The worst recent computer movie has to be The Gift. Why does Hollywood think a blue light makes up for lack of intelligence (in the script writer and director, not the computer)?
There are many contenders for the worst computer in a movie and the worst use of a computer in a movie. The Gift wins both among recent movies. There are many contenders over the last 70 years since the British invented the first electronic computer. What would you nominate in the two categories:
The worst representation of a computer in a movie
The Gift shows a large computer as a lot of boxes in a hot concrete bunker in the desert. The only attempt at making the things look like computers was to put blue lighting panels on the front. Not the blue indicator lights you might see in a rack mount. No, they used plastic panels with fluorescent tubes behind them.
To make the computer boxes look futuristic, they made the sides slope in a bit.
The movie is set in the current time and could have used a set of racks from any datacentre. The truth is too boring for Hollywood. They have to make everything a cartoon. If the movie was made in Europe by Europeans, they would use a real datacentre with miles of filled racks and the result would be impressive.
The worst misuse of a computer in a movie
The Gift has a computer taking over the whole world by connecting to every video camera in the world and tracking every human, every communication, and every real time act in the world. By some strange logic, all of Europe and Russia make all the video from all their traffic and surveillance cameras available to the NSA in USA.
Even more incredible in a world where intercontinental Internet traffic is already straining to deliver data in less than a minute, all this new data, about a billion times more than exists in the Internet now, is able to flow realtime into the NSA headquarters. Did the NSA lay a thousand new undersea cables or launch ten thousand new satellites? There are not enough sea cable laying ships to lay all those cables. There are not enough satellite launch facilities to launch a thousand new satellites in the time frame of the movie.
Now for the big stupidity. The supercomputer evilness is moved from NSA to a concrete bunker in a disused army base in the desert. There is no obvious Internet access. There might be an old telephone line with dial up access. They could get ADSL but are too far away from any telephone exchange to get ADSL running at anything faster than the slowest speed. Somehow this evil new software is not intelligent enough to realise you cannot take a billion times the current Internet traffic and shove it through ADSL.
The evil software is so intelligent that it knows how to read human behaviour from video surveillance cameras. The cameras are mostly in America and in board rooms plus private offices. For some reason the American corporations decide to feed the video from all their top secret meetings out into the Internet so anyone can hack into the video to discover share price movements.
In America there are about twenty million executives making decisions that alter share prices. Based on observations of executives in Australia, you would need several thousand cameras to track them across the day to the detail shown in The Gift. Less than one percent of existing surveillance cameras have the resolution required to do what is shown in The Gift. We are talking about a massive surveillance camera upgrade without anyone noticing and not a cent spent by the government.
Oh yeah, that cost factor is another item. We are looking at a trillion dollar infrastructure upgrade. In the movie, congress blocks the money for the software upgrade. How did they miss the trillion dollar hardware upgrade?