When you think about it, the idea for ‘Tron’ is more than a bit far fetched, and on paper, it can be hard to connect with the material. Sure, for a modern day audience the idea of artificial intelligence and computer programs interacting with human in a digital environment may seem like a possibility on the horizon — just look at the modern advances in computer technology — but for an audience in the early 80s, ‘Tron’ must have felt really out there. Thankfully, the movie featured an entertaining, fast-paced story that audiences could enjoy, and showcased some of the most groundbreaking special effects ever seen on film.
‘Tron’ is the story of programmer Kevin Flynn, (Jeff Bridges) a young phenom who was the brightest young programmer at ENCOM Corp. During his time at ENCOM, Flynn had his two best video game programs stolen by rival engineer Ed Dillinger (David Warner). Dillinger used them to become wealthy and rise up the ranks of ENCOM.
Deciding that he wasn’t going to accept it, Flynn has been on a mission to hack the company’s Master Control program and find the evidence to prove Dillinger stole his work. With the help of ENCOM employee/friends Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lora Baines, (Cindy Morgan) Flynn breaks into ENCOM to find the evidence he needs. While trying to gain access to the system, the M.C program uses a quantum laser to transport Flynn into the virtual world of its system. Inside,
Flynn discovers a world where programs interact in human form and serve the M.C program. With the help of Bradley’s security program Tron, Flynn is on a mission to escape the virtual world and defeat the M.C program. Along the way, he is forced to do battle with energy discs and race to the death on light motorcycles.
Having never seen ‘Tron,’ I was very impressed. The story was engaging and high energy, there were very few instances where I felt the plot dragging. The true treat is the vintage special effects. Much as people love the original ‘Clash of the Titans’ for its vintage effects and stop-motion creatures, I think the same feelings are felt for ‘Tron.’ At the time of its release, these were truly groundbreaking effects, heavily driven by the new technology of computer animation. Fans were amazed at the sheer spectacle. I won’t go so far as to say it was a must see film in the same way that ‘Star Wars’ was, but ‘