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Louis Gossett Jr.,
A young computer whiz kid accidentally connects into a top secret super-computer which has complete control over the U.S. nuclear arsenal. It challenges him to a game between America and Russia, and he innocently starts the countdown to World War 3. Can he convince the computer he wanted to play a game and not the real thing ?Written by
Colin Tinto <email@example.com>
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WarGames is a film which in some ways seems hopelessly dated and in other ways seems to have been way ahead of its time. There's the Cold War angle, the United States and the Soviet Union gearing up for the seemingly inevitable World War III and the nuclear holocaust that would go along with it. It's a 1980s storyline which doesn't play as well all these years later with the Soviet Union long having been consigned to the dustbin of history. Nowadays the threat comes not from one communist superpower but from...well, pretty much anywhere it seems. But then again this movie, made in 1983, is at its heart really about a computer hacker. Who, in 1983, even knew there was such a thing as a computer hacker? Ahead of its time this movie is.
While certain aspects of the story may seem less relevant today there is no denying that WarGames is an effective, entertaining thriller. There may be some flaws in the movie's logic now and again, not everything we see seems entirely plausible. But the movie works. The story centers around Seattle high school student David Lightman, who is not doing particularly well in school. But it's not because he isn't bright, he certainly is. He just seems unmotivated and perhaps distracted by his obsession with computers. That obsession plays itself out as he attempts to hack into a video game manufacturer's computer...and instead unknowingly hacks into a Defense Department computer. In playing the "games" on that computer he almost starts World War III. Whoops.
Matthew Broderick plays David and his performance is excellent as he portrays a young teen who finds himself caught up in a situation behind his imagination. Ally Sheedy plays his friend Jennifer, a character who seems a tad bit underdeveloped. It often seems that Jennifer's just along for the ride rather than having any real purpose in the plot. But Sheedy does well with what she has to work with. Our young hero and heroine are very much the focus of the story, at times to detrimental effect. All the adults in the story seem rather one-dimensional. Some of them have very important roles to play in the story yet we never know much of anything about them. Besides David and Jennifer there's really only one other character for whom there is any kind of character development going on and that character doesn't even show up until rather late in the proceedings. But this is a movie which will definitely hold your attention. It's a tense, taut thriller which also has some heart to it. And it often looks spectacular, most notably in the scenes which take place inside the NORAD war room, a movie set which was stunningly impressive for its time and actually would still be stunningly impressive today. All in all WarGames is a well-made, suspenseful, enjoyable film. It has its flaws but it is still a film well worth seeing.
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