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WarGames (25th Anniversary Edition)
DVD disk
08.07.2008 By: Mathew Plale
WarGames (25th Anniversary Edition) order
Director:
John Badham

Actors:
Matthew Broderick
Ally Sheedy
Dabney Coleman

Rating:
Movie:
Extras:
Overall:

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WHAT'S IT ABOUT?
When a lonesome computer gamer (Broderick) challenges a new network to 'Global Thermonuclear War,' he accidentally sets in motion the plans for WWIII.
IS IT A GOOD MOVIE?
The next (or first, more likely) time your computer asks you, “Shall we play a game?” you’d best settle for a nice game of chess…or take it to RadioShack.

Matthew Broderick (in his second film) is David Lightman, a 17-year-old computer whiz whose hacking skills have been limited to altering his and his classmate/“girlfriend”’s (the too-cute Ally Sheedy, also in her second film) Biology grades. That is, until he reads about a new video game company whose catalogue of games holds Checkers, Tic-Tac-Toe, and…Global Thermonuclear War?

Of course, David insists on playing the latter (as a Soviet, no less), sending nukes to Las Vegas and his hometown of Seattle. But here’s where WarGames goes full throttle: David hasn’t cracked into a Risk-like game, but WOPR (War Operation Plan Response), a NORAD military supercomputer that simulates WWIII. Now that the blueprints for global annihilation have been laid, WOPR won’t stop playing the “game.”

Many movies of the ‘80s have the misfortune of, well, being made in the ‘80s. The surprising thing is that, after 25 years, WarGames still works. The technology is dated, sure (the PCs are loud enough to set off a car alarm from two blocks away), but writers Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes (whose screenplay was recognized with an Oscar nomination) steer from the ‘80s hoopla (ie Huey Lewis and the News-centric soundtracks) that’s left so many ‘80s films at camp value.

Of all of director John Badham’s early works, WarGames will hold up the best. The combo of lightheartedness and charm (you can thank Sheedy for that) with thrills and threat doom keep WarGames fresh in the 21st-century.
THE EXTRAS
Commentary from Director John Badham and Writers Lawrence Lasker and Walter Parkes: The trio provides a background on WarGames, each chiming in and triggering a dialogue between each other. A bit of the information is found on the next feature, but this is still worth a listen.

Loading WarGames (44:59): This extensive feature takes a look at many aspects of WarGames: writers Lasker and Parkes’ research, casting of Broderick and Sheedy, director Martin Brest’s hiring/firing, filming, effects, and much, much more. New interviews with the main players highlight this addition.

Attack of the Hackers (13:42): Experts and hackers gather to discuss the history of hacking, techniques (a Cap’n Crunch whistle?!), (in)accuries in WarGames, and more. An interesting inclusion.

Inside NORAD: Cold War Fortress (10:50) takes a look at the history of the actual facility featured prominently in WarGames.

Tic Tac Toe: A True Story (4:28): This tongue-in-cheek bit offers a history and “How-To” for the universal game.

Also included on this 25th Anniversary Edition is an Interactive Superpower Weapons Brief Gallery, a Sneak Peak at WarGames – The Dead Code, the WarGames Theatrical Trailer, and a Downloadable Screensaver.
FINAL DIAGNOSIS
WarGames is one of those movies that comes on at 10am on network television that you just can't turn off--it's too exciting! This 25th Anniversary Edition, complete with a handful of informative (and new) features, is worth a rental for newcomers and a purchase for fans.
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