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  • Writer's pictureTroy Kinney

Westworld (1973) PG

In 2016, HBO decided to make a long running adult-themed series called Westworld, based on the ideas of Michael Crichton. In fact, Crichton is credited with writing all the episodes even though he passed away in 2008. I cannot speak to this series as I have not actually seen it. Back in 1973 though,

Crichton envisioned a unique and fantastic film. He said, “[Westworld] didn’t work as a novel…It’s about an amusement park built to represent three different sorts of worlds: a Western world, a Medieval world and a Roman world…[and] the kinds of fantasies that people experienced in them... movie fantasies… They weren’t things that had literal antecedents, literary antecedents. They were things that had antecedents in John Ford and John Wayne and Errol Flynn… As a result, the film is intentionally structured around old movie cliché situations.” And because they cast Yul Brynner as the animatronic gunslinger who was so iconic in westerns like like The Magnificent Seven (1960) it works.

According to Crichton,”…tendencies toward making…machines as human as possible are creating a lot of confusion. That’s what suggested Westworld to me. The tendency to make concessions to machines can only grow…it’s inevitable that we accommodate ourselves to the machines we need to support our existence.”

What is the proper balance of technology and creative ability in relationship to our humanity? How do we approach ideas like AI? Smart devices? And other such products and concepts? Maybe Dr. Ian Malcolm is right, we have become so preoccupied with whether or not we could do a thing, that we didn't stop to think if we should.

In the coming years we would see Crichton’s vision extend to a novel about another amusement park filled with resurrected prehistoric beasts in Jurassic Park. Which became a movie dynasty in its own right.

I suggest getting a ticket for admittance to the original theme park: Westworld (1973). You can currently find its gates open on Amazon Prime.

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