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A Brief Introduction To How To Properly Approach A Remake: Seth Gordon And The WarGames Reboot

By TK Burton | Industry | June 30, 2011 |

By TK Burton | Industry | June 30, 2011 |

Who doesn’t love War Games? Communists and pedophiles, that’s who. It’s a ridiculously badly dated piece of 80’s candy. Matthew Broderick was utterly adorable (although, that hasn’t really changed), as was Ally Sheedy. It had an ominous undertone, a strange, faceless enemy that seemed viable at the time, and for fuck’s sake, nuclear war is averted via a games of Tic Tac Toe, resulting in an insane supercomputer understanding the concept of hopelessness and deciding to play chess instead. It sounds stupid. It is stupid. And if you speak ill of War Games, I will hit your mother with a shovel, then jam the shovel up your ass.

It’s been revisited before, most recently in the wretched, abominable WarGames: The Dead Code, which is 90 minutes of my life I’d like to scour from my brain with industrial chemicals, or maybe just Irish whiskey.

Now, it’s getting a remake, by Seth Gordon, most well known for the surprisingly excellent documentary, The King Of Kong. Gordon is actually taking a shockingly original approach to it — he’s thinking about it for more than five seconds. In a recent interview with the LA Times’ Hero Complex, he was saying some pretty interesting things about his treatment:

“A lot of things have changed technologically and geopolitically since the original… It’s ripe for an update. It’s a more plausible chain of events now than it was back then. The source of an international political threat is no longer a nameless faceless country with a different political system. The world has changed so much that that kind of threat could come from a number of places.”

The thing is, he’s not wrong. There is a legitimate line of thinking at work there, and the film really is painfully dated. It could be remade into something that’s a bit more relevant and tackles some interesting modern themes. Apparently, he’s digging deeply into the hacker subculture, which means that hopefully it won’t be the typical Hollywood depiction of how computers and hacking works — that is to say, dumb, oversimplified, trite and insulting to anyone who’s ever spent more than an hour in front of a computer (I’m looking at you, every movie ever). He went on to say:

“I have an interest in subcultures. There’s sort of a blurry ethics for people who are going places where laws aren’t yet even written to govern behavior. I think that’s a fascinating question and that’s the kind of stuff I want to get at in the reimagining of the movie. Hackers are obviously really savvy people. I’m trying to come at it from a very educated place rather than dilettantism.”

I like this guy. I’m not saying the film is going to be a smashing success — first of all, it doesn’t even have a cast, and it’s still got plenty of time to shit the bed. But at least here, in the early phases, it sounds like there’s a film maker who’s at least saying the right things and contemplating an intelligent approach.

You’re doomed, Seth Gordon. Hollywood will destroy you. I’m so sorry.

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TK Burton is the Editorial Director. You may email him here or follow him on Twitter.