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Alexcremers

HBO's Westworld

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On 2.9.2016 at 1:58 PM, Stefancos said:

JJ and Nolan, together at last...

 

Abrams and Jonathan Nolan (brother of more famous director Christopher) have been working together for years. They also did the series PERSON OF INTEREST together (which I'm currently going through).

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I've since read somewhere that's it's supposed to be worth sticking out with because it apparently becomes the show you didn't expect it to be. Might have another attempt. Netflix as you know makes idle attempts extremely easy.

 

And Amity as you know means friendship. 

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On 9/5/2016 at 8:52 AM, Jay said:

Looked like any other CBS case-of-the-week show, but with some sort of slight scifi twist.  Never seen a second of it.

 

Person of Interest might be one of my favorite shows ever. It starts off as a case-of-the-week show to hook viewers but becomes a serialized story with exciting arcs, compelling characters, a deep mythology, and cool action. More like a sci-fi superhero show than a by-the-numbers detective show. Kind of like Fringe with its blend of episodic and serialized stories. I love them both.

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On 14/09/2016 at 7:43 PM, Nic Cage Fugue said:

Looks spectacular. 

 

Person of Interest is the best sci-fi superhero series to ever air on TV. I'm still waiting for the last season to hit Netflix. 

 

I didn't make it beyond 15 minutes of the first episode but maybe I'll give it a second chance sometime, because I have heard it's worth it from a few different places. It just wasn't my kind of show. 

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People ought to know better and should go out of their way to ignore initial reviews these days. It's become the unwritten rule for the wise observer. 

 

For example:

 

The Guardian: “… for those of us who just like story – lots and lots of story! – Westworld will hit the spot as hard as GoT ever did. Gosh, there’s a lot going on…

 

E-E-E-E-EXPOSTION COMBO BREAKER!!! 

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I enjoyed it well enough. Dragged a bit in parts as they were setting up the world, but it was nice seeing something so deliberately paced, and reasonably cerebral on TV.  Pretty ambitious, actually, and I'm looking forward to seeing where they go with it. It has potential.

 

Part of me wishes they had set it in a Middle-Ages (or some other point in history) theme park instead of the West. When the original Westworld was released it was not long after Americans were obsessed with Westerns and all the iconography...deserted towns, lone gunmen, shoot outs, etc. I'm not sure the culture is quite at that place anymore, and it remains to be seen if using this setting as their story telling canvas will work or not.  Though the old west probably makes more sense from a budgetary perspective than just about any other time.

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Westworld 1x01 The Original

 

Wow, nice main titles!  Both visuals and music.  As much as Djawadi has trouble coming up with underscore on GOT, he nailed that main title and this one is really good too.  Not an instant iconic classic like GOT, but good in its own right.


Wow, some actual good underscore in the episode, too!  Who are you and what have you done with Ramin Djawadi?  I... actually want to listen to this on its own? Wow!  Wasn't expecting that!

 

Hmm, an interesting choice to score the climax with a new instrumental arrangement of the Rolling Stones' Paint It Black... at first I thought Djawadi was really busting out melody like he never had before, until I recognized it.  Neat interpretation of the song, though I'm not sure I really understand why they did it....


Well enough about the music - what about the show itself?  Well, this is an odd pilot.  It barely begins setting up the world before we're already being thrust into this season's (if not the whole series') conflict, which I thought was odd.  I think it would have made a lot more sense to give us a character entering Westworld for the first time, so we could follow along with him and learn about the world that way (classic audience surrogate).  Even better, actually, would have been to follow a supposed "main character" as he enters the town, meets people, goes on some adventure, seduces and beds some beauty, ends up having to kill someone - whatever - then maybe after this 30 minute "mini movie" is over, reveal the park is actually all robots, and our "main character" is just a random guest that we never actually see again, only then show us the techs working on the park, etc.  That would have been a great way to introduce us to the setting instead of the way they went with, which was a bit odd.  I get that it allowed them to do a "twist" with the James Marsden character, but I don't think they pulled that off as well as they thought they did.

 

The Host that gets the most screen time is Evan Rachel Wood's Dolores character, and boy, is she not only a natural beauty, but captivating in this role.  Using her as a viewpoint for how the Hosts repeat the same days over and over was effective, especially as her "memories" of prior days started to come to the surface.


The best acting on the show, however, was the trio of Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, and Jeffrey Wright.  All three of them are truly EXCELLENT here.  Ed Harris as a long time guest (he said 30 years... and the tech said the last major incident was 30 years go... can't be a coincidence) who ends up capturing and scalping a Host at the end with a bizarre map tattooed inside is intriguing enough I suppose, though so far his story seems fairly unconnected to everything else going on.  Anthony Hopkins as the park creator and code-writer for all the Hosts was just great.  You can tell just by the way he delivers his lines that there's so much more underneath the surface than what he's saying.  It's quite the boon for HBO that they got him.  And Jeffrey Wright, man, is he good too!  The way he talks, the way he observes, the way he chooses when to speak and how, is all really good stuff.  He's very good in the role of the head programmer who seems to simultaneously think Hopkins' character is up to something, while being up to something himself as well.

