Is This A Game…Or Is It Real?

Now I understand why Ferris needed to take a day off.

Before he was stealing Ferraris and reservations in Chicago, Matthew Broderick came close to instigating World War Three as teen hacker David Lightman in WarGames (1983). Honestly, the characters start off pretty similar: high school slackers who butt heads with authority figures, and who hack into the school system to make themselves look better. David however does not stop there; he loves his computer (unlike Ferris), and uses it to try to hack into a game company’s system to get information on a revolutionary upcoming game. Instead though, he accidentally stumbles onto a military system and starts a strategy war game with the computer, who is self teaching and who won’t stop playing until the game is over.

Before we are even introduced to David though, a cold open supplies us with exposition that sets up a deeper meaning of the film. We first meet two government employees (one being Michael Madsen in his first film role) who are instructed to deploy missiles, but fail to do so when the commanding officer loses his nerve. Immediately after this incident the department decides to replace the staff with a computer system that would not hesitate to fire the missiles if need be. It is only after this fourteen and a half minute introduction that we meet our hero. After seeing this, and knowing that it was going to backfire, I expected the film to be a commentary about the issues that arise when we rely too heavily on computers.

However, by the film’s end I realized the real message was much greater than that. The computer (WOPR, pronounced Whopper) puts the US military in a frenzy, as they think the game is real and that the Soviets have launched a full scale attack, and then plan to retaliate. World War Three is imminent as David has to try and end the game; the problem being that WOPR doesn’t understand the concept of having a game with no possible winner. Finally (Spoiler Alert) David is able to overload the system, and it lays out every possible war scenario and spits out the same message: Winner – None.

Suddenly the message is much more clear: there are no winners in global thermonuclear war. The message appears time and time again; it is beaten into the audience’s brain. And if that weren’t enough, the computer displays this message saying that “THE ONLY WINNING MOVE IS NOT TO PLAY.” Released at a time when the Cold War was still very prevalent, this anti-war statement turned out to be a huge success.

Still, I had to wonder if the film has a lasting effect. The Cold War has been over over two decades; would it still prove as powerful to today’s generation? Personally, I enjoyed the film, but I don’t know if I would hail it as a great movie. Though, war is still a very real problem in today’s world, so I’d think it could work. With a possible reboot being kicked around Hollywood, we should be able to see first hand how successful WarGames would be in today’s world. It’d surely be an interesting film considering how much technology has grown since 1983, and how the conflicts in the Middle East have become like the modern day Cold War.

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

James Cameron really out does himself with The Abyss. I honestly had no idea what I was in for when looking at the trailer, but I can say that I am not disappointed. The setting for the movie itself is the best. A lot of people fear the ocean; it’s size, it’s darkness, it’s lack of familiarity. All of these aspects really make it a well done movie.

When this submarine encounters aliens, we know that something new and unexpected is coming to the screen. The pictures, some of the shots, and the situations not only make this film intense, but it also makes it an enjoyable watch.

This movie brings all of people’s fears into play; claustrophobia, death, the unknown, betrayal, etc. Not only does it make it a suspenseful journey to see the outcome of our beloved characters, but it also highlights on emotions that later affect the audience.

James Cameron focuses on all these situations and encounters that people fear, therefore, making The Abyss a haunting and stressful movie experience. But it definitely shows how film making progressed into themes that delved more into human emotions and just advancement in new ideas.

No one ever considered the abilities of going underwater, talking underwater, etc. Cameron wanted to set the level in developing new ideas for the film industry. It was far from being one of his big accomplishments, however, he managed to do something others didn’t even think about doing. That’s what makes this film so enjoyable  to watch. I wish he would have continued making more movies like this instead of Titanic, but oh well.

I found a video of Cameron talking about this movie and I think it really sums up the amount of experience and knowledge he gained from making a movie like this.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZGMH_5i4N0&feature=related

I also read that the movie has an alternate ending that is available on one of the DVD’s. Cameron had to change the ending to fit the Hollywood idea of a happy ending; but from what I hear, the original ending is what really makes this movie so distinct from all the other movies in the 80’s. I haven’t seen it, but I definitely plan on it.

Weird Science

This movie that came out in 1985 is about 2 nerdy boys who somehow manage to create a woman of all their dreams. Instead, the result is far more than they expected. 

John Hughes, with no doubt, knows how to target a teenage audience. He took the popular notion of male fantasies regarding women and made a fun, new comedy out of it. Not only did this film highlight on the personas of adolescent males in a comedic way, but he also managed to focus on the advancement of technology at the time. Computers were only just fresh and new, therefore, this idea that computers can even generate the girl of your dreams seemed ideal with all the tasks it was already accomplishing.

