Cast: Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, Jeffrey Wright
Release Date: November 7, 2017
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Disc Rating: 9/10
Based on the film written by best-selling author Michael Crichton (ER, Jurassic Parkfilms), Westworld is a dark odyssey about the dawn of artificial consciousness and evolution of sin. Set at the intersection of the near future and a reimagined past, the series explores a world in which every human appetite, no matter how noble or depraved, can be indulged.
Please Note: Warner Bros. Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Post. The opinions I share are my own.
Inspired by the Michael Crichton film of the same name and created for television by Jonathan Nolan (creator of TV’s Person of Interest and co-writer of The Dark Knight) and his wife and creative partner Lisa Joy (TV’s Burn Notice, Pushing Daisies); the first season of ‘Westworld’ introduces viewers to a meticulously crafted and ever expansive world populated by artificial humans, animals and more where guests able to afford the extravagant cost of admittance can indulge in the most depraved acts imaginable with the artificial hosts there solely to serve their every desire, regardless of how despicable or sadistic. But, in a world filled with so many of these perfectly crafted artificial people indistinguishable between the real things, what happens when they start to unexpectedly achieve consciousness and remember things they were never meant to, as well as make attempts to control their own lives?
‘Westworld’ is quite simply a phenomenal piece of television, and even after only one season has already managed to easily find itself among my absolute favorite currently running shows. Constantly brimming with gorgeous detail and breathtaking scenery, while additionally offering numerous mysteries and shocking twists that should have no problem keeping viewers on their toes as well as blowing their mind with at least a number of the reveals it provides along the course of the first ten-episode season. Expertly crafted and executed, it never disappoints in any aspect whether it be the constantly capable guidance and the cleverly developed storyline or the truly marvelous cast that’s comprised of numerous talented individuals including Evan Rachel Wood, Thandie Newton, James Marsden, Jeffrey Wright, Ed Harris, Jimmi Simpson, Luke Hemsworth, Ed Harris and Anthony Hopkins along with many more, nearly all providing noteworthy performances in each of their respective roles. ‘Westworld’ is a magnificent and intricately detailed (both in terms of appearance and writing) series with no shortage of complex puzzles and mysteries at its center that are liable to keep you constantly guessing and thoroughly intrigued. I cannot possibly urge folks highly enough to give this masterful piece of television a shot when you have the opportunity to do so, particularly fellow fans of Jonathan Nolan’s previous series ‘Person of Interest’ and his capable work in general. Anyone who appreciates beautiful, incredibly clever and thought provoking television that repeatedly impresses won’t want to even consider missing out on this one.
Overall, fellow diehard fans of the series who have already had the pleasure of this outstanding debut season will definitely want to strongly consider picking up a copy of ‘Westworld: Season One: The Maze’ on Blu-ray (or possibly 4K Ultra HD for those who have the capability). This gorgeous 3-disc Blu-ray set not only delivers impressive high definition video and audio presentations on every episode and a healthy collection of supplemental content, but it also sports a beautiful and durable case that shouldn’t disappoint. Those who haven’t yet had the chance to give this magnificent series a whirl will also want to strongly consider doing so, especially fans of Jonathan Nolan’s work who along with Lisa Joy has crafted a series here that might already be more impressive and enthralling than his previous show ‘Person of Interest’ which was nothing short of phenomenal itself. ‘Westworld’ is easily one of the finest shows currently on television and already one of my personal favorites; I can’t possibly recommend it highly enough to anyone that’s even the slightest bit intrigued.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Westworld: Season One: The Maze’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the show’s original 1.78:1 Aspect Ratio on all of the debut season’s episodes. The video presentations look fantastic as a whole and provide sharp, clean and beautifully detailed presentations on every included episode. They hold up impressively even during the numerous fast moving, heavily populated and darkly lit sequences, never allowing anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, these are wonderful high definition video presentations that should have little trouble satisfying fellow fans of this remarkable series.
The Blu-ray release features a 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on all 10 Season One episodes. These multichannel soundtracks deliver crisp, clean and notably aggressive audio presentations on each episode. They constantly take advantage of all five available channels in order to send plenty of bullets, debris, crowd chatter, bits of dialogue and plenty more regularly whipping throughout the various speakers, and never causing any dialogue or other simultaneously occurring audio elements to become distorted or rendered inaudible in the process. Overall, these are fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtracks that perfectly compliment the series and offer a hard hitting and consistently immersive experience that shouldn’t disappoint.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Westworld: Season One: The Maze’ includes a notable collection of bonus content spread between all three discs that takes viewers deeper into bringing the series to life courtesy of numerous behind the scenes Featurettes that explore different aspects of the show and featuring interviews/comments with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘About The Series’ (running approximately 2 minutes in length), ‘An Invitation To The Set’ (running approximately 2 minutes), ‘Welcome to Westworld’ (approximately 8 minutes), ‘Realizing The Dream: First Week on the Set of Westworld’ (11 minutes), ‘Imagining The Main Title’ (14 minutes), ‘Reality of A.I. in Westworld’ (4 minutes), ‘The Key To The Chaos’ (8 minutes) and ‘Crafting The Narrative’ (29 minutes). We are also treated to a collection of ‘The Big Moment’ Featurettes that explore the noteworthy reveals in season one. Please be advised that these titles may include major spoilers for the season! The included ‘The Big Moment’ Featurettes are: ‘Teddy Versus The man in Black’ (running approximately 2 minutes), ‘A Host Self-Sabotages’ (approximately 2 minutes), ‘Maeve Gets An Answer’ (2 minutes), ‘Bernard Finds An Unlikely Saboteur’ (1 minute), ‘Dr. Ford’s Blood Sacrifice’ (2 minutes), ‘The Truth About Bernard’ (2 minutes) and ‘Dr. Ford’s New Narrative’ (4 minutes). Also included are a ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 2 minutes) and a physical ‘Corporate Guidebook’ booklet that serves as a faux handbook for new employees of Westworld.