Director: Steven Lisberger
Writer: Steven Lisberger & Bonnie MacBird
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes, Dan Shor
Country: United States
MPAA Rating: PG
Time: 96 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction
USA Release: 7/9/1982
On DVD (USA): 4/5/2011
For 28 years this movie was one of the pinnacle cult classics, and even after the release of the 2010 sequel “TRON: Legacy” many people have yet to still know of this original version. In 1982 it lead the way and paved a new beginning to story telling and visuals that would later be what audiences craved for by the end of the last decade. Unfortunately many people will never see this, or if they do will write it off as a crappy movie with silly visuals but they need to remember this… This movie was made in 1982! And yes technology has come a long way since then but this movie was ahead of it’s time back then and if it wasn’t for this movie, the sequel would never have existed and probably would have never been thought of.
Now for those of you that have never seen this movie… “TRON” is a story about Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) a computer genius who after getting fired is using everything he know to hack in ENCOM (the company he got fired from) and find vital information that can prove he created the video game Space Paranoids. Unfortunately that is a bit of a challenge because of the MCP (Master Control Program) that is controlling everyone and everything inside and out of the virtual world. After getting the help of his 2 friends Alan (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lora (Cindy Morgan) he tries his luck inside ENCOM itself only to have the MCP use Lora’s experiment with a laser (used for ’quantum teleportation’) and put him inside the system. Once inside Flynn first thinks that it’s all a dream only to realize that he is now getting trained for the games that will determine if he lives or not. But he soon meets Tron (Boxleitner) who is the best of the best programs that believe in the users and fights for them. At first Flynn thinks Tron is Allen (because all of the programs resembles the user that programmed them) and soon both start to form a dangerous mission to get through the system and try and take down the MCP.
Throughout this movie we see amazing special effects that especially for its time blow my mind. I can’t imagine what it was like back when it came out, but even with that I was surprised that it was a pretty major flop. I can not understand how people were not flocking to the theaters to see this. From everything from the neon suites to the light cycles this movie just breaths creativity and originality. Also using to its advantage the fact that computers at home were really starting to take off and become a common thing. And that this story is something that some might have joking thought of, personally thinking how cool it could be to be inside a system. Although even now with how far technology has come in 28-29 years, this story is still much of a fantasy as it was back then. But even with a story as original as “Tron” is, the thing that sticks with people the most is the visuals, the whole world of the “grid” is all dark as well as bright. Using neon lighting everywhere, and really showing a difference between the two worlds. Although to some this movie will feel very dated, it’s a great movie that can show you how broad the 1980’s got with their ideas, it’s much like how the 1950’s thought that by now we would be in flying cars and that has still yet to even come close to happening. But even with the story and visuals, this movie does get a little slow, but never enough to lose interest. Yet what puts this movie all together is the great performances by the entire cast who all play two roles in the film with distinctive differences to each one. But there is one misnomer although it comes across as Jeff Bridges film, and yes he is in majority of the whole movie, the real story lies with Bruce Boxleitner‘s Tron. Jeff Bridges is more of a buffer or a guide, we are seeing the world of the grid as he does and finding out everything as he does. He is almost like a narrator but there is never a voice over.
To sum up “Tron” is a lost gem of the 1980’s that most people will never come across on their own. Although the visuals are a bit out dated and came be a little slow at times, it is still a film worth keeping around. Most people will just see the new one, and never know of the origin of how it all came to be. Don’t let that happen! Check out this film and pass it on to all of your friends, especially if they like the 2010 sequel.