Title: WarGames Director: John Badham Year: 1983 Run time: 1hr 54m
“A teenager, bored by traditional high school subjects like biology but fascinated by computers, accidentally taps into the Pentagon’s top-secret computer… the USA’s NORAD system. He starts what he innocently believes is a computer game called “Global Thermonuclear War,” but the “game” is real. The Pentagon’s best minds cannot shut down or reprogram the supercomputer that is readying a missile attack against the USSR, and thereby unleash Armageddon. The teen and his girlfriend attempt to aid the helpless Pentagon and, in a frantic race against a ticking “doomsday clock,” try to persuade the computer to end the “game”.”
0:16 - Woah, the MGM lion. 2:22 - I wonder if I could get away with using ‘visibility’ as an excuse for being late. 4:26 - Ah, this is like what happens on the submarines. Gotcha. 6:54 - That Norad sign isn’t very imposing. 10:57 - Oh, it was a test. Phew, that was really tense. 12:57 - The WOPR. Hehehe. 19:14 - She rides a motorcycle, that’s way cool. 22:11 - “How can anyone get a D in Home Ec?” Well, Mr C could. 28:59 - Really? They were obsessed with Paris even back then? 29:58 - “The more complicated they are, the more they have to help you out.” 33:59 - That guy is like Proto-Sheldon. 39:41 - “How can it ask you that?” Oh, her mind would be blown by Siri. 50:21 - To win the game. 54:45 - OMG look at the entry to that bunker! 55:03 - That’s Strickland! Jesus, didn’t that guy ever have hair? 1:07:08 - This kid is a genius. 1:12:56 - I have no idea how he just got that phone to work. 1:19:28 - Never have yellow and red flickering LEDs looked so menacing. 1:24:36 - It’s all gone very existential. 1:31:17 - I feel a bit bad for the guy who said the computers shouldn’t be trusted and is now having to deal with the fallout. 1:33:33 - Now THAT is a bunker. 1:37:44 - Love that the countdown voiceover lady is an actual human being. 1:40:32 - I think now’s the time I can say that Joshua has gone rogue. 1:42:30 - Seriously, there’s a time and a place for I Told You So, Ally.
Watched this a few times in the past, but as always, I could only remember the odd sequence here and there. With no real new films pressing for our attention, we decided to delve into the archives - particularly as there was a reference in the recent Captain America film. Plus, it’s about NORAD and they track Santa so what’s not to love?
I loved it! Amazingly, despite being a film that is all about technology, it didn’t age that badly at all. The upscaling to HD was good, and aside from the state of the green screen monitors and the giant phone modem thing, it was actually very well done, believable with barely a plot hole to be seen.
It’s also interesting because it feels like a film that you couldn’t really remake, the world has moved on since then. It’s very of its time, and yet absolutely watchable thirty years later.