Nothing dates a film quite like a starring role for cutting edge computing technology.
By all rights WarGames should be feeling its age.
What keeps it remarkably fresh is an unpatronising approach to what is ostensibly a kids’ thriller, and a set of ideas (remember when Hollywood used them?) that rightly consign all the cradle modems and dot-matrix printers to the margins.
Three years before Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, John Badham’s film stars Matthew Broderick as a high school rascal who hacks into the system to change his grades.
Except he doesn’t stop there, hacking into what he thinks is a videogames company, hoping to try out their latest titles.
What he actually finds is a top-secret military simulator, which feeds into a missile launch system and becomes real.
While the audience is busy processing the moral issues, the drama is kept taut with a series of flashpoints that do justice to the weight of overhanging nuclear disaster.
There’s still plenty of time for Broderick to dash around with co-star Ally Sheedy and look adorably mischievous, and therein lies the secret to the film’s lasting success – an easy ability to combine teen adventure with meaningful commentary, finished off with a powerful metaphor that’s simple enough for a machine to understand.
Extras include a chat-track and retro-doc, both held over from earlier DVDs.