-1201605884/


This is an excerpt from the original contract:

"By accepting this Project assignment, you may be required to do any of the following: appear fully nude; wear a pubic hair patch; perform genital-to-genital touching; have your genitals painted; simulate oral sex with hand-to-genital touching; contort to form a table-like shape while being fully nude; pose on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back; ride on someone’s back while you are both fully nude; and other assorted acts the Project may require."

This HBO trend is ridiculous; I don't watch Westworld, but I'm always embarrassed by GoT's definition of sex: silly clean soft-porn. Did it begin with True Blood? At least, Alan Ball intended that show to be satiric.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Neil on November 23, 2016, 11:43:22 AM
Spoils.

I've been trying to think about other shows/films that use multiple time lines at the same time, but don't state it outright that you're viewing it as such. I find it to be a very interesting way to tell this particular story. Friend of mine showed me the following photo, along with some logo comparisons that seem to imply the passing of time.

(https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-OsrEJsxgmQw/WDRLusTESSI/AAAAAAAABHE/bTdc6_t8zeoUMg1KAoWAv9gOXpdcry-CQCL0B/h426/2016-11-22.jpg)
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 23, 2016, 01:12:40 PM
It does seem even clearer now that there are multiple timelines. And that the guy adventuring with Dolores is the man in black, which I guess has been obvious for 2 or 3 episodes. There was a specific detail about his marriage in this last ep that makes this a perfect match.

Here's what confuses me, though. We see the behind-the-scenes operations side on a single timeline. Throughout this season, they've commented on specific hosts' misbehavior, interviewed them after key events, or even intervened directly. Was half of that really complete misdirection, and does it even hold together?

Robert Ford said something that should theoretically help us with that — He said that hosts will now and again go astray, i.e. it's been an ongoing thing. Still, I can't imagine things line up properly. If they do, this is a truly brilliant show.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: RegularKarate on November 23, 2016, 02:37:50 PM
Yeah, the multiple timelines thing seemed really far fetched when I first heard it suggested a few episodes ago, but at this point it seems pretty clear.
I think it's possible that William being the Man in Black is misdirection, but there are definitely multiple timelines.
I just hope people stop talking about the fucking maze. It's got JJ Abrams stink all over it.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 23, 2016, 03:36:30 PM
They seemed to define the maze a little more clearly in the last episode. I don't remember who delivered that line, but it kinda sounds like it might end up being a metaphor (for becoming conscious). Hopefully not.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Tictacbk on November 29, 2016, 11:04:55 AM
And then everyone rewatched the entire season.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on November 29, 2016, 07:30:07 PM
And then everyone rewatched the entire season.

For sure. That episode was dizzying in such a wonderful way.

This is what fascinates me most right now. Given Ford's apparent omnipotence, he must be aware of what Maeve is doing, right? Is she perhaps even the centerpiece of his "new narrative"? And is that narrative more meta than we realized? Also, I would bet he's built some kind of backdoor in Maeve, as with Clementine.

I think Westworld is still a little rough around the edges, but I honestly don't care. I don't demand perfection from everything; ambition is more important. We can't take shows like this for granted.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on December 05, 2016, 02:12:56 AM
Yes, yes, yes. This is exactly the kind of finale I wanted. Audacity above all else. That's the show's strength; good that they're sticking with it.

(SPOILS)

A hat brim wipe is always good, but the MIB reveal seemed both overdue and really dumbed down. In GoT, all they had to do was cut from baby Jon's face to adult Jon's face. But this reveal was the equivalent of having Lyanna be like "and you must name him Jon!"

I guess the episode really won me over once I heard that beautiful arrangement of "Exit Music." Everything that followed felt so wonderfully apocalyptic. The last show that accomplished that feeling for me was The Leftovers. It's actually a rare skill that needs to be appreciated. Pulling that off at the end of your first season, no less... not bad.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: polkablues on December 05, 2016, 03:35:20 AM
ALSO SPOILERS

I'm really impressed by the way that even though basically every fan theory ended up proving true, it never felt like a letdown when you had that moment of confirmation. Everything was so elegantly laid out, so earned, that even though you knew what the puzzle was going to look like, it still felt satisfying every time a piece clicked into place.

They had one great misdirection up their sleeve, though, and they pulled it out just at the right time. The realization that Maeve's awakening was a red herring all along, that every moment of supposed free will she thought she was experiencing was just a programming trick, that she was never more than a pawn in someone else's endgame. Heartbreaking. And it calls into question every future instance of apparent independent consciousness. The show is taking great pains to make the point that everyone, not just the hosts, is merely playing their part in a story much greater than themselves. I think, moving forward, the core question of the series becomes less "can a robot exhibit free will?" and more "is there such thing as free will?" And then the issue shifts from whether or not a robot can become like a person to whether or not there's a fundamental difference between the two in the first place.

And yeah, the piano/violin version of "Exit Music" was absolute perfection.
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: jonas on December 06, 2016, 09:08:05 AM
SPOILERS

Not much to add on what's above, thought the finale was really well done. The last 3 episodes really brought the first season home for me.

Wyatt = Dolores was a nice surprise, but the big one for me was Samurai World!! (or Shogun World?) There was talk when the series started if they would have any other parks and they never really hinted at that until now.

Will have to wait until 2018 for S2 though  :yabbse-sad:
Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Jeremy Blackman on July 23, 2017, 01:03:02 AM
Seems a little spoilery to me, but it's good:


Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: Fernando on May 20, 2019, 12:53:03 PM
This looks good

Title: Re: Westworld
Post by: WorldForgot on March 16, 2020, 10:02:26 AM
Wow - with Aaron Paul's character introduced we've now entered Philip K Dick arenas of themez in earnest. While previously I found the sci-fi was a pulp-vessel toward existential drama, now there are details of LA + citizen commerce that illuminate tech as coping mechanism beyond the "theme park" retreat.