Boy, have we got a vacation for you...
Do amusement parks scare you? Do you love hearing of things going terribly wrong in vacation destinations? Ever wonder why you feel uneasy after being assured your in the safest of conditions? Love Jurassic Park but hate dinosaurs? Well, have I got news for you! Welcome to Westworld.
Some point, most probably in the future (of at least the 1970s), for the small fee of a thousand dollars you can go on a week long vacation that will blow your mind. With three distinct parks in one grand location, you can even choose your destination in time! Visit authentic Wild West, Ancient Rome, or even the Medieval Times and get up to whatever your heart demands - be it romance, swagger, or violence! Equipped with state-of-the-art machines that you can't even tell are robots, truly there is no vacation spot like it! Raving reviews from all walks, enjoy shooting outlaws, defeating knights and marrying queens, or even just hunky roman men!
The guests in the West are enjoying their time, although one of our leads seems to have a little bit of a hard time adjusting at first. It seems real, but he's having a hard time treating it as such knowing in advance that it's essentially a resort. After a little bit of goading from his friend, he responds with a bit of guns-manship against a machine that wants nothing but to disrespect him - certainly the thrill is passing through him, although it takes a little convincing that he didn't just murder a real person. Of course, by a little, I mean his friend goads him to try and shoot him and prove that the weapons operate based on body temperature - and since the robots are significantly lower than the real people, it prevents you from accidentally engaging in real bound-in-law murder. Granted, that's not the only thing they get engaged in that can raise the old heartbeat.
However, things start going a little less smoothly. It seems some of the robot's haven't been following their programming, raising alarm with the engineers in charge. After a robot snake actually bites one of the leads, they decide it might be proper to close down for some time to go through everything with a fine-tooth comb, but they should be able to handle the current batch of guests safely without sending them home early. By the time the next day starts, and the malfunctions start spreading, things go from bad to worse and another guest is injured. Trying to prevent things from getting worse, they try to remotely turn them off and even cut power - but when that all fails and the power refuses to switch back on, the engineers find themselves trapped in their control room and running out of air. Will the guests manage to survive the robots as they go haywire? Will the engineers get out of the room in time to save the day?
As alluded to in the pre-roll, those who have seen Jurassic Park will be pretty familiar with the plot flow in this one - although you'd be rather daft to say it's ripping off a movie that came out nearly 30 years after. If it works, don't fix it I'd say - and the plot comes off as rather believable, especially now that a certain point of "the future" has been reached where something like life-like animatronics is totally achievable (although maybe without the 'advanced programming' bit this movie shows). For sure, there isn't really a whole lot in this plot that doesn't seem at least in some way feasible - except maybe the control room being airtight with electrically sealed doors that contains no backups, that seems like a Death Star exhaust port-sized overlooking to me.
Effects aren't terrible for the time. Certainly, projection screens aren't as convincing over time as some modern green screen techniques, but for the period it's pretty par. Effects such as blood come off looking a bit low-budget, although it's more just the fact that it looks much more like a syrup than actual blood - to be fair, not something I personally mind, considering it's a bunch of robots getting shot most the movie it makes sense that engineers might not have gotten super-real blood in these machines. The actual machine-bits and repair scenes aren't terrible and the robot props don't look too terrible - albeit not at all always convincing, such as the "deactivated" robot horses. Again, this is all coated with a modern eye so obviously some of these aren't going to be nearly as convincing as it may have once been. The eye reflection of the robots is a nice little touch though.
Audio helps add to the scenes, so it's doing it's job well. That said, during the later-movie tense moments the slowly ramping loud 'drum hits' can get a bit annoying (and loud). Most the period-type music helps sell the mood for the settings in the park however, and most the audio balancing is good and audible for effects and general cast voices. The actors do a pretty decent job in their roles, with most the robots actually pulling off a rather human performance despite "being" machines - so really they don't lie about the park's quality. The closest thing to the main villain actually does quite a bit of emoting with his face, particularly during the end of the movie and in turn stands out as one of the better actors in the flick in my opinion.
Overall, I felt this was a pretty enjoyable movie. Considering the main conflict doesn't really start till at earliest the halfway point of the movie, the fact that it keeps you entertained for the most part while setting up the setting and characters is pretty appreciated. When things do finally kick off, it escalates rather quick, and there's certainly a few points when you wish the character would do something and they do, only for it to go wrong and make you feel like an idiot. It shows it's age in numerous spots, but it's certainly not a bad flick at all. Admittedly, I do feel that it has a bit of a plot hole here and there - how the guns forget they can't shoot hot things, for example - but it wasn't enough to detriment the overall fun factor. Tell you what, knowing a robot was swinging real steel at me certainly has me second guessing my thoughts on how cool Medieval World would have been to hang out in and play knight.