Series of Movie: Morley Robertson: Wake up to today’s world seen in “West World”

Due to the spread of movie distribution services, movie going is no longer a special activity and it is easy to share opinions or search for recommendations. However, because of this, I feel movies are being “consumed.” This series introduces works that follow a personal theme from celebrities who love movies.

For this memorable first time, we spoke with Morley Robertson. He is a central media celebrity being, among other things, an international journalist, and a musician. He works in many fields from politics and finance to sub culture, and introduces movies that should be watched, especially with the current evil of Corona.

Not too heavy SF work has evolved into a deep story over time This terrifying work depicts the world as it is

During the self-isolation period under the state of emergency due to the increased infection rate of the novel corona virus, the series that had the biggest effect on me was “West world.” I can’t stop watching the HBO dramatization of the 1973 movie. The global situation, entertainment industry, etc. both in Japan and abroad are all linked to this work. Although only 3 seasons have been released, I enjoyed it so much that I’ve watched it all the way through 3 times during self-isolation.

I saw the 1973 movie at the cinema with my parents when I was 10 years old. Set in Delos, a giant theme park built in the desert, the human-looking android hosts would welcome the visiting wealthy guests who had to pay a high entrance fee. In Delos, the guests could live out their wildest fantasies such as killing or raping the android hosts. If a host was damaged, it would be taken in for repairs, have its memory wiped and sent back out to the theme park to live in the system again, as if nothing had happened. However, the androids malfunctioned and went on a rampage. It was a simple and clear story. Although it was easy for a child to understand, at the time the internet didn’t exist. So watching it now, the androids had extremely lousy weaknesses, the specifications were not outside the range of the androids, also it didn’t touch problems of ecology, disparity, or race, making it a not-too-heavy work of Sci-fi.

However, the HBO remake had none of the simplicity or lightness. It is a thought provoking work containing cultural messages throughout, and is extremely detailed, complex, and shocking. Because I’ve watched it 3 times, I caught all the messages scattered throughout. Also, I finished watching it around the time when the huge demonstrations kicked off in Minneapolis due to the death of George Floyd. Then other race issues, Trump’s administration and conflict between people holding different values and synched with this work, which made me think there was a mysterious connection and so I watched it more. I recommend everyone to watch it.

“Living by Free-will” is all a lie
There are no fair rules in this world

The world depicted in the HBO remake is the modern global society. This was a great discovery. So what is the same? The happiness of some preselected people is after a relentless push towards an end and the world becomes increasingly unfair the closer one gets to the end.

For example, there were many nods towards if America changed places with China. First America. Under the Trump administration, the number of black people dying to the novel corona virus is double that of white people. Also, black people are being killed for no reason by white police officers. How about China? China has infiltrated Hong Kong and restricted the human rights of the Hong Kong people to the same level as the Chinese. Further, the police have total reign to do as they like. Surely this is a world in which there is no such thing as a fair rule?

In short, due to the actions of people exercising their free will and “normal” society falls, what will happen to the world in the drama when the “fixed system” is threatened? Although the willful hosts get frozen in ice, isn’t this extremely similar to current day America or China? There are people trying to go against the system in this severe world, there are more like a mouse running around a maze. I believe that if a person tries hard, they will be rewarded according to the rules of the world, but in a programmed culture, that is impossible. That’s a messed up world right? But this can be seen in the actual world. It’s terrible but true and common sense.

Wake up! Be rebellious!
You can see the “truth” by thinking for yourself

The protagonist in this story is a female host called Delores and is the same as other hosts in that she was programmed not to inconveniences to maintain the fake world of Delos (marketing side). However, something happened and she woke up. She became aware of all things good and bad and her ego made an appearance. Namely, Delores lost her usefulness to the marketing side and was no longer a happy person who protected the order of the world. She changed her life style to match her will and rebelled against the humans to become a true rebel.

This incident planted a seed in me and reflected a story of hope against this evil corona. I had the epiphany the everyone should live as Dolores did. It’s a shame, but I feel that with this evil corona there has been an increase in attacks against, or envy towards other people over insignificant things. The novel corona virus exposes unsustainable lifestyles and everyone suddenly became worried. People have the same settings as the androids in that we don’t see inconveniences but the novel corona virus has highlighted inconvenience after inconvenience. Yet a person whose imagination or agency remains as it was before corona would be arrogant in thinking that only they were alright and if something were to go wrong, they could be relieved in blaming a person by making a complaint. Then, similar to a tuning pressure, this continues to spread.

I considered that reality. Is it really that bad thinking for yourself? Attacking someone is easy, however the aggressive energy that wells up in your heart should be converted into a power to release instead of the conventional power contained within oneself. If someone can’t do that, they should be put on ice. In other words, “Wake up!” But understand that the only one who can wake you up is yourself. Someone who understands this is, I think, a very strong person. Who made the invisible cage in this world? What is the society that is best for you? Rather than evaluating a society full of lies, or a society created to benefit the privileged class, I think a true human being overcomes risks by thinking for yourself, like Delores who values “truth.” Personally, I think I am Delores. I’ll always be a rebel.

Photography Teppei Hoshida
Edit Kei Watabe


Morley Robertson

Educated in both Japan and the U.S., he was accepted to the University of Tokyo and Harvard University. Since graduating from Harvard, he has been active in the media as a TV personality, musician and international journalist. He currently appears regularly on Nippon Television's "Sukkiri". He is the author of the book "Warukuare! Chissoku Nippon, Jiyuniikiru shikoho" (Small Press) is now on sale. Photography Kazuyoshi Shimomura