 

So overall, a pilot that kind of sets up our settings, our main characters, and our conflict (the Hosts are starting to remember what Guests have done to them, and act differently and unpredictably as a result).  Which is interesting enough I suppose but... what are they stakes here  The Hosts can't hurt the Guests, so what's the big deal?  Even if they can eventually, how many Guests are in the park at any one time anyway?  And they're all just spoiled rich guys anyway right?  Unless they are building towards a show where all the Hosts break free and integrate into society or something, I don't see how the tension and conflict will ever draw you in enough to care.  I guess we'll have to see where it goes!

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I've been watching it regularly. The second episode was a good expansion of the concept. I wasn't as impressed with the last episode (felt very serial TV-ish). Still, it's a promising series with an excellent cast. 

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Yup, following it "live" as new episodes air. I agree with KK; first two episodes were really good, the third felt a bit "filler". But it should be picking up its pace from ep. 4.

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1 hour ago, Stefancos said:

Is anyone here actually watching this "live"? Or just waiting till everything has aired so they can bingewatch it?

I watched the first episode, but I think I'm going to wait for the rest and binge (as is my wont these days).  Its pace and tone seem to me to be ideal for bingeing. 

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5 minutes ago, KK said:

Hopkins is actually excellent in this. Adds a lot to the show. As does Wood.

 

'Actually'? 'ACTUALLY'?!? Careful now, son, you're talking about my second favourite actor of all time!

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Well of course, he's brilliant. But he really didn't have to commit to something like this, especially at his age, and it's nice to see him embracing the role.

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Agreed! As I believe I've said before, I love it when older actors (let's say 75+) decide to take on new roles that challenge them a bit, instead of just going for the 'easy money' parts in the last part of their career. Al Pacino and Robert De Niro have something to learn here.

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Exactly. He could have just played this one off like the Thor films and done a serviceable job. But he seems to be rising above the occasion in this case. Or this role is just naturally tailored for him.

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WestWorld 1x02 Chestnut

 

I wonder if this show is going to take a page from Lost, Once Upon A Time, etc - in the sense that each episode will focus on one specific character through flashbacks?  The first episode strongly featured Even Rachel Wood's Dolores, while in this episode she only appeared a few times, and the episode instead featured Thandie Newton's Madam character prominently... interesting.  The scene where she wakes up in the "real world" and flees into the room where they were washing down the "dead" Hosts was the most "horror"-ish scene yet, and was well done for what it was, but does suffer from the same problems as last weeks - the stakes are super low.  We never met the techs working on her before, so why would we care if they got stabbed?  We also barely know Maeve, or any of the other Hosts "waking up", so its hard to root for their cause (if they have one) yet.

 

Elsewhere the seeds are being planted for the "awakening" of the robots one by one.  The way Evan Rachel Wood played her interview scene with Jeffrey Wright, you really didn't know if she was lying/faking or not, so that was well done.  The scene also hints at ulterior motives for Wright, as she later digs up a gun after hearing his voice in her head.  Speaking of Wright's character, its now clear both him and Ford are up to something, but who knows what.

 

Speaking of Ford, Hopkins again excelled in this episode.  I liked that he created a robot version of his younger self to talk to.  Not sure what was up with that snake stuff though, or that weird church steeple at the end.


Ed Harris continues to essentially be in a different show than everyone else.  At this point all I think is that Ford or other designers put in some really complex "game" buried in the park that only a repeat guest who explored every area would ever be able to find, and that's what he's doing.  But to what end?  I hope there isn't a lame reveal eventually that he's a robot too.

 

I noticed another modern song this week - No Surprises by Radiohead played on the player-piano in the brothel, that was pretty cool.  Djawadi's score again had some nice moments, which again surprised me, though there was an awful synth stinger at one point too.

 

As soon as the head of operations lady showed up at Jeffrey Wright's door, it was obvious to me they were going to be revealed to be lovers, and of course they were.  Kind of cliched, and what's the point of it?  Hopefully it has some mean - as of now, its hard to care for any of the human characters, the Hosts are all far more interesting.


Speaking of human characters, we are introduced to two new seemingly main characters (actors in the opening credits, at least) this week, in Logan and Williams.  This is the audience surrogate stuff the premiere should have had!  Their storyline is interesting so far - not a ton happened, but its a good setup for whatever adventure they are going on next week.  Jimmi Simpson is always great, too.

 

So far this is my theory about what's causing the "change" in the Hosts:  Independently, both Ford (Hopkins), Bernard (Wright), and some third party we maybe have or maybe havne't seen yet each independently put in code that is changing the Hosts, and that's why its hard to track down and fix, and ultimately will be hard/impossible to stop them from evolving: Because they each acted independently it created a magic mix of stuff they can't reverse.  But again, the stakes seem low, so I dunno what difference it will make if they all "wake up".  Dollhouse ending up building to fascinating stakes for a somewhat similar concept.

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