Making the Grades
The Internet has provided many new ideas for screenwriters, and Hackers is one of many new films that capitalizes on the information blitz. The story revolves around a kid named Dade (Jonny Lee Miller) who, at the age of eleven, is banned from using a computer or touch tone phone until his eighteenth birthday. On that long awaited day, he is immediately in front of the screen attempting to take over television stations and his high school sprinkler system.
But then the evil guy comes on the scene. Code named The Plague (Fisher Stevens), he is in charge of security at some faceless multinational corporation with hundreds of employees at computer terminals. The Plague decides to use the young hackers as a cover to his own crimes, and thus a story of intrigue is born.
Yet the intrigue here is covered by many problems. The use of computers in Hackers is so unbelievable, the story seems invalid. True, people do break into high security areas, but this movie makes getting into your local bank appear to be a simple point and click operation. Hackers uses paranoia as a cheap way to capture an audience, and wants you to believe that your toaster can be controlled by a kid in Jersey with a modem.
With computers, music, and sex, many kids will want to see Hackers. The movie has violent scenes as FBI agents break down doors and drag naked people out of showers. Near nudity sexual situations are included, as Dade fantasizes about Kate (Angelina Jolie), another hacker he goes to school with. And speaking of school, this film is the classic movie example of a typical high school which is merely a meeting place to plan illegal activities and parties, with "teenagers" being played by twenty-something actors.
Hacking is a real and illegal activity. As unrealistic as this film is, I am still bothered by the way it portrays an illegal activity as being socially acceptable. If this same film were made about drug users, parents would be outraged.