The inhabitants of Westworld are about to decide exactly how they want to live their lives...and it's not as target practice for the rich newcomers.
By Anna May
I have two words for you. Yul and Brynner. Yes, yes…I know he was in The King and I. However, he also starred very admirably in many other films, including the 1973 movie, Westworld. No meaner android could you ever hope to meet…or maybe not want to meet, in this case.
I cannot deny, I think Brynner’s portrayal of the rogue gunslinger who ran amok throughout the original film, gave Michael Crichton’s futuristic sci-fi thriller all it needed to be remembered as the cult movie it eventually became.
However, can Crichton's concept of visually perfected humanoid machines, built purely to be shamed, shot at and shagged, really be stretched to fill an entire series? After all, it was already tried in 1980. A series called Beyond Westworld was created that saw a villainous scientist seek to use the lifelike robots as a means to take over the world. Sadly, the series was axed after only a few episodes were aired, due to low ratings.
So, without further ado, here we have the most gorgeous Anthony Hopkins as the dark and thoughtful Dr Robert Ford, in a brand spanking new TV series that’s all set to wow even the most ardent of Brynner fans…and if you need an excuse to ogle naked women’s breasts, then you’ve come to the right place, because there are very few scenes that don’t have either a naked male or female android sitting directly opposite their human counterpart, whilst being interrogated in an attempt to find out why they just can’t keep their microchips cool and behave themselves!
You only have to check out the contract Westworld’s extras have been asked to sign to figure out exactly how far the show’s creators, Jonathan and Lisa Joy Nolan, plan to go with regard to nudity. My goodness…just reading about some of the potential requirements makes your eyes water, let alone seeing them in the flesh, as it were.
Indeed, the first episode alone very quickly shoves our faces quite firmly into an hour of murder, physical abuse and general degradation of women. But they ARE robot women, so who cares…right?
Wrong. A lot of people will probably make the assumption that the writers have conveniently forgotten about how us modern people like to see women portrayed…and it is NOT as sobbing wimps, being smacked about by men and raped at every opportunity. Can’t do that now. Not allowed.
However, I get the impression we are encouraged to be angry at the employees who maintain the androids for all these unsavoury goings on in the Western-themed town. Especially Lee, the ‘scriptwriter’, because this guy, played by Simon Quarterman, decides how the general storylines in this little retro town will be played out. Yes, HE is the one who has decided that women, as a rule, are there to be used and abused in whichever way each guest pleases…and no-one else seems to give a silicone shit, so why not?
Obviously, the robot men of the town have to put up with being constantly shot at and violently killed too…and there’s no doubt that brothels, and the women who worked in them, would have been treated abysmally all those years ago. However, Lee Sizeman, the sexist scriptwriter, is definitely the man we will love to hate for his enthusiasm to recreate such a sordidly realistic role-play situation in an effort to satisfy anyone who fancies themselves as a homicidal, woman-beating sex pest. I already want to secure his testicles to a wall with a staple gun, but that’s just me.
Cue Ed Harris as The Man in Black. No, he’s not Yul’s replacement, he is a paying guest and as human as they come. Except his actions towards the resident androids, or 'hosts' as they are referred to, are far less than humane. He is intent on finding out all he can about their mechanics and how they’re maintained…and it’s clear he wants to play the ‘game’ on a much higher level than the creators of Westworld would appreciate. This man is a nasty piece of work and habitually abuses Dolores and Teddy, a romantic host couple who are caught in a repetitive scenario that leaves them at his mercy every day.
It is Dolores, played by Evan Rachel Wood, who begins to doubt her reality…and her father, also a host, begins to question everything he’s ever known, because he is one of many who have been transformed into different characters throughout the years, with his memory being erased each time. Until now, their lives have revolved around each other and those they call the ‘newcomers’. These newcomers are the guests who pay very highly to enjoy themselves killing and patronizing the hosts, but Dolores and her father are becoming more and more suspicious each time their repetitive scenarios are played out.
They’re not the only ones. After a mass software update of several hundred hosts by the sultry Dr Ford, a spate of malfunctions are reported and this is where things start to go wrong.
Until now the hosts have been unable to harm their human enemies, but I’m guessing the inhabitants of Westworld are about to start deciding exactly how they want to live their lives…and the arrogant Sizeman and co will be hard pressed to keep their submissive little Barbie dolls in order. Not to mention their burly cowboy menfolk, who might just find a way to lay their hands on a few guns with bullets that actually work on human flesh.
Westworld: Sky Atlantic - New episodes every Tuesday