The neo-noir sci-fi Blade Runner is considered one of the greatest science-fiction films of all time and features many of the same themes as Westworld. In anticipation of the sequel Blade Runner 2049, we thought it would be good to visit the original. Craig, Heather, and Jake preview their discussion of the film.
Ex Machina is one of the best new sci-fi films of the past decade. And it deals with many of the same themes as Westworld. Craig, Jake, and a new guest Lauren Faber discuss the background of the film (0:49), their general impressions of the film and Alicia Vikander’s performance (8:00), Domhnall Gleason as Caleb (13:47), Oscar Isaac as Nathan (16:12), the setting and how it played a part of the story (25:04), the ending (31:19), the film’s low budget being a huge benefit (37:40), the idea of sexuality (42:17), and their favorite moments (48:40).
Hector returns! Rodrigo Santoro has been confirmed for Westworld Season 2. Also, Dolores doesn’t have a monopoly on female robots on the verge of sentience. In Ex Machina (2015), Ava was kicking ass and realizing consciousness. Craig, Jake, and Lauren Faber (a new voice on the podcast) preview their discussion of the sci-fi thriller.
Michael Crichton created another theme park that went horribly awry. Jurassic Park (1993) is one of the greatest and most influential sci-fi films of all time.
Craig and Jonathan talk about the background of the film (3:01), our memories of seeing the film for the first time compared to what we think of it now (8:37), how Jurassic Park isn’t a movie about dinosaurs (15:27), the 90s nostalgia (17:53), the superb acting (21:35), the raptors as villains (25:21), the theme park (34:24), the film’s major flaw (38:11), and their favorite moments (40:36).
If you love dystopian sci-fi and you haven’t watched Black Mirror, you need to change that immediately. A great episode to start with (and one that relates heavily to the themes of Westworld) is “Be Right Back.” Craig and Jake discuss the episode’s commentary on grief (3:19), how we portray ourselves online (8:59), consumerism (16:45), the problems with the androids (27:59), the brilliant foreshadowing (31:47), and the literary tradition of this episode’s premise (35:23).
A lot of Westworld fans are speculating about the world outside of the parks. A certain episode of Black Mirror provides some interesting ideas into what that might be like. Craig and Jake preview their discussion of “Be Right Back.”
East of West is an amazing graphic novel series that artfully melds the science fiction and western genres. It’s a great fix if you need something to help hold you over between now and season 2. Craig along with a new voice to the podcast, Wil Heflin, review volume one of the series. They discuss the comic’s background (2:08), Death as a protagonist (9:53), their general impressions (13:22), the artwork (19:55), their favorite moments (26:07), the importance of Image Comics (30:14), and a nod to the small, independent comic shop (38:39).
If you have a hankerin’ for more of the science-fiction western genre, pick up a copy of East of West, Vol. 1. Created by writer Jonathan Hickman and illustrator Nick Dragotta, East of West is an incredible graphic novel series and as soon as you’re finished with the first one, you’ll want to read the rest.
Craig Carter and Wil Heflin, a new voice on the podcast, give you a preview.
Craig, Heather, and Jake loved the original Ghost in the Shell (1995). And they were excited to see the new one. They discuss exciting Westworld news (:50), the new Ghost in the Shell (5:10), spoilers and the Fate of the Furious trailer (5:51), comparing the original with the live-action (7:29), the clarity of the film (7:58), the cybernetic enhancements (13:53), the geisha-bots and the spider tank (15:06), the depiction of “the net” (24:08), Kuze and the lack of existential crisis (25:38), Batou, Pilou Asbæk, Togusa, and the garbagemen (34:21), the advertisements (42:35), the big controversy (48:03), connections to Lost in Translation (54:05), and therm-optics and mind-comm (55:34).
We watched the original Ghost in the Shell (1995). Now we’re going to watch the new live-action version staring Scarlet Johannson. Craig, Heather, and Jake give you a preview.
