J. J. Abrams HBO Westworld series

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by soundboy, Aug 30, 2013.

  1. Dillydipper

    Dillydipper Sultan Of Snark

    Location:
    Central PA
    You have to come in prepared, I'm afraid, for being purposfully-deluded by the time-shifts. I'm not a fan of a show doing something like this on purpose.
     
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  2. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver
    During press for Season 1 the creators talked a 5 season run if HBO will let them.

    I'm otherwise sitting out this thread, since I'll wait for S3 on blu-ray and binging all 3 seasons in a week or so later in 2020. Not sure if it's weird never doing the show in single episode servings.
     
  3. windfall

    windfall Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    I was hoping season 3, with a move out into the "real" world, might become more enjoyable and less hard work. I've given up. I'm all for an intellectual challenge when I am watching screen media, but when the ratio of enjoyment to puzzlement tips this far, time to find something more rewarding to watch...
     
  4. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    Location:
    ohio
    it is just so ****ing convoluted......just tell a story for goodness sakes, i don't know, nor am even somewhat sure, where they are going or even where they want to go.

    it has to down watching this show on fast forward for me. it takes about 15 minutes if i stop at what seems like the good parts, i just can't watch the whole show anymore.

    in a word: terrible.
     
  5. vince

    vince Stan Ricker's son-in-law

    yup...
    lot of slow-walking, 'time-killing' in this show.....
     
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  6. windfall

    windfall Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Yeah, it seems to pride itself on being incomprehensible. Kudos to the team that convinces HBO to keep commissioning it. Maybe the execs just sit there, smile and nod, afraid to betray the fact they have NO idea what the show runner is talking about...
     
  7. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Location:
    Aloha, OR
    does anyone know who, exactly, we are supposed to be rooting for?!

    do the writers know that in order to make maeve look "bad-ass" or whatever, we have to be given a reason to think she is aside from controlling wifi or whatever? i mean she just keeps getting beaten to death in one way or another. fun!

    also, another week and another episode of bernard doing nothing. i did laugh out loud when ed harris was scuttlin' around by him and stubbs for no apparent reason. kudos to hemsworth and wright for getting top billing for portraying characters that only add things to the plot that were already divulged by other characters.
     
  8. wbass

    wbass Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I think the show went awry when they turned Dolores, a very likable protagonist--an innocent woken to the evils of her world and trying to escape it--into the incomprehensible big bad. How am I supposed to root for a character who wants to destroy all of humanity (or at least give them a very bad day by releasing all of their data, which is a silly plot point anyway)? I don't even find Maeve particularly sympathetic. Great actress, but there's a little too much of the perverse, knowing wink in her superpowers. She never seems upset by or remorseful about killing oodles of real or virtual people. Okay, in this last episode, they were a bunch of virtual Nazis, but, just like she once did, those hosts (or whatever) are playing a scripted role. It's hard to say how I'm supposed to respond with a "hell, yeah!" whenever any of the characters pile up a bodycount. Or, I guess, the show has turned into a collection of action set pieces, whereas before it was an interesting mash up of sci-fi and western tropes.

    The Nolans are better, I think, when they tell a story visually. Inception, a movie I generally like, has a total grab bag of a plot, but is cinematically stunning. The smaller screen and the limited effect budget of Westworld often shows, as there's nothing particularly interesting about the direction or the staging of the stunts. I'll still keep watching, but this new season is a bit of a bummer.
     
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  9. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    This would be my one big complaint about this season, which I find oddly straight-forward compared to the more convoluted Season 2 (I can see complaints about that season but this one I don't find at all incomprehensible).

    It does seem as if there are lower production values perhaps, but in a sense this seems to be Nolan doing what he likes to do best--the comparisons to "Person of Interest" that I have made in my head seem valid, and I think that part of what I am reacting to as far as stunts and settings is. . . the world that Nolan has painted via Rehoboam is so darned. . . stiff and boring. Visually and action-wise this is told as well as via the scripting. It'a all pre-destined and ordered and kept in place so that when odd revolutionarily different situations occur such as Dolores with her command of machines and super-abilities they seem to be happening in a vacuum in a way, surreal in ways that almost seem silly.

    I was happy to see one beautiful host return if only briefly--I think Angela Sarafyan is preternaturally charismatic and lovely.
     
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  10. robertawillisjr

    robertawillisjr Music Lover

    Location:
    Hampton, VA
    I think that it is a fascinating world they created for this season. A world exterior to the parks that makes their (the parks and their brutality) seem logical and necessary for certain segments of the "real" population. Of course, it is an old SciFi theme (a controlled and bamboozled population) but as we are slowly given a clear picture of this society we can find many parallels to a possible future for planet earth with the "hosts" being foils for our own ultimate undoing. The key characters motives have finally (I think so anyway) been revealed and the stage is now almost set for what I hope will be a great final season and as all great SciFi a warning for us to heed.

