|"A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?"|
|Time: 114 mins.|
Academy Award nominations for Best Cinematography, Original Screenplay and Sound.
SYNOPSIS: A young computer whizz 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.
BOTTOM LINE: While this might seem to be a very silly concept these days, back in 1983 when computers were mysterious and the USSR something to fear, WARGAMES was a thriller that left you more than a little uneasy upon leaving the theater. Watching it now makes me think how cute everyone (including myself) was back then. Broderick begins his career here as a smart-ass, goof-off that he will later perfect in FERRIS BUELLER. Because none of us really knew how computers worked this was a scenario that seemed all too real. The government's reaction to the supposed threat, which was to go no holds barred after Russia, despite physical evidence to the contrary, also super scary. Forget Freddie and Jason, this is the film that left me with nightmares. One can only hope the person in charge of pushing the button is smarter than the officials portrayed here. In fact, their strident over-acting lends itself more to comic relief than anxiety for Broderick. Though the pro-peace message is quite overly stated the machine finally learns nobody "wins" a war the screenplay has more depth and intelligence than one expects, exploring man's relationship to machines on many levels. The computer effects still hold up fairly well considering how drastically technology has changed. If anything, it's a fun, exciting flick to show kids how things used to work in the world before the PC, when our enemies were obvious and easy to find.