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May 21, 1983 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1983-05-21

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The Michigan Daily - Saturday, May 21, 1983 - Page 11
Computer wars: fact or fiction?

(Continuedfrom Pages)
(Matthew Broderick) is playing one of
his own. After tapping into his high
school's computer and switching his
and his girlfriend Jennifer's (Ally
Sheedy) science grades, David attem-
pts to steal the latest computer game
from a California software firm. He
fails in this endeavor, but hooks into a
much larger catch: the Defense Depar-
tment's computer that enacts nuclear
war simulations, and controls our
national defense systems. Unwittingly,
David engages the computer in a
nuclear war game that is, to the people
in our defense control center, in-
distinguishable from reality.
Huge video screens in the war room
show Soviet submarines moving into at-
tack positions, and Soviet bombers
streaking toward their targets. In
response to these computer game-
generated illusions, the United States
begins to actually deploy its forces. The

Soviets respond to these deployments,
we counter-deploy, and so begins a
series of inevitable steps that bring us
to the brink of nuclear war.
It is this inevitability that gives the
film much of its power. We watch as the
two nations pursue their hopelessly
logical nuclear chess game, but like
David, we feel powerless to stop the
men at the controls. Unable to convince
to defense officials that it is all just a
game, David enlists the help of Jen-
nifer, and Dr. Stephen Falken (John
Wood), the designer of the defense
computer.
The three make it to the war room
with little time to spare. Unaware that
the Soviet missile launchings depicted
on the video screen are computer
simulations, the defense commander is
about to launch our own missiles. "You
are listening to a machine," Falken
says to the commander, but he appears
unmoved.

What makes WarGames such an ex-
citing and involving movie is the
quality of its performances and its in-
telligent structure. It is to Badham's
and the actor's credit that the charac-
ters in WarGames are not over-
whelmed by the huge sets and the scope
of the subject matter. David, who is
engagingly played by Matthew
Broderick, is a computer whiz, but not a
computer jerk. He's a normal high
school kid, and is one of the few in the
movie who knows that computers are
something for people to play with, and
not be played by.
Another who knows this is Dr.
Falken. As warmly played by John
Wood, Falken is a burned-out genius
who has too often seen his inventions
fall into destructive misuse. He is like a
kid who is too familar with reality. In-
stead of having a radio-controlled air-
plane or boat, Falken has a radio-
controlled pterodactyl.

These and other characters keep
WarGames on a human and involving
scale, and with its structure provide the
thrills. Rather than forcing scenes into
an overheated frenzy, Badham paces
the scenes and the movie as a whole so
that the excitement slowly but steadily
builds. The tension in WarGames
escalates in the same incremental steps
as do the military deployments. And by
its end, the film has reached a
terrifically high pitch.
WarGames concludes in a satisfying
manner, and also a rather thoughtful
one. The ending extends on the theme of
technology controlling man, and shows
in simple and effective terms how
ridiculous is the concept of nuclear vic-
tory. Who know what bizarre little
games are played by the men in the
Pentagon? I don't, but after watching
WarGames, I fear that they take them
seriously.

Gere & Kaprisky partake in paniromance
Y r l 2 p n i g'(Continued komPage 8) Kline's brilliant cinematography. The the promised land - the land of background to the action. Jesse and
her own in the role of Monica. This at- dusty tones at the film's beginning set Monica. At this point the Monica dash in and out of sculpted
tractive young French actress relies on us up for something we should have cinematography begins to brighten and alleys and torn buildings - much to the
instinct to guide her through the scenes, seen - suspense and romance. involve both the characters and the visual pleasure of anybody watching.
and it works. She presents a natural When Jesse makes his way from Las viewer. Throughout the film Jess is constan-
ability on the screen that can easily be Vegas to Los Angeles, the photography The majority of Breathless takes tly on the run - from the law and him-
developed into top-notch acting with the changes along with the scenery. In place outdoors, so integrating people self. Unfortunately, the story runs out
help of some good scripts. Vegas we get the clouded, murky vision and places becomes very important. of breath (and life) far too early. With a
One saving grace about the whole of Jesse's life. Once he gets to L.A., Kline does a marvelous job in using little better pace, though, who knows

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