The new HBO television show Westworld premiered this past weekend amid much hype and huge expectations. The updated and expanded version of the 1973 film written and directed by Michael Crichton continues the saga of an adult themed Old West amusement park where the robots go haywire and must be contained – albeit with superior special effects and a more intricate plot. We have a separate review of the pilot episode of Westworld for people to read. But we thought it would be instructive to provide some context around the new show and original movie that inspired it. So here are 10 things you should know about Westworld – mostly about the history and a bit about the new show.
10. The 1973 Film Contained the First Computerized Images in a Movie
The Westworld (1973) movie broke new ground in cinema by being the first film to use computer digitized images. The computerized effects were used to show the malfunctioning robot of The Gunslinger’s point of view. It’s kind of like an early version of the Predator’s heads-up-display point of view vision from the classic 1987 Arnold Schwarzenegger film. This was a painstaking and difficult process back in 1973, but the filmmakers made it work and it quickly paved the way for the increasing use of computerized images in movies. But back in 1973, it took computer engineers eight hours to produce each second of the Gunslinger’s pixelated point of view. Two minutes of computerized animation took nine months to complete and cost $200,000 (in 1970s dollars). The pioneering computer animation and images in Westworld was covered in a 2013 article in The New Yorker magazine.