thedeadparrot: (bloody hell)
thedeadparrot ([personal profile] thedeadparrot) wrote2017-04-24 06:36 pm
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Westworld

I have a lot of feelings about this show, most of them negative. It's so well-made, but it also feels hollow. Maybe that is an apt metaphor, considering the subject matter.

The visuals are gorgeous. The production values are top notch. The acting is great. The writing, for the most part, is even... good? But. But. I kind of still hated it?

My thoughts are pretty scattered, but here are some of them in list form.


Here are two spoilery reviews that helped me articulate my own: AV Club's, Sepinwall's.

  • The plotting of this show is compelling. I basically binged it all in a few days. There are so many mysteries floating around, and the answers are even satisfying for the most part. But they also don't seem to matter? I will get to this later. But a big reveal happens: Bernard is a robot! Bernard is a robot version of Arnold! William is the younger version of Ed Harris! And I usually don't feel anything. These aren't characters we care deeply about. They are cogs in a plot. The reveals have no impact.

  • So. Thematically. This show wants to be about so many different things. There are so many speeches (that aren't even that bad!) about consciousness, about humanity, about being, about money and power and all sorts of things. But a speech isn't the same thing as exploration of an idea. It's just a speech. The show is content to make the actors give these showy speeches and then go back to the gunfights.

  • The dudeliness. I don't think the show wants to be a show about dudes and how dudes think. I think it wants to be a show about humanity. But it feels like a show about dudes.

    So many times, I see a scene where it feels like the show wants me to to consider it a moral dilemma. But it's all white straight dude dilemmas? What if you were really into this woman, but she was being attacked by bandits? Would you save her? Would you save her and then fuck her anyway? My answer to that being: Uh, I am a woman. I empathize with the woman in the situation. Not the dude bystanders. But thanks for asking the difficult questions, I guess.

    There are a bunch of female characters, but they all feel stuck being reactionary. Maeve's rise to consciousness and rebellion was programmed into her. Delores wanders around confused across two different time periods. Theresa and Elise are murdered as they investigate what Ford was up to. Charlotte wanders around being a corporate bitch. For all that Delores is one of the central characters, we are never asked to truly empathize with her. She remains one of the mysteries to the very end.

  • The misanthropy. I have a hard time with misanthropy in my media. I have a very visceral dislike of Mark Millar properties (Wanted, Kingsmen, etc), because of this. Westworld is a very misanthropic show. Just a nonstop parade of how people are awful. And people are awful! But it's just wearying to have yet another show that seems to basically masturbate itself over how bad people are. (People are bad and like fucking things, so let's show them fucking all the robots! People are bad and like killing things, so let's have all the murder scenes!) Ugh. After Sense8, my tolerance for this sort of hatred of people has gone down.

  • I did appreciate how many people of color there were in this show. In a variety of different roles. Jeffery Wright got all the things to do as Bernard/Arnold! But part of me is icked out by the fact that they had three black cast members with major parts and all of them are light-skinned. Also, the Asian guy is the sweet, mostly asexual nerd character. Of course.

  • On a shallow note, I love the piano/orchestral versions of Radiohead songs.

hannah: (Library stacks - fooish_icons)

[personal profile] hannah 2017-04-25 12:11 am (UTC)(link)
It was definitely a show I appreciated more than I liked. The construction of the presentation, and how the reveals didn't negate anything that came before, was probably my favorite aspect of the whole thing. Which I know is sort of like praising a house for having really good water pressure. There's so much with character that should've been done better. Or more. Just...more.

And like I said on Twitter, I just had to laugh when a man talked about "creating life." Because come on, women do that all the time.
Edited 2017-04-25 00:12 (UTC)