West World – Mass Manipulation

The television series “Westworld” is a series adaptation of the original 1973 film “Westworld” by Michael Crichton. I watched the first episode of the first season “The Original” which delves into some interesting concepts about creation and artificial intelligent human-like androids. The premise (not without some research) of Westworld is that the area in which Westworld is in, is a theme park where people pay money to experience a simulation of a time in the past. In this case, old western civilization. The humans are addressed as the “guests” and the androids are called the “hosts”. The arising problem within Westworld we see in the first episode is that there are some androids who have glitches in their programming which actually cause them to kill the guests.This is obviously not intentional and at a certain point in the episode we see what happens to the androids that have issues with its programming. (Westworld)

The first thing to note about the Westworld series is the opening sequence. In the opening sequence we see there are robotic arms creating the muscle fibers of a human and even animals. This to me, seems to be an homage to technological advancements in Westworld, and in the importance and sheer dependence on it.

At the three minute mark, the dialogue exchanged by Dolores and another character is something we see at the very beginning of the episode and reiterated at the end of the episode which only tells me that there is significance in the meaning of them. “Some people choose to see the ugliness in this world. The disarray. I choose to see the beauty” (00:03:09) Additionally there is a fly that we see land on Dolores as she sits in a complex looking completely devoid of life. (00:02:30) This is another small event that happens in both the beginning and ending of the episode. I think that this seems to signify that it (she) is like an inanimate object for the fly to land on, and we also see at different scenes of the show that flies land on the androids. This would also indicate that they their skin seems to have the qualities of rotted/decaying flesh that flies are commonly attracted to.

“Do you ever feel inconsistencies in your world? Or repetitions?” -Man “All lives have routine. Mine’s no different. Still, I never cease to wonder the thought, that any day, the whole course of my life could change with one chance encounter” -Dolores (00:06:39) This dialogue is interesting in context of the episode and what Westworld is. Knowing that Dolores is an android herself, she doesn’t seem to notice that her “one chance encounter” isn’t the man she thinks it is (Teddy), but in reality it is meeting her makers/programmers. They are the ones who change her encounters. “What if told you that you were wrong? That there are no chance encounters? That you, and everyone you know where built to the gratify the desires of the people who pay to visit your world? The people you call the newcomers?” (00:10:39) This is also an interesting bit of dialogue because the person telling Dolores this information is something that she doesn’t know, that it is something that most of the androids in Westworld aren’t supposed to know. After all, the androids can somewhat think for themselves can’t they? At this scene, (00:10:39) we first meet the man dressed in black. He plays a pivotal role in the reality of the amusement park and establishes a distinction between the real people there and the androids. Teddy does not realize that they were programmed not to harm any of the humans at the park, and even though the man tells Teddy the truth about it, he disregards what he says entirely because he is in a state of disbelief when he shoots at him– and sees that he is unharmed. “Seems you’re not the man you thought you were” (Man dressed in black to Teddy 00:13:13). It is unclear so early in the season as to why he has been around for a long time, the man dressed in black states he’d been coming there for 30 years and Dolores can’t remember any of it.

In another scene, we see one of the androids with two humans discussing some newly found gestures that the park co-founder Ford had added to a new version of their programming (the androids). “He calls them reveries” (00:16:34) This is another important aspect of the episode because the two humans say that it helps with the realism of the android, however, we see later on that these “reveries” caused the androids to malfunction or begin to have some sort of free thought (Dolores’s father). A reverie means to day dream or the condition of being lost in thought. (Reverie)

Moving forward, we see at another scene where one of the hosts is having an issue with its programming as some other hosts have as well. He immediately stops and powers down which goes to show in a small feature, just how much power the authority figures have over these androids. (00:39:29)

An interesting scene I thought was very similar to another adaptation film is a scene where we see a human-like figure emerge out of a white substance which drips off and immediately reveals what looks to be a nearly completed android (00:41:20). This is similar in some ways to a 1995 adaptation film of a manga called “Ghost in the Shell” by Masamune Shirow. The premise of the movie was that a law enforcement officer who is completely an android herself was looking for a hacker who could hack into people’s cybernetic prosthetics and make them do things they wouldn’t normally do. All this via internet. The protagonist in this movie is unaware of her past and she believes that she is just a ghost in a shell. When the newest iteration of her body was being created, it was created in a similar fashion to this scene in Westworld. (Ghost in the Shell)

This episode has been very interesting and I’d like to continue watching the rest of the two seasons. There are lots of comparisons and connections to make throughout the episode as to what each event means and even the dialogue. The days in the show seem to just repeat themselves with minor adjustments made to the hosts. This is very similar in fashion to the 1998 film “The Truman Show” directed by Peter Weir. (The Truman Show)



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