High School student David Lightman has a talent for hacking. But while trying to hack into a computer system to play unreleased video games, he unwittingly taps into the Defense Department's war computer and initiates a confrontation of global proportions. Together with his girlfriend and a wizardly computer genius, David must race against time to outwit his opponent and prevent a nuclear Armageddon.
Wanna play Global Thermonuclear War? It was with much interest to me to revisit this early 80s hacker piece armed with the knowledge of just how the advent of change in the computer world had evolved. With that in mind the film could quite easily be classed as a bit clunky due to the now almost Neanderthal toys, games and computers used in the movie, but casting aside the nostalgia feelings I had with it, it still hits the spot as both a poignant piece of interest, and a damn good thriller as well. Matthew Broderick is David Lightman, a young computer gamer geek who is something of a whizz kid on the PC. He can change his school grades and hack into various sites he shouldn't be even looking at. During one eventful sitting he hacks into a computer called Joshua and plays a game called Global Thermonuclear War, he harmlessly chooses to be The Soviet Union and proceeds to launch a nuclear attack on his own country, the U.S.A. Trouble is, is that the game is for real and the wheels are in motion for World War III!. It helps to remember the time this film was made (for those old enough of course), for it was the time of the ever worrying cloud of the Cold War, a time when nuclear war was more than a hearsay threat. I really think that in this day and age where computers literally do run our lives, this film stands up really well not only as a warning piece about messing with technology, but also as a gentle poke in the ribs about defence systems and the people we trust to run them. Though the film is a kind of watered down and accessible 2001: A Space Odyssey for the 80s set, it impacts well and only really suffers from a pointless romantic plot strand involving the sprightly Ally Sheedy (could they not just have been pals?) and the aforementioned dated gadgets. The ending to the film is excellent as the tension builds up nicely and we are left chewing our nails watching a game of Tic-Tac-Toe, sounds simple doesn't it? Not so. Good honest and intelligent entertainment. 7.5/10