Tron

Tagline : A world inside the computer where man has never been. Until now.

Runtime : 96 mins

Genre : Science Fiction Action Adventure

Vote Rating : 6.7/10

Budget : 17 million $ USD

Revenue : 33 million $ USD


Movie Website

Plot : When brilliant video game maker Flynn hacks the mainframe of his ex-employer, he is beamed inside an astonishing digital world...and becomes part of the very game he is designing. In his mission through cyberspace, Flynn matches wits with a maniacal Master Control Program and teams up with Tron, a security measure created to bring balance to the digital environment.

Cast Members

Reviews

An acquired taste. For me, someone who has no knowledge of computer programming and the sort, it's a very slow, tedious and boring watch. 'Tron', unfortunately, didn't take my interest whatsoever. Not helped by the poor special effects (they get a pass due to it being an 1982 release; though I'm not convinced it's good either way) and forgettable cast performances, it's not a premise that's easy to get into if you have no prior understanding of coding etc. There is some intrigue in there, but not nearly enough to satisfy my viewing pleasure - it felt like a much longer run time than 96 minutes, that's for sure. All cool if you love this, but I very much didn't. Hopefully the 2010 sequel gives the concept a major boost.

I saw this again yesterday - it's 40 years old! I didn't see it at the time, I was one of those kids who hadn't the slightest interest in "Space Invaders" nor did I ever have an Atari, but I do recall the fuss that was being made about Disney's first foray into the world of the emerging computer games market. Actually, the story is not so terrible. It's pretty derivative, with a quite handsome, young, 501-clad Jeff Bridges ("Flynn") out to avenge himself on the evil "Dillinger" (David Warner) who pinched some of his gaming ideas and subsequently rose through the company. Thing is, though, "Dillinger" has now designed a "Master Control Programme" (Think "Forbin Project" from 1970) and when "Flynn" tries to break into this system, he is reduced to a player in a game of survival where he encounters fellow rebels "Tron", "Ram" and "Lora". Adventures ensue as they must try to destroy this "MCP" before it bores of industrial aspirations, and sets it's sights on the Pentagon and the Kremlin. By any modern day standard, the graphics are linear and static - but there is no doubt that they were groundbreaking and quickly-paced for 1982. The use of light - blue and red for good and evil; the slightly over-exposed imagery to try and create the feeling of an alternative digital environment works well enough and though there isn't the slightest amount of jeopardy as to the ending, it's actually quite an entertaining 90-odd minutes that reminded me that every oak tree starts with an acorn. The attempts to incorporate technical or gaming language into the dialogue are a bit contrived, but there is a fun sequence with a "bit" that can only say yes and no as "Flynn" drives his wonky thing ("Max" from "The Black Hole" (1979), anyone?) through the maze of circuitry. Warner is not very convincing, it has to be said - he was rarely much good, I thought - but once it gets going it's an enjoyable piece of cinema nostalgia that looked quite reasonable on a big screen.

**Once avant-garde and innovative, this film feels archaic and old as an arcade game, and has an absolutely miserable script.** I'm not sure what Disney was thinking when they decided to make this film, but I understand the concept and the reasons that led the studio to bet on something like this. In the 1980s, the creation and gradual massification of the computer (a huge box that we see in the movie and which is now primitive compared to the machines we use) generated a “fever” around computing and led to the creation of games that, later, the World Wide Web has taken it to another level. The movie came out when personal computers started to become popular in the US, but here in my country it took about fifteen years to happen. It's extraordinary to think about this, and how quickly things have evolved. I am thirty-two years old, I belong to a generation that still lived its childhood without technologies, but I was a teenager when they started to become something more visible in our lives. So I can understand why this movie was made, but being a Disney movie, I confess I was expecting better. The film has an uninspired cast made up of third-rate actors. Among all the (almost) anonymous names, only David Warner stands out. The film also has one of the worst dramatic interpretations of Jeff Bridges' life. He was still young here, but the film's material and style didn't help him do a satisfying job. In fact, I blame the screenwriters for most of the film's problems, as they weren't able to come up with a decent story that would justify the feature film. The story that the film brings us is based on the journey of a human being inside the computer, where he will basically have to play and beat opponents. This is very little and it bores us quickly. It seems like a mere excuse for the studio to make an experiment in the field of CGI and the application of technology in cinema. Where the film really bets heavily is on the visuals, heavily stylized and inspired by two obvious elements: the integrated circuits used in engineering and the colorful and (now) somewhat forgotten neon lights. In those late 1980s, neon was something that drew attention in the urban landscape, and there was no street or square where, at dusk, dozens of neon signs did not light up. It's something that has virtually disappeared in the last decade, but that gave the city a certain life. I confess that I felt some nostalgia when feeling the aesthetic influences of all that, but I recognize that the film tried to do something far ahead of its time: the Hollywood Academy itself refused to nominate this film for an Oscar because it considered that CGI was a form of cheating. And perhaps also because they did so early, the resources used were so rudimentary (even though they were the best there was) that they gave the film an extremely heavy and dated look, which aged very poorly. The same can be said of the sound effects and even that soundtrack, so dominated by the synthesizer.

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