60/60 Review #4: Westworld.

This was one of the first ones I'd been anticipating quite a bit. I'm not a huge western fan, but I do like Sci-Fi quite a bit, which makes this a great transition into this month for me. Or does it? Directed by Michael Crichton, Westworld introduces us to a company that has created a set of theme parks that are highly realistic. There's Roman World, which gives the guests the experience of ancient Rome and its debauchery; there's Medieval World, which gives the guests the experience of sword fights with black knights, royalty, and grand feasts; then there's Westworld, which gives the guests the experience of the Wild West in all its fictional glory. We're introduced to Peter (Richard Benjamin), a bit of a dork who is nervous but excited about visiting Westworld for the first time. He's going with his friend who has been there before, the cool, smooth cowboy named John Blane (James Brolin). But the technicians for the park start noticing things are getting a little strange, and the androids that allow for the park's realism start acting up (go figure!). In particular, there's a gunslinger (Yul Brynner) that seems to be out to get Peter.

There's a lot of things this movie does right. Unfortunately, there's a lot that annoyed the crap out of me, too. But let's start with the positive. The acting from the main three guys is pretty good (and holy crap did James Brolin remind me of Christian Bale here). Of course, Yul Brynner is a stand-out as The Gunslinger. The guy is basically a precursor to either The Terminator or the T-1000. The whole time I was thinking that if they remade this movie, Robert Patrick would probably make a perfect Gunslinger. Some of the visual effects with the androids was also pretty dang good. Also, I was so happy when they explained about the guns and how they couldn't shoot humans.

But then the movie has to go and piss all over it with so many inconsistencies and logic holes. Now, I'm almost never one to nitpick or even find major holes in logic. That's why I like so many movies that others think aren't all that great. I can shut off my brain and enjoy it. Now, I don't know if I was just expecting too much from the movie or if the film was just poorly written (maybe a mix of both), but--mostly in the last 30 minutes of the movie--I was incredibly annoyed. The movie is basically an hour of setup and 30 minutes of craziness. And the crazy terror and suspense comes with an extra dose of crazy plot and logic holes. I'm not even going to bother listing any. I know that's a cop out, but they were almost every other second for a huge chunk of the movie that I gave up bothering about it.

The next biggest issue with the movie is that it both should have been longer and shorter, depending on what it needed to do. The movie had a lot of missed potential. What they needed to do was add more character development. With the exception of maybe Peter, these characters were flatter than *enter cliche boob joke here*. Besides the ones listed in the summary, there was a nerdy dude in Westworld. There was a horny dude in Medieval World. There were a handful of technicians. And absolutely nobody was shown in Roman World, only going back to that place when the plot called for it... which was almost never. But none of these characters are developed. Peter is really the only one that has any sort of change--he goes from dork to fake badass to scared dork to real (semi-)badass. If the movie were longer, there could have been some much needed development. Or they could have completely taken out the Medieval World subplot, shortened the technician subplot, and actually given more depth to the Westworld plot. That would have worked, too.

All that being said, I did enjoy the movie. I know this sounded horribly negative, but I did like it for the most part. It's just one of those things where the negatives try to outshine the positives, despite there being quite a few positives. I believe this movie is in dire need of a remake. If done right, it could be great. But as for right now, it was a bit better than alright. I actually had a pretty high score for this movie up until the (way too drawn out) climax and/or last 30 minutes, when it just seemed to derail from the logic train. Though Yul Brynner was still pretty cool and creepy.

I Am McLovin!

(P.S. Next week, we're moving in to full-out westerns. Here's to hoping that fares better.)

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