A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.A young man finds a back door into a military central computer in which reality is confused with game-playing, possibly starting World War III.
When two missile controllers fail to launch a missile during a test launch due to uncertainty, government bigwig McKittrick (Dabney Coleman) introduces his superiors to WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), a giant super-computer that repeatedly plays games with itself to generate stats and results of possible nuclear war outcomes. The operation is given the go-ahead, and workers find themselves replaced by this metallic super- brain, that will deal with any potential nuclear threat to the US. High school punk David (Matthew Broderick) is a highly intelligent computer- obsessive who uses his hacking skills to change his grades on his high school system. When he learns that a company is releasing new breakthrough games in California, he scans the area for computers in order to hack into their mainframe. He stumbles upon a computer that lists many strange war games, including 'Global Thermonuclear War'. He begins a game, choosing to be Russia, but unbeknownst to him, he is actually playing WOPR who is playing the game for real. Soon David is brought in by the FBI who suspect him of working with the Russians, while the threat of global nuclear destruction lingers as WOPR carries on playing the 'game'.
I viewed this film quite often when I was a child as I owned the VHS, but admittedly the film went over my head somewhat and I found it quite boring. Watching it now, I was shocked to find out this is a very good film, and it makes for a gripping adult thriller, while maintaining that 1980's kids-film-feel. The technical aspects shown on screen are extremely well-researched, and David's hacking activities make for exciting and interesting viewing. It's also fascinating to see the early giant, clunky computers of the 1980's and an early portrayal of the Internet. Overall, this is a highly entertaining thriller that is well acted, scripted and filmed (and even received three Academy Award nominations), and has plenty of those nostalgic qualities for us children of the 80's.
- Jan 11, 2012