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Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, Computer Chess transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future. Written by
How do you make a movie interesting when it's about boring people doing boring things in boring ways? 'Computer Chess' doesn't have the answer. It's maddeningly dull. It's not funny or dramatic in any way, it seems at least three times as long as it is, none of the characters are engaging, and the movie fails completely to make what's so important to them seem important to the audience.
I kept thinking of 'King of Kong', which not only made something as trivial as arcade games seem like life and death to the people involved but to me as well. I bought into that subculture entirely. While it's not a documentary, 'Computer Chess' could have had the same effect had it been... anything at all, really. I don't even know what kind of tone it's going for, unless the aim was an airless, flatlining drone intended to make you chew your fingers off due to brain-clanging boredom.
When things get weird towards the end the movie did the impossible and lost my attention even further. I'm amazed I made it all the way through. Was the world really crying out for a mockumentary about chess tournaments with nothing whatsoever to engage you? It all seems completely pointless. I have no idea why this thing exists.
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