We had a double-feature night tonight, Warner Bros. 2007 version of "Nancy Drew" Vs. MGM's 1983 sci-fi classic "War Games." One of my old physics professors said that once a theory is proved false it acquires "classical" status. That's the sense of the term I'm using here.
"Nancy" wins hands down. The film is charming. Everything is just a little larger than life, capturing with a wink and a smile the sort of teen adventure fiction that Nancy Drew fans all love. Woven through the mystery and action you'll find a good human story as Nancy struggles to get along in a world where she doesn't fit in, deal with pressure from her dad to kick the dangerous sleuthing habit, and finds that trying to be helpful sometimes hurts. There's a cast of great characters and a whole lot of good one-liners. My favorite was probably Nancy's cheerful and pragmatic reaction to nearly being run over by a car "When someone tries to kill me, that usually means I'm onto something."
As the opening credits of "War Games" flashed across the screen I warned the kids we were going back over twenty years in film-making. First thing they noticed was the silly missile silo set. You see, they've been to the Titan Missile Museum, toured the facility, and met some of the men who used to work there. "After seeing the real thing, it all looks so fake," my son said. No one in my living room believed that the Missile Commander Guy would actually refuse to turn the key when push came to shove. Of course this failure of people to actually turn the key when ordered to do so prompts the U.S. military to turn over control of missiles to a large computer that looks something like a giant, elongated jukebox with lots of blinking red and yellow LED's.
So the movie got off on the wrong foot. We scoffed at the brainless teenage girl who liked to giggle a lot, ask stupid questions, and occasionally kiss the main character. I could not believe the profanity in this film! Do they let them talk like that in PG movies? In fact, we decided in general that all the characters needed brain transfusions, except maybe the old professor. But if everyone had been as smart as normal human beings, the story wouldn't have happened in the first place, so there you go.
Oh, and my favorite line was, "He's intelligent, does poorly in school, estranged from his parents, hardly any friends - perfect candidate for recruitment by the Russians." Oh, yeah, all those punk kids are just commie spies.