This file was generated 2003-03-08 07:10 GMT. This movie's information hasn't changed since 2001-01-28.
Scott Ventura >> Movie Commentary >> April 1998 >> WarGames
Gotta love WarGames. Deep in the Cold War, thousands of missiles threaten to destroy humanity. Are humans willing to take the steps to annihilate humanity? This question provides the tension that drives WarGames. On the surface, it's about a loner teenager who accidentally starts a military computer on the path to an unprovoked nuclear armageddon, but deep down, it's the man vs. machine material that makes it exciting.
And oh what a machine we have! The WOPR (love the name) has more blinking lights than you can shake a stick at, and it makes weird noises that aren't just a cooling system. The machine is filmed in motion, either with close-ups of the lights and the LCD display (a countdown to the end of the game of war) or with a moving camera. For convenience, the console output is copied to a voice synthesizer, which is a little too prosodic to believe. A corollary: humans in this movie always vocalize while they type (unless it's just been dictated to them), another great convenience. The beauty of the synthesized voice, though, is the innocence that it portrays, making it a very spooky villain.
And what about the actors? Ah, to think back to a time when Matthew Broderick was the ultimate teenage actor. Ally Sheedy is here, too. Both are given dialogue that establishes the characters far beyond what a modern making of this movie might've had. When Broderick's character explains that he can't swim, it's great character development, something that's sorely lacking now. We also have Barry Corbin and Dabney Coleman playing two men who can hardly stand to be in the same room together, and their unvoiced dislike for each other is palpable. John Wood is possibly the least believable as the scientist who has given up on the world.