4) Computer Chess [4.0]

Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, the film transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future.

Set over the course of a weekend tournament for chess software programmers thirty-some years ago, COMPUTER CHESS transports viewers to a nostalgic moment when the contest between technology and the human spirit seemed a little more up for grabs. We get to know the eccentric geniuses possessed of the vision to teach a metal box to defeat man, literally, at his own game, laying the groundwork for artificial intelligence as we know it and will come to know it in the future. (2013)

Computer Chess makes for a truly laborious viewing. Presented in 4:3 aspect ratio, it is at least conceptually interesting as the viewer is dropped into a time period where the human vs. machine conversation is evolving as technology advances. The spirit of competition and innovation runs through the movie, yet there’s no dynamic in the structure to elevate Computer Chess into something worthwhile.

There’s a consistency amongst the performances that helps create an original, unique feel. It never feels akin to a mockumentary, and the audience is not necessarily meant to laugh at the chess players and computer geeks. Still, I wish Computer Chess was even remotely entertaining.

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