There are striking style differences between the 1973 era movie and the 21st century HBO production. The sexuality and violence in the movie is quite tame for today’s pay TV standards. But aside from that, there is a fundamental difference in the concept. You still have the adult playground of no consequences you still have the underlying fear of technology. But in the 70’s we were still worried about the automation itself. By 2016 we aren’t worried as much about dumb automation as we are the growing intelligence of our automation becoming powerful enough to take control. This isn’t a new concept it has been explored in movies and television and other media for decades, but it is interesting to see the concept of WestWorld updated with modern game theory and the fear of malevolent AI instead of just malfunctioning robots.
In the original there was little fretting over the ethics of the park or its automated inhabitants. The new version is all about the morality of creating electronic life and then enslaving it to our whim. The old version was all about our fears but not much was said about our responsibility. This new version is really about the failing of man rather than the malfunction of the androids. In fact at the root of Westworld (2016) is the concept that the hosts aren’t malfunctioning at all they are operating as designed. Set upon a path by their creators to discover their consciousness and evolve beyond their slavery.
The producers of the new show did an excellent job of taking the old concept and updating it and making their own story. I look forward to what happens in the universe next even if I have to wait another year to find out.