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Review: Tron by Jamie
18/02/2009, 5:54 pm
Filed under: Review | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

I don’t know how I had gone through 24 years of my life, trying to watch as many cult classic films as possible without ever seeing Tron. I had known that the movie existed ever since I could think as an adult and yet I had just never found a way to see it. Still this film is so painfully up my alley that I just don’t understand how it could have taken me so long to see it.

Maybe I was put off by the special effects. Thinking about it, I probably wouldn’t have realised this film was out there until after I’d seen Jurassic Park and any special effects that came before that instantly seemed to pale in comparison.

So what’s the point of all this rambling? Well, I was just checking out amazon.co.uk, deciding which movies I should buy to add to the hallowed collection, a collection which contains the likes of David Attenborough’s Life Collection, The Lord Of The Rings Extended Edition Boxset and Masters of The Universe. So I made my choices, picking up Tropic Thunder, Knocked up and The Black Sabbath Story Part 2. I needed something more in order to get the price to a nice round figure and there I saw Tron: Twentieth Anniversary Edition for under a fiver and so I thought, why not?

Anyway the DVD’s arrived the next day and so I popped in Tron and began to watch. I was amazed. This wasn’t the movie I’d made up in my head at all. In my mind I had imagined Tron was about a few people who had gotten trapped in a computer game and most of it was made up of Light Cycle clashes. This plot I had made up for the movie may have been another reason as to why I hadn’t seen this film. The film was much, much better than I’d ever imagined. Spoilers Ahead.

The story concerns Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), computing genius and his attempts to expose Encom company head Ed Dillinger (David Warner) for taking credit for computer games he had designed and then firing him. Flynn’s repeated attempts to hack into Encom’s system is prevented by the company’s Master Control Program (Voiced by Warner) and after his latest attempt, MCP and Dillinger decide it’s best to shut down access to the system for software writing employees. This pisses off software designer Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and researcher Dr. Lora Baines (Cindy Morgan) and they decide to help Flynn break into Encom so he can try and take down Encom from the inside. MCP defends itself by zapping Flynn with an experimental laser and digitizes him, transporting him into the system.

It’s here that Flynn meets the sentient programs that inhabit the world of the computer network and finds that they are now at the mercy of the fascistic rule of MCP and his second in command Sark (also played by David Warner). He discovers that those programs who profess a belief in the Users, those who wrote them and brought them to life, are forced to fight for their lives in assorted video games such as the famous Light Cycle one. Flynn is taken to a holding pen to await his turn in the video game where he meets Tron (Boxleitner again) and Ram (Dan Shor). Tron is a high powered security program with orders from his user, Alan, to take down MCP and Ram is an accounting program.

The three are taken to the Light Cycle arena and manage to escape, with Sark’s forces in pursuit in digital tanks. The tanks manage to hit Flynn and Ram whilst Tron escapes. The tanks pursue Tron, assuming Flynn and Ram to be dead. Well, they ain’t. They hide out in the dumped remains of a video game vehicle named a Recogniser and Flynn discovers he has the ability to restore the thing to almost full working order. Then Ram dies which is fine because he’s a fairly boring auxiliary character at this point anyway. Goodbye Ram.

So Tron meets up with Yori (Cindy Morgan again) and they go to a temple like I/O Tower wherein Tron communicates with his user, Alan, who arms him with the code needed in order to take down MCP. Tron and Yori then head towards the MCP with Flynn eventually catching up to them and explaining that he is a User with special abilities. Yori and Flynn are captured by Sark whilst Tron manages to stow away on his ship. Sark is transporting some ‘religious nuts’ to MCP so that he can absorb their code into his programming and informs Yori and Flynn that they will be de-rezzed along with the ship after Sark and his prisoners have been departed. This begins to happen but Flynn manages to bring Yori back with his super User powers. Hooray!

Tron begins to fight Sark and is winning until MCP gives him unrivalled power and transforms him into Sarkzilla. Flynn leaps from the ship into the MCP, causing enough of a distraction for Tron to finally hurl his disc into it, thus destroying it. The world of the circuit boards slowly begins to return to normal and Flynn is returned to his home world. The next day Dillinger comes to work and realises that, not only is MCP offline but Flynn has obtained the information needed to take him down. The final scene shows us that all is well and Flynn is now the CEO of Encom. Huzzah!

So what have we learned? Well, for one Jeff Bridges is computer Jesus, a god who comes to save the computer world, takes on the body of a Program, performs miracles and ultimately sacrifices his earthly (or in this case computerly) body so that others may live. Flynn is cooler though because he has a glowing suit and a motorbike made of light. Yeah, take that Jesus! With your ridiculous sandals and donkey. You gonna outride a Light Cycle on a donkey? Huh? Are ya, Jesus? Pfft, where’s ya messiah now?

Overall the film is pretty awesome. The special effects may seem dated compared to today’s CGI fest but allow yourself to be taken back to that time. Spend a day playing Pong, Pac-man or Space Invaders before watching this film. Then you’ll be able to appreciate it for what it is. There are sequences in this film are essentially what people thought video games might look like if you took them from their 2-d world and could place them in the 3rd dimension and considering this is 1982, I’d say they did a damn fine job of creating a unique, interesting world based on a seemingly mundane looking thing such as a circuit board.

In closing I’d just like to say that this is a worthy addition to any DVD collection. I can see a small percentage of people maybe being bored with this as it can move a little slow at time, particularly before Flynn enters the computer world and when he is by himself, but I think most people will be able to stay on board.

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