Starring: Matthew Broderick, Ally Sheedy
Directed by: John Badham
Written By: Lawrence Lasker, Walter F. Parkes
Rating: PG (US) Running Time: 1 hr 50 min
War Games is certainly a product of the Cold-War era times it was created. But its central themes still resonate today. Like how much control do we hand over to computers? And how do we protect important institutions in these days of an open and freely available internet? These themes are well covered in John Badham’s film and told in a way that entertains and educates. Matthew Broderick is perfect as the teenager that unknowingly stumbles across a top secret military computer, and accidentally starts world war three. His naivety causes the initial problems, but then also doesn’t hold him back after he’s caught and encounters a narrow minded system unwilling to listen and understand the size of the issue. War Games is a great movie, and a great reminder that we shouldn’t totally remove the human equation from systems that effect real people.
This film has a similar tone to another Broderick movie – Project X. It’s also nothing like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off! There are some serious things going on here, but the film communicates these themes with a light touch.
Best viewing format:
I would say most of this movie would look fine on a regular TV. Until the finally of the film, which really needs a big screen. It’s not likely you’ll have the opportunity to see this on the big screen, so a HD viewing at home will do.
Best moment for me: << spoiler >>
The finally. When the computer Joshua plays out hundreds of nuclear attack simulations in rapid succession. The war room is just blasted with flashing light as we see countries on the world map get repeatedly wiped out. Eventually all the screens go black, and Joshua announces the best way to win a nuclear war is not to start one. As Joshua puts it – ‘The best way to win is not to play.’