Walt Disney Productions, Lisberger/Kushner

Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Bernard Hughes, Dan Shor, Peter Jurasik, Tony Stephano, Craig Chudy

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) was a crack programmer for Encom until his boss Ed Dillinger (David Warner) stole his valuable program and pretended it was his. Flynn has turned into a video game champion and owns Flynn’s arcade. Flynn has three friends, Alan (Bruce Boxleitner), Lora (Cindy Morgan, and Dr. Walter Gibbs (Bernard Hughes), who help him to break into Encom and try to get proof that Dillinger stole the program. Alan has written a program “Tron” which will check on rogue programs in the computer system and can even manage the master control program, but it has been blocked, and Dillinger is denying access and deleting all the user’s programs as MCP (master control program) is handling everything, and connecting to the outside computers to gather it’s own information. While trying to break in, MCP determines that Flynn is out there, and using an experimental laser, blasts Flynn and sucks him into the computer where the MCP tries to have him killed by putting him on the game grid with the other programs. Flynn finds his friends as programs and they work together to try to survive long enough to block the MCP’s master plans.

Tron was a movie that was way before it’s time. Most people didn’t understand it much at 1983. I was a budding programmer in 1983 and a huge fan of computers, starting my first IT job at a robot company in Pittsburgh. I loved it so much, I got my friend who was a Computer Science graduate who simply loved every minute of it. It is classic how it shows the real things inside a computer in a fantasy way….I don’t think programs are really little people running around planning and plotting against the MCP, but they went really deep to get the science fiction really based on the right terms and presented a beautiful story in allegorical form that was technically pretty correct. There were so many awesome special effects in this movie, and the cost was astronomical due to the spectacular ways Disney made this film. It was a real challenge to bring this to life in 1983. There was a video game based upon the TRON story that was one of the first multi-game arcade games. It caught on and made much more money for Disney than this movie did, but it was still a creative success and definitely a great movie to revisit if you’ve seen it.

I feel Jeff Bridges did a wonderful job as Flynn and the evil Dillinger was perfect as well. The other characters were OK, but not a huge part of the film. Tron(Alan) is a good friend/sidekick, but not very memorable in the performance. But the graphics are definitely the best part of the film, and the excitement of the light cycle chase is breathtaking.

I loved this movie in 1983 and was really anxious to see Tron: Legacy in 2010, and also enjoyed it very much, but I like the original a lot as it seems a much better story and the simple effects of 1983 were better to me than the ones they have today. Disney took a bath at the box office, but I’m really happy they green lighted it. Many of the Disney animators refused to work on it due to the fact that they were afraid computers were going to take over their jobs. Ironically, a movie about computers was hand animated for the most part, but later their nightmare came true and Disney’s animation department is devastated, and the Pixar guys with the computer generation is now the Disney Animation department to reckon with. But I was really happy when TRON showed up on Showtime, and I was really happy to visit it again. It was revisiting an old friend, and was very satisfying. It’s a great time to look it up again and give it another view.

In another note, Disney’s California Adventure inside the Disneyland Resort has developed an event called “ElecTRONica” [click here] which runs every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights, free with park admission. They have a laser show, dance music, amazing lighting effects, drinks that glow in the dark and light up, and a complete classic recreation of Flynn’s Arcade which looks just like the movie and has lots of classic early 80’s video games to bring back memories. It’s an awesome way to end a visit to Disneyland, and well worth it. It is going to continue for a while yet, at least through the fall, and is really COOL!

EdG – EdsReview Dot Com – A Movie Review Blog



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