WarGames remake is on target

MGM has managed to find a writer for its upcoming remake of the uber-geek classic WarGames.

Noah Oppenheim is a mostly untested Hollywood writer. In fact, we haven’t seen any of his films come to the screen yet. He’s currently also working on a film called The Maze Runner, and another called The Secret Life of Houdini, but we won’t be seeing those until 2013 and 2014, respectively.

It’s kind of disappointing that they would choose such a novice to write the new WarGames, but perhaps MGM knows somehting about the fellow that we don’t. Perhaps they arwe planning on mostly sticking to the original script.

WarGames was one of the first films to feature a video gaming geek as a protagonist hero. It was the film that made Matthew Broderick one of my favorite actors, and it put me into a crush will Ally Sheedy which lasted through my teens.

The 1983 film, which was directed by John Badam (who at the time was famous for Saturday Night Fever, and went on to direct Short Circuit and Nick of Time) and written by the team of Lawrence Lasker (who continued to work with Broderick on a number of projects including Project X) and Walter Parkes (who went on to give us Men in Black and Minority Report), was about a young gamer who, while trying to pirate some unreleased video games, inadvertently hacked into NORAD, and started up a wargames simulation, which tricked the advanced system into thinking that a war with Russia had begun.

I would say that it would be great to get the Lasker and Parks team back together for the remake, but that was tried a few years ago, and the resulting film WarGames: The Dead Code was an abysmal failure which was widely panned. Hopefully this new film will be a more loyal reinterpretation with more thinking and less running around being shot at.

The original film was mired in 80’s pop culture and cold war politics, so would require an extensive rewrite to modernize it with present-day characters. Perhaps they plan to leave it set in the early 80’s, but in that case what’s the point? That film already exists; unless they fill it with jokes that mock the 80’s pop culture stuff, which would be dumb.

I just hope that, in the process of ‘modernizing’ the film, they don’t ad a bunch of stuff which doesn’t make sense for these characters. The story is a bit of a talker, and modern audiences aren’t usually okay with that. The writer might be tempted to throw in some martial arts combat or something at one point or another, but that would really be a poor choice.

At least, if they screw this up, we’ll still have the original WarGames to watch. They can never take that away from us. In fact, I think I’ll watch it this afternoon.