Monday, December 31, 2001

Swordfish [movie, *]

Note, 2/16/2007: I just found this in an old message board post which I wrote on 12/31/01. If you are reading on the feed, don't mistake it for new material.

I rented Swordfish last night and I have to say that it is probably the worst movie I have seen all year. And I'm talking about a year when I made the mistake of renting "Dude, Where's My Car?"

It was bad on so many levels. It raised badness to an art form. It had a plot that made no sense and occurred in more or less random order, and characters whose motivations changed so many times that they must have been determined by rolling dice. The action sucked. The chases sucked. The women literally sucked, but that's a different subject.

Of course, for us professional computer geeks, there was a whole other dimension to the awfulness, which was the standard Hollywood treatment of computers and the people who use them. I mean, I have to give Hugh Jackman a little tiny bit of credit. The script was probably not his fault, and for a few minutes on screen when he was walking around muttering to himself, he was halfway believable as a coding nerd. But I just have a few questions:
  1. Hugh is introduced by every character as "the greatest hacker in the world." Is there some sort of ranking system? Is there an awards ceremony? Who's the second greatest?
  2. The guy is internationally known as a computer genius, and he lives in complete poverty? When the movie was being made, somebody like that could get a job offer for $50 an hour and feel insulted.
  3. Who the hell came up with the standard "Movie Operating System"? It never changes. MOS uses a 40 point font, and even the simplest task requires the computer to pull up a giant blue spinning 3d model of some abstract shape. Who can work like that? Real code nerds use VI.
  4. Are we supposed to be impressed when John Travolta shows off his giant super mega computer? Oooooo, it can access a whole bunch of different systems simultaneously. Wow, it has seven monitors. I've got news for you, John. For the last fifteen years or so, most of us have been using something called "Windows". Even the Unix guys have x-windows so they don't have to keep walking around squinting at different screens. And they're ALL able to connect to a bunch of different systems at once.
Okay, to end on a positive note: Halle Berry has breasts. Yes, they look exactly like breasts. The shot is very well framed. If half the effort of setting up that shot had gone into writing the script, this might have been a good movie.