WarGames Reboot: Abort, Retry, Fail?

Shall we play a game?

The game is this: Take a movie a quarter of a century old -- be sure it's a movie totally of its time! -- and remake it today, now that attitudes and fears and hopes and everything have shifted so much that the world it depicted is all but unrecognizable to those who didn't live through it.

I shudder when I read something like the Paste Magazine announcement of the rumor that Leonardo DiCaprio's production company is looking into rebooting the 1983 classic WarGames:

"Besides its notability as the year that your correspondent was born, 1983 is also known for bringing about Matthew Broderick's career with WarGames ... " Blah blah blah ...

Aren't people born in 1983 still in kindergarten? But I kid Paste's Matt Goodlett, who I'm sure is totally adorable and mature and stuff, with his "I was born in 1983"-ness. Still -- if you weren't computer dork Matthew Broderick's age in 1983 when you saw WarGames, please leave the room so the grown-ups can talk.


How would one go about rebooting WarGames? The movie presupposed two things: 1) that a kid playing with a computer in his bedroom constituted something weird, probably something that threatened civilization; and 2) that we were all going to fry in a nuclear war that Matthew Broderick started. Does that sound very yes-we-can, Obama-riffic, early-Great Depression II, Twitter-is-the-hawt, the High School Musical-kids-are-alright to you?

The world is different now, and unless you were a teenager in the 1980s, you can't understand it. The grown-ups thought we, the teenagers, were going to be the death of all us. It's the "joke" of WarGames, but you know what they say about many a truth being told in jest. (See the other "these damn geeks are gonna kill us movies," like The Manhattan Project, too.) Today teenagers are sweet, Jonas Brothers-listening, purity-ring-wearing, Hotel for Dogs-charity-minded angels. Imagine Zac Efron nuking the planet. Preposterous!

Remake WarGames for today, and you'd have to have a team of really nice teenagers working together -- and probably breaking out into song every once in a while -- trying to prevent the world from being destroyed by a computer, instead of just two independent-minded slackers half hoping to see a mushroom cloud or two. It might be adorable, but it wouldn't be half as much fun.


MaryAnn Johanson, not a frakkin' Cylon (email me)