No.1 would have to be the power cycle from the film Jour de fête (1949)… Sorry wrong power cycle.
In the last 30 years computers have got humans in all kinds of scrapes, but the blue screen of death claiming your painstakingly typed 3 page ode to tacos hardly compares with what happens in films; where every computer in charge of anything is only one minor glitch away from going crazy with power. Now while everyone knows you can fix a wide range of computer problems with a power cycle, it doesn’t make for a very long or exciting movie. Even with extreme slow motion cameras these days, hitting the restart button on a computer can only be stretched out to 5 minutes tops. Screenwriters had to be creative to achieve some sort of point of difference when a restart is the ultimate goal of the protagonist. Here’s the top 5 unique ways power cycling is used in movies, albeit after 90 minutes of supposition.
In this art house tech thriller an unruly computer makes a mockery of it’s owners power cycle attempts, pushing them to their breaking point. So desperate is their need to continue online shopping they finally try the risky ultimate power cycle. While the full movie goes for about 90 minutes this clip sums up all the poignant plot points and character development quite succinctly.
When it came to shutting Hal down, it was more like an awkward bro-mance breakup than a power cycle. Hal’s soulful giant red eye didn’t make it any easier either. So breaking up with a computer can be difficult, the standard it’s not you it’s me doesn’t work, because it is them, most specifically an incompatible DLL in their processing kernel.
Matthew Broderick hacks into NORAD using a computer with less processing strength than a mid 90s Tamagotchi to play a text based game, all because he was bored. Despite the ridiculous notion that anyone would play a text based computer game to alleviate boredom, somehow Broderick with the help of Ally Sheedy accidentally makes the NORAD computer think Russia is attacking so begins to launch a retaliatory attack, that is before Broderick makes it play noughts and crosses against itself teaching it a valuable lesson about futility, which Ally Sheedy went on to learn about in the 1990s by trying to keep her movie career going.
It’s a well known fact that you can’t change a computer’s moral compass with a hot swap, you need to do a full power cycle.
What better way to save the future than catching a robot terminator (that looks exactly like the one that travelled back in time to kill your mum, that forced your best friend to also travel back in time to stop it, resulting in your best friend banging your mum and turning out to be your father), rebooting it as a good guy and sending it back in time to protect yourself as a whiny pissant teenager while also making your severely PTSD mother go even further off the deep end? If you’re John Connor then there is none.
No you’re not mis-remembering your childhood, this isn’t Clive Palmer presents Jurassic park where a power cycle is an obvious solution to an out of control stegosaurus. In Jurassic park they created living dinosaurs, who strangely enough could still only be bested by performing a computer restart. The only problem was they put the restart button behind the raptor cage. Damn it..
Sometimes even the mighty Power Cycle fails, at such times remember that SuperGeek are always there ready to come to your home or office and fix the problem.