Movie Review – Tron

A disgruntled sacked programmer tries to hack into a computer system looking for evidence that his work had been stolen but finds himself getting into a lot more than just trouble.

Starring Jeff Bridges as Flynn the programmer, Tron takes a very simple concept of business malfeasance and turns it into a 96 or so minute video game. It is no spoiler to say that Flynn finds himself inside the computer network (1982 was a little early to describe it as the Internet but that is what it appears to be), via the evil MCP (Master Control Program). What you get is the inside of a computer imagined by a 14 year old video game fan. Not so much circuits as tanks, not so much bits as people wearing neon, not so much hardware as strangewear.

In 1982, the effects were cutting edge, raytrace graphics with shiny gray surfaces everywhere. So much neon it looks like a Miami nightclub from the 1980s. Viewed today (2010) the computer graphics don’t look so bad, infact they appear quite quaint but the effects on the characters looks more basic and more obvious. If the special effects for the characters had been better, Tron would still hold up today, albeit with a retro look.

Jeff Bridges, 30 when Tron was made, plays Flynn as a young, perhaps naive but very talented programmer who is just as good playing the games as writing them. Paired up with Bruce ‘Bring Em Back Alive & Babylon 5’ Boxleitner as programmer Alan (and title character Tron) and Lora (Yori) played by Cindy Morgan, the three of them appear to be harmless people while their online or computer persona’s (well Flynn’s online persona CLU doesn’t last too long but then Flynn takes over) are very different.

By today’s standards, Tron is silly with its use of computer terms (RAM, CROM, CLU) as names and does tend to sound cheesey rather than cool but in 1982, most people were not computer savvy anyway. Looking at the digital landscape portrayed in the movie, it is interesting to see how close to the real internet today the film makers made it. Even down to programs taking over other programs (viruses) Tron seems to have predicted the future very well.

To my eye, Tron has not dated that well, its fun to watch and if you feel nostalgic about basic computer graphics, grab your popcorn but if you want to see something with state of the art graphics, there is the sequel, Tron Legacy due out in a few months. If you have watched Tron and appreciate the shiny grays you can always pickup Related articles

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