Tron, released in 1982, offers a dazzling spectacle of what was the height of cinematic wizardy in the early 1980’s. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds himself sucked into a digital world after the MCP (Master Control Programme), created by Machiavellian ENCOM programmer Ed Dillinger (David Warner), tries to silence his claims that Dillinger stole and profited from several of his gaming programs.
The MCP’s computer world is starkly different to the reality Flynn is used to. Filmed in black and white and colourised later, the computer scenes give the film its unique look. The programs (personified into human form) wear outfits that hark to the circuitry their real technological counterparts are reliant upon and the colouring of such outfits suggests each program’s moral affiliation (that’s blue for good, red for bad). Large spaceship-like vehicles float around the system exacting justice on any programmes that go against the Orwellian MCP.
Tron neatly explores the place technology takes in society whilst analysing our reliance on it. Its humanising of the integral technological components of the MCP’s world also provides interesting questions on the strained relationship between man and religion since the inception of the technological revolution. Not bad for a 1980’s Disney film, eh?
Some viewers may, at times, feel alienated from the film’s storyline as it jumps straight into the action, action that seems to have been conceived by producers, the story being very much an afterthought. Others, however, will find it refreshing to watch an entertaining film that doesn’t waste countless hours filling them in on a needless back story.
Despite some of the fight scenes resembling a poor rendition of an early version of mobile phone game Snake and other effects being dated they are still enjoyable and it is fun to watch a film that was, quite clearly, pioneering in its day.
With the impending release of Tron: Legacy (read our preview here), sales of Tron will no doubt increase allowing a wider audience to watch and appreciate this hidden gem.
Best bit; Any of the animation.
Best performance; Jeff Bridges as Flynn / Clu
Best line; ‘We made it … this far.’
Watch out for Mickey Mouse, he appears sporadically throughout the film.