I found this ad on Youtube and I just can’t help but laugh. Not only cause of that weird pointing finger salute thing they do, but also cause of the music and just how old these computers really are. This also shows that sort of new idea that with technology, we can do anything! Even create a new hot girlfriend for boys.

Also, they don’t just choose some ordinary girl for their creation. They end up with Kelly LeBrock, a huge heart throb from these times.

I mean, hello, she’s gorgeous.

I’ve read that there have been several talks about a remake and that several actors, like Roberty Downey Jr. (although he was in the original), would still like to see one. However, many people fear of ruining a film that was a great film and success when it was released.

But anyways, Lisa, Kelly LeBrock’s character, makes our two nerdy main characters out to be real men by the end of the film. However, there are still several hilarious, crazy obstacles they must face on their journey to manhood.

Hughe’s film, no doubt, highlights a huge portion of adolescence in the male population. Weird Science depicts this, however, in a fun and light manner.

 

One of the top movies of the 80’s

 

Top Gun has to be one of my favorite movies I have watched; not only because Berlin’s, “Take my breath away” is played like almost every 5 minutes, but because of the visuals. I’m just so amazed of the quality of those shots at a time like this. Today, it seems like those scenes would be so easy to film; I just can’t even imagine how difficult it was back then with their technology.

The Beginning for Tony Scott

The Navy fighter pilot scenes are so intense that I didn’t even have time to focus on the characters and their relationships. It was really cheesy, but managed to be really patriotic. This movie was also a great film for Tom Cruise to start out with; although it really didn’t focus on his character, he managed to grab the attention of the ladies at the time the film was released. And I will just never forget that opening scene… SO INTENSE!

There is no doubt that the director of this film is very talented. Top Gun really established his career as a “commercial director” and supported him in making television spots late into his career. Sadly, however, Tony Scott recently committed suicide by jumping off the L.A. bridge. There is no doubt, nonetheless, that he will forever be distinguished by the intense visual style he elicits into his films that allow viewers to be captured into his huge action scenes. I found it to be a coincidence that at the time I watched this film the director was being talked about all over the news; a rather upsetting coincidence at that (his story could be read at http://articles.latimes.com/2012/aug/19/local/la-me-tony-scott-20120820).

The sad tale of Tony Scott will forever go down in film history as a tragedy, but he will also be remembered for the huge success he brought about to Hollywood film. Top Gun still is an 80’s classic that would not only boost the success of action films, but will also bring about the big stars in the film industry.

 

 

You’re Gonna Be a Bad MotherF*cker

With the remake coming out next year, I figured it was about time to see the original RoboCop (1987). It did not disappoint, and it was actually more than I anticipated it to be. I went into it preparing for a sci-fi action movie, full of gun fire and explosions, and I did get that. In fact there was enough guts and gore to make one think it was a Freddy Krueger film. The action isn’t what made the film stand out though. That part was predictable; it used the same formula cop movies have been using for years: partners are chasing down the bad guys, coincidentally there is no back up available, one partner dies, there’s a huge shootout in a warehouse, then in the end one of the assumed “good guys” has been working with the bad guys. The only added aspect is that the dead partner comes back as a robotic super cop. What made this cop film stand out is how much the director had to say about culture in Detroit, and America in general.

Throughout the film there are random clips from a news station reporting on current events. Every clip seems to involve real life problems in 1980s Detroit, such as unemployment and uncontrollable crime. What makes it even worse is that the bad news is so common that the news anchors don’t even care; they don’t even blink an eye when they report on an accident where 113 people are killed, including two former Presidents of our own country. But along with every news clip comes a commercial concerning new technology. The movie even opens with a news story followed by a commercial for a mechanical heart made by Yamaha. The fact that the director would include all of these commercials shows that he is trying to inform his audience about the dangers of technology and consumerism, which is made even more clear in the car commercial for the “6000 SUX,” parodying the real life Pontiac 6000. That RoboCop defeats the film’s antagonists without his mask, embracing his human side, continues to confirm this reading of the film.

The themes of consumerism and industry really made this movie more than just another cop flick. But it makes me wonder about the upcoming remake: how are they going to modernize the news segments? As a culture we are still very materialistic, and technology has grown immensely since 1987, so what are we going to see now? Will people be waiting in line for days for the release of the iSux 5?

The only other note I have about RoboCop is that, as a fan of That 70’s Show, it was so weird to see Kurtwood Smith in a role where he doesn’t call somebody a dumbass. It does explain why Red was so bitter throughout the show though…

The whole movie I was hoping for, “Get back RoboCop…you dumbass!”