If you didn’t see Hackers when it was released in 1995, it may not play as well to you as it did for an entire generation on the cusp of a technological revolution. But for me, and many like me, this was THE movie. Computer/tech nerds, subculture enthusiasts, general misfits, Hackers gave us a glimpse of an entire world where we reign supreme. Sure, the computer generated screens of the actual “hacking” were hokey, and in no way scientifically accurate, but this wasn’t about this. This was about an underground revolution. You may hold all of the social power in your hands, but that doesn’t mean that you can keep us down, and we’re ready for a fight. Shout! Factory has finally brought this Nineties phenomenon into the HD age, and some of us have been waiting with baited breath for many years for this to happen. The day is finally here, and you can purchase your copy of Hackers, the 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray right here!
Hackers wasn’t the first movie to feature a character(s) proficient enough with computers/the internet to unravel a crime, or some other form of wrongdoing. However, it was at least one of the first to treat such a character with respect. Instead of some pimply-faced, socially awkward reject doing the hacking, these were beautiful, interesting characters, all with a unique message, and even particular sets of skills within “hacking.” These characters were taken seriously, and given the respect they deserve. That’s rare in a movie like this. Usually such a character would be played on for comedic relief, and while yes, there are many hilarious scenes of dialog and other quirky happenings between these characters, at no point were they treated like a joke, and that earned the respect of the type of person who could fit within the confines of such a character.
On top of representing somewhat respectfully, an entire generation of teenagers and twenty-somethings, Hackers is a pretty entertaining “action” movie, unlike most that came before it. There are a couple of standard action gags, but for the most part, the suspense is in the “Hacker” characters, and the result of all of their hours tinkering away at a keyboard. An accidental discovery causes an entire subculture to conspire to stop one of their own, who is using their power for financial gain, rather than the thrill of discovery. It touches upon the criminal justice system, and how the overnight technology boom left them incapable of enforcing laws the same way, prior to the age of the internet, and those who are proficient with its use.
Hackers made every impressionable youth aspire to be a counterculture warrior. It inspired an entire generation to take upon themselves, to be the pioneers of the digital age, and actively seek and share knowledge using computers and the internet. Every time you see a character using his or her computer, it’s fantasized, brimming with personalization, customization. What you don’t learn about the characters from exposition, you learn from their preferred flavor of hardware, software, and personal modification of their gear. It’s a risky way to tell a story, to use nonverbal cues, but in a lot of cases, and certainly here, it’s far more efficacious than long, awkward and unnatural expositional dialog scenes could ever be. Hackers takes you on a techno journey. It’s an unconventional action movie, with quirky, enigmatic characters, all of which someone in the audience can relate to, and it outlines the power of both technology, and of friendship and respect. If you were born in the Nineties, at first glance, Hackers may seem a little goofy, but trust me, it is still relevant to this day, and as silly as it sounds to say, this was one of the most important films to be released in the mid-nineties.
Hackers looks gorgeous on the Blu-ray format. This is a very colorful movie, and the colors pop more than ever before. While some minor details, such as the tone of flesh, may suffer from old age syndrome, it doesn’t hurt the finer details, such as individual hair, tiny particles and pores on characters faces which are prominently displayed. The audio track on this 20th anniversary edition Blu-ray release of Hackers, while only a 2.0 track, is the best this movie has sounded since its theatrical release. It’s worth noting that the reverse side of the cover art lists a 5.1 track, but it’s just a misprint. The extras package, while not the most girthy of the releases from Shout/Scream, round out a solid anniversary release of a film we’ve been waiting to make its HD debut for a long time. There are a ton of new interviews with members of the cast and crew, and if played concurrently with the “play all” button, it flows seamlessly as if it were a full retrospective documentary, and this is good stuff, too. Shout! Factory’s 20th Anniversary Edition Blu-ray release of Hackers is highly recommended.