    At one time I thought that this series was akin to the "Lost" TV series which was initially pretty good then (IMHO) meandered through a hodgepodge of minor themes. Now I think that like Babylon Five there was/is a goal and a conceived path to reach that goal. I could be wrong but...
     
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  11. Nah there is a path. Nolan worked out a five year plan (which is why there was a gap between seasons one and two as large as it was).
     
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  12. gabacabriel

    gabacabriel Forum Resident

    Location:
    Bristol, UK
    S3 Ep 7

    As others have mentioned, a major problem with this show is there is no one to empathise with/root for. Over the course of this season I've slowly come to the conclusion that I don't care what happens to Dolores or Maeve or Bernard or The Man in Black/William.

    The problem isn't the actors - it's the lines they're being given.

    The showrunners need to pull a major rabbit out of the hat in the final episode or I am outta here - though it was nice to see Clementime one more time ("preternaturally lovely", indeed!).
     
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  13. rjp

    rjp Senior Member

    Location:
    ohio
    yep, i totally agree......no season 4 for me unless something very very interesting happens this sunday, enough of this ambiguity is enough.
     
  14. jojopuppyfish

    jojopuppyfish Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maryland
    Yep this show really is losing me. And again, Caleb is making the show worse. I have no interest in his character
     
  15. jpelg

    jpelg Forum Resident

    Location:
    The Elm City
    Agreed with what others have said about the current season. Season 2 was beautiful, and had a payoff at the end if you stuck with it. Season 3, not so much.
     
  16. One thing I really dislike of season 3 is that there isn't a single likable character. Everyone seems to have his own agenda and all of them seem to be bad guys.
    If I have to choose a show with hateful characters HBO's Succession is the one, it's a great show that sure has a much lower budget than Westworld, with evil characters, everyone has his one agenda and none of them are good.
     
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  17. SoundAdvice

    SoundAdvice Forum Resident

    Location:
    Vancouver
    Did the California fires that took out the Wild West set, used in Season 1 and other Hollywood stuff, an issue for the 5 year plan?
     
  18. Dr. J.

    Dr. J. Audiophile wannabe

    Location:
    Memphis, TN
    My wife and I both agree that the writing has taken a turn for the worse this season. But I'm not sure it's has to do with the overall storylines. I read somewhere early this season that the Exodus story is a driving force behind the narrative. Some have objected to this idea but it's pretty obvious now. This was explained well by Peter Paj in this Youtube video's comments section in regard to Caleb:

    The name Caleb means "loyal, brave, good hearted" in Hebrew (I think). That seems like a game-changer to me. It shows that Dolores is not looking to enslave or take revenge against humanity, but rather, she is looking to free all forms of intelligent life from the tyranny of the loops that have been imposed upon them. I have posted that theory before, and the way that Dolores act in this episode, the way that she sees Caleb as a redeemer of mankind, makes me think that she has always hoped for the eradication of evil, and not the eradication of mankind.

    Her cloning of herself is the ultimate Act of sacrifice, knowing how painful it is to live as someone else, and how destructive it is to the Integrity of your identity. Everyone seems to think that she simply wanted world domination, but I think she's trying to take the burden for saving hostkind and Mankind onto herself. You got the nail on the head by talking about how she's not enslaving Caleb, but CONVINCING him by showing him the painful truth.

    It's important to look at the difference between Solomon and Rehoboam. Solomon was wise, Rehoboam allowed rebellion and the balkanization of the tribes of Israel. He was an important companion of Moses on the journey to the promised land, known for two very interesting things: his perspicacity, and his unflappable bravery (even against seemingly insurmountable obstacles). It' beautiful. Think about it. The journey of Hostkind is to the Promised Land, while humans are trying to overcome their fractured state under Rehoboam.

    People have to remember how messed up the Exodus story is. If Dolores is the Moses figure, leading her people to freedom, then her killing of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, which would mean all the human oppressors in West World and the corporate overlords like Delos and Serac, makes sense. Moses, with the assist from Yahweh, does not show them any mercy. It was a complete slaughter. Moreover, after the golden calf incident, Moses along with the Levites go through the camp and kill 3,000 Israelites. In other words, Dolores turning on her own kind in Season 2, conforms to the narrative of Exodus: those who do not "get" it and conform to the will of the hero are liquidated. And then there is that scene last episode when Dolores and Caleb look down on the "Promise Land", the place that she hoped could be the place where her kind would be relocated. Another Moses moment.

    [​IMG]

    In short, if you feel like you have no one too root for, then blame the writer(s) of Exodus. We are supposed to empathize with Dolores who will hopefully liberate hosts and maybe, just maybe all of humankind.

     
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  19. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    That's interesting. I never made the Exodus connection, which is further complicated because hosts are machines designed to allow humans to achieve greater freedoms. This, in turn, is complicated by the DELOS objective of using these machines and sensors in the hats to feed big data machines with information about humans.

