To the extent that movies themselves are based on ridiculous premises, so too is the level of absurdity in the use of the Internet in movies. As far back as 1982, in the movie “Tron”, the Internet has been featured in filmdom. A silly basis doesn’t mean, however, that a movie is necessarily good or bad, and this article isn’t designed to pan your favorite flics, just to point out a few of the ways the Internet has been utilized in film. So, here are some examples.
- “War Games” – In this 1983 film, a high school techno-whiz, played by Matthew Broderick, accidentally hacks into a super-computer that, unknown to Broderick, controls the entire U.S. Arsenal. He winds up in a “game” that pits the United States against Russia, and starts a countdown that will lead to World War III.
- “Tron” – From 1982, this movie starred Jeff Bridges, a computer programmer who is fragmented, and abducted into a computer world where the “bad guy” is a villainous software programmer who has stolen games Bridges designed, and created an epic malware program known as “Master Control”. Bridges teams up with a “good” program, called “Tron”, and the battle ensues.
- “Cloverfield” – From 2008, this one is a sci-fi monster movie, a la “Godzilla”. The movie isn’t about the Internet, but characters in the movie do use the Internet, in real-world fashion. One notable example has citizens using camera-phones to show the severed head of the Statue of Liberty, much as we all “enjoy” footage of train wrecks, tornadoes and other disasters.
- “The Matrix” - The first in a series, this 1999 starred Keanu Reeves in a dystopian look at what could happen if machines took over the world.
- “Hackers” – Circa 1995, “Hackers” involves a boy who gets in trouble with the Secret Service when he creates a computer virus. Later, the boy and his computer-savvy friends do battle with the Secret Service and the evil creator of a super-virus.
- “GoldenEye” – Pierce Brosnan’s first James Bond film, made in 1995, in which baddies use techno-wizardry. Boris Ivanovich Deshenko (played by Scotsman Alan Cumming), an evil hacker-for-hire, is in charge of the missile system that threatens to destroy London.
- “The Net” – A 1995 “Big Brother is watching” film, and generally panned by critics, but it featured a bikini-clad Sandra Bullock, which made for commercial success.
- “You’ve Got Mail” – The film is a big-budget re-make of a 1940 Jimmy Stewart vehicle called “The Shop Around the Corner”. In this 1998 romantic comedy, which starred Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, the movie came under fire for being a glorified commercial for America Online (AOL).
- “FearDotCom” – A website so scary that to view it is to die. Set in New York, this 2002 effort so took the film world that it won the “Worst Movie” award in 2003 from the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Association.
- “Chatroom” – Young guys,on a bet, use internet chatrooms to pick up girls, except that the girls turn out to be guys. Berated critically, the film was popular with teenagers.
These films run the gamut, in terms of quality, so don’t believe that the internet makes everything better.