Sci-Fi Shorts: CodeHackerz Skewers Every Idiotic Movie Hacker Cliche

By David Wharton | Published

This article is more than 2 years old

There are a lot of things that Hollywood movies don’t genuinely portray with a great deal of accuracy. Falling in love. The laws of physics. Hacking. Okay, so that last one isn’t necessarily the most egregious of cinema’s many, many sins, but it is the one at the core of our Sci-Fi Short film of the day: CodeHackerz, which takes Hollywood’s fanciful notions of how hacking works and then cranks them all up to 11.

CodeHackerz was created for a student film festival called Campus MovieFest — supposedly the largest festival of its sort in the world — back in 2013. The film by Jonathan Franco, Matthew Levenstein, and Micheal Parks takes as its starting point such goofy movie moments as Jeff Goldblum hacking an alien mothership in Independence Day and takes them to an only slightly more ridiculous level. See, there’s a meteor headed for the Earth, one “10 times the size of the Sun.” So who does the president call to save the day? A pair of garage hackers, naturally.

Here’s how Parks described the project to io9:

Some friends and I made a short hacker-stereotype film that features blatant misuse of mathematics and a lack of understanding of basic scientific concepts (you know, in the spirit of how hacking is usually portrayed on film).

CodeHackerz is a great example of what you can do with a funny idea and a bare-bones budget. In fact, the low-fi look actually makes this work even better, because the crappy setting is all the funnier when contrasted with the ridiculously over-the-top killer-meteor concept.

All the usual Hollywood hacking cliches are here: the half-finished computer equipment with random wires going everydamnwhere, the lightning-fast typing that clearly isn’t actually typing anything (hackers never ever use a mouse); a steady barrage of technobabble; sparks because why the hell not; and a driving electronic score to try and make people working on a computer seem dramatic. There’s even a Bill Gates cameo! Not to mention that ending…well, I won’t spoil it if you haven’t watched the video yet.

You can check out the website for CodeHackerz right here. In addition to being a nice bit of retro web design, it also claims that the CodeHackerz guys have not just one, but two sequels in the works. CodeHackerz: Episode 2 is slated for completion in…er, March 2013. Okay, so I’m guessing their plans have changed. Or it could just be a joke. Maybe hackers infiltrated YouTube and deleted all the copies of the second episode. And also the filmmakers. And a bunch of cat videos just for fun.

Just for comparison’s sake, here are some of Hollywood’s worst hacking scenes ever.