I first saw Westworld in 1973 at the Kent Theatre in Montreal. This scifi western has always been a personal favorite and it still entertains 40 year later. The story is very straightforward but the development highly original yet quite faithful to the western genre in the broad strokes. Fans of Jurassic Park will recognize some of the themes here as Michael Crighton wrote both Westworld and Jurassic Park and the theme of the amusement park gone wrong is common to both. Those familiar with Terminator will also get the feeling that movie founds part of its inspiration here. Westworld Blu-ray is as crisp as you would like it to be but is unfortunately rather thin on interesting special features.
Two single guys, John (Brolin) and Peter (Benjamin) go to Western World for a vacation. Westworld is part of the Delos complex which also features Medieval World and Roman World. All the characters in these Worlds are very lifelike androids. Guests to all three worlds are immediately and repeatedly assured nothing can go wrong … yeah.
Exposition is usually smoothly insured by the questions newbie Peter asks John who has been to Westworld before and well-placed behind-the-scenes segments. Especially clever is the morning resort activation scene.
On his very first day Peter is challenged by the Gunslinger android (Brynner) is he is successful, of course. The Gunslinger gets repaired and is back for a rematch but not before it is established that some kind of virus is causing the androids to malfunction.
A few more minor incidents and cleverly placed developments build up to the showdown between the Gunslinger and one of the guests.
One of the many reasons Westworld works is it has a sense of humor. Dick Van Patten gets to play sheriff and the bar brawl scene is a lot of fun to watch. Another is the western scenes have nothing to envy to some of the great films of the genre.
Special features for Westworld Blu-ray are a Behind-the-scenes, the trailer, and the pilot episode for Beyod Westworld, the very very short-lived 1980 TV spinoff.