Ghost in the Shell is considered one of the great science fiction anime films of all time—and for good reason. Craig, Heather, and Jake got together to review it in anticipation of the new version set to release at the end of March. They discuss facts about the movie and their general impressions (1:40), the film’s influences (8:43), the brilliant animation (14:30), the question of consciousness (19:54), sexuality and gender identity (28:10), favorite moments (36:22), and their thoughts about the 2017 version (45:07).
Artwork by Oksana Latysheva from The Noun Project
Considered one of the greatest anime films of all-time, Ghost in the Shell (1995) is a cyber-punk masterpiece. In anticipation of the modern reinterpretation coming out at the end of March, Craig, Heather, and Jake watched the original. Here’s a preview of their review of the movie.
Wild Wild West was the western/scif-fi/action/comedy/steampunk mashup we never knew we needed. Craig, Heather, and Jake review the 1999 classic.
They discuss 60s tv show upon which it is based (1:25), differences between the show and movie (3:48), facts about the movie (11:56), where they all were during the summer of 1999 (29:59), the film’s needless exposition and lack of physics or continuity (35:55), crossdressing Kevin Klein (42:27), how the movie was likely made for 13-year-old boys (44:47), the largely useless female characters (47:35), the amazing and terrible special FX (53:51), how long it actually takes to go west (59:29), Kevin Smith and the giant spider (1:00:34), why there hasn’t been a great steampunk movie yet (1:06:39), the brilliance of Kenneth Branagh (1:12:50), and why we still love the movie (1:18:59).
We watched the finale and it was amazing! Craig, Heather, and Jonathan talk about a few of their favorite moments from episode ten of Westworld, “The Bicameral Mind.” They discuss Jonathan’s crazy theory (1:24), Maeve’s secret code (2:28), Samuraiworld? (6:59), Dolores 1.0 (9:59), and Felix questioning his reality (16:14).
Craig Carter and Brian Sutorious dive deep into the ninth and penultimate episode of Westworld, “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” They discuss Stubbs’ run-in with the Ghost Nation (4:02), Maeve’s journey to hell and back (9:59), The Man in Black inching ever so close to the end of the maze (20:38), William, Logan, and Dolores partying Confederado style (38:26), Bernard’s journey of self-discovery (55:19), and Dolores and Arnold finding each other (1:07:16). Also stay tuned after the ending theme music for our theory of the week section (1:32:01).
Craig and Jake have a quick review about episode nine of Westworld, “The Well-Tempered Clavier.” They begin with a general discussion of the episode and the huge reveal and then talk about their favorite moments: Maeve’s puppeteering skills (7:02) and the photo of Logan’s sister (12:52).
Craig and Heather dive deep into the eighth episode of Westworld, “Trace Decay.” They discuss Ford’s continued machinations and their wide-reaching effects (3:27), Dolores traveling through time (32:21), The Man in Black’s true nature (45:15), Maeve’s escape attempt (57:07), and the theory of the week (1:22:51).
Craig, Heather, and Jonathan talk about a few of their favorite moments from episode eight of Westworld, “Trace Decay.” They discuss Maeve’s Jedi mind tricks (1:05), Bernard’s tortured existence (6:03), and The Man in Black bearing his soul for all to hear (11:48).
Craig and Heather dive deep into episode seven of Westworld, “Trompe L’oeil.” They discuss William and Dolores’ journey into Ghost Nation (2:37), Maeve taking control of her destiny (24:58), and deception and betrayal in Delos (45:24).
Craig, Heather, and Brian dive deep into episode six of Westworld, “The Adversary.” This episode we're changing up the format a bit. It's still chronological, but we’re covering entire story threads in separate sections. We discuss The Man in Black, Teddy, and the Union soldiers (2:56), Maeve and the surgery cats, Felix and Sylvester (17:14), and all the weird and wonderful developments of the Delos employees (46:53).