A long time ago, when the galaxy far, far away barely even existed in the mind of its creator, there was Westworld.

That 1973 movie, the directorial debut of novelist Michael Crichton, was built on what is now a shopworn premise: In the near future, rich folks visit a high-tech theme park, assured that nothing can go wrong, but something goes very wrong. (Crichton himself was to revisit the exact same premise two decades later, much more successfully, with Jurassic Park.)

In positing a kind of real-life videogame, populated by servile actor robots who provide all the sex and violence you could ask for, Westworld was way ahead of its time. It was a hit at the box office and on the awards shelf. It sparked a sequel in 1976 and a very short-lived 1980 TV series. Read more…

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‘Westworld’ is back. Should you saddle up and join the posse?