Westworld

I’m a big fan of the film and it’s a world which I’ve always wanted to explore further, so I was obviously interested in a Westworld series. It took me a while to actually get to it, but I heard nothing but good things so decided to have a binge.

I went through a series of stages with the show. I wasn’t sure about it at first and then about halfway through I realised I was totally sucked in to the world. And then a few episodes later it hit me really hard and I was really impressed because nothing has ever really done that before.

I think I really related to it due to my recent depression. Up until a few months ago I lived my life thinking I was entirely in control and nothing could break that and I never experienced much emotion. Then when something hurt me, I completely crumbled away and lost myself for a few months. After going on antidepressants I found myself again, but after going through that experience your eyes just open to new things. So the way they showed the struggle of the robots starting to become sentient was very similar to what I’ve only just gone through.

I think without that experience I still would’ve liked the show, but would’ve found it too obvious. For the first few episodes I felt that way. It’s very basic thematically, and there is a lot of exposition and stilted dialogue so it all kind of feels fake. But as it progresses, you realise this is all there on purpose. It’s dumbed down enough so stupid people and people who have never contemplated basic philosophy can understand a very basic point, but without being condescending. It swiftly goes from one point to the next. But, it drives the point home by making you see it and feel it yourself. The way the story and characters unfold is amazingly complex and layered, and is great writing and storytelling. And it’s great because of how hard it gets you at a personal level, but it doesn’t really ask anything new. And if I hadn’t gone through this whole thing I would’ve liked it but felt nothing and been annoyed.

Non-human things becoming sentient is always something of interest to me, but I don’t think any film or book I’ve read has really done it well. Westworld is surprisingly effective at making it seem natural and like something that could happen. The characters are strong and they juggle each individual’s storyline and their overall place in the world with deftness. As the series progresses you start to feel disoriented about when and where things are happening and what exactly are the rules of this park, but it’s all part of the process. There are so many characters and yet none of them feel like minor characters or afterthoughts. I love the way all the characters develop, because you really get to know them so well and really end up caring for them. When a certain something happened, I legitimately felt heartbroken. They all impact each other and their world and it makes the world feel dynamic and alive. Ironic considering it’s a world full of robots.

The show is very layered and it very slowly unfolds. It seems basic and simple and just when you think you’ve got it figured out, it slowly unfolds again. You quickly get engrossed in the story, but it takes a long time to really show how complex the writing is. The main theme is very basic philosophy, but the way it continuously breaks down what our reality is and makes you really see it and feel it, is really something amazing.

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