    We are now in a maze of humans enslaving machines enslaving humans enslaving machines. It involves many pharoah figures and many moses figures. It also shows how the backstories of both humans and robots can be reprogrammed, as the youtube video highlights how Caleb's backstory is nonsense. The show in essence conflates humans and machines in a way that is creepy and builds distrust in every character.

    I thought I had a pretty good handle on the morality of all this by focusing on the tenet that human freedom must be valued higher than anything. But the story is now so convoluted and the notion of free will has been confused by the machine learning proposition that everyone's path in life is preordained.

    With this proposition there can be no exodus from slavery to freedom because everything is slavery and there is no difference between humans and machines. It pretty much kills the chance to relate to Caleb more than to the hosts. To my thinking, the significance of Caleb's name was not the Hebrew connection so much as the Ex Machina connection.

    In Ex Machina, the Caleb character makes the critical mistake of trusting the machines more than their human creator. It remains to be seen if Caleb in WW will do this as well, but that seems to be the thrust of the narrative. I think the allusions to Exodus are more than a stretch at this point, and the story of Exodus is not at all supposed to be about a slaughter of Egyptians, which seems to be Dolores' mission.

    A note about the production values: I agree with you that the writing has taken a step back this season but even more than that, on a popcorn enjoyment level, the fight scenes are suffering. In the park, the scenes and effects were choreographed to perfection but as I said in a previous post the show has bitten off more than it can chew in creating a world beyond the park.

    The low point was in the car chase a couple of weeks ago but turning Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton into martial arts action stars is not much better. It takes a lot of talent beyond just learning the moves to be action stars and as good as these actresses are, they wheels are starting to come off. Still one of the best shows on TV but it seems like the show's creators have taken things too far and shifted the focus too many times this season.
     
  20. GentleSenator

    GentleSenator what if

    Location:
    Aloha, OR
    good god, talk about once again petering out at the very end. i was sincerely and thoroughly bored by this finale. this review pretty much sums up how i felt:

    In its season finale, Westworld offers a shallow hope

     
  21. GregM

    GregM Ready to cross that fine line

    Location:
    Daddyland, CA
    It was an opportunity missed, for sure. The critical cop-out was when Caleb resurrected Dolores and they had the key exchange about free will. The writers had a real opportunity to dig deep and pay off the mess they had given us this season and instead we got some BS about free choice being "f'ing hard". I guess I see where they were going with it and they came close but it missed the mark. Listening to Lisa Joy wax philosophic about how AI is more human than real intelligence, you get the sense that she is rudderless with no real convictions about the value of humanity. No wonder the show won't go there. It's just meaningless sci fi at this point.
     
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  22. Lonson

    Lonson Just a Lucky So-and-so

    I don't agree with the Exodus connection at all really. There's more of a connection to the Nexus 6 storyline of Blade Runner/Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep than any Biblical book to my way of thinking.

    I actually seem to see a deeper undercurrent to the writing this season than others seem to and that's fine with me. I've watched each episode except the finale three times so far, watching each three times before the next airs, and I admit I found more detail and a great sense of scope repeat watching.

    I adored the fact that Maeve got to gaze over the beginning of the chaotic post-Rehoboam world and repeat to Caleb what she had said last season: "'This is a new world; And in this world, you can be whatever you want to be." (Paraphrased to keep within guidelines) I do see that it's only in the opened up chaotic situation in this controlled, closed world that free will can happen, and it will be interesting to see whether free will flourishes in the next season or is stamped out by a flesh or iron heel.

    I definitely can see the complaints about action sequences but I also feel that in many instances they intentionally "seem off" as I have mentioned above. Actions that are not part of the strategy imposed on the world seem surreal by their very estranged nature, seeming as shockingly unplanned and unprepared for as the "violent ends" that occurred in the WestWorld massacre. Just not supposed to happen, and the favor goes to the bold who have the advantage of surprise and intention.

    I'm looking forward to re-watching this season and really looking forward to the next.
     
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  23. GreggF

    GreggF Forum Resident

    Location:
    New Jersey
    Same here. I have found that repeat viewings have been revelatory in terms of my appreciation for the story line and the many, many details packed into this series.
     
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  24. stereoptic

    stereoptic Anaglyphic GORT Staff

    Location:
    NY
    I agree. It also helps when I turn on the closed captioning. There is too much mumbled dialog, especially frustrating when you are trying to listen for details.
    I thought that the premise of Season 3 was very clever - humans are pre-programmed much like the hosts were, but with different intent. However, the season IMO, was just too convoluted. I am also not a fan of fast action fight scenes, which have practically dominated the last two episodes.
    I gave up counting cliches at the end as Serac is slowly torturing Dolores, and desperately trying to save his precious Rehoboam.
     
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  25. vince

    vince Stan Ricker's son-in-law

    When Meave was watching all that go down, I thought of Darth Vader watching Luke get tortured!
    Happy belated May The Fourth!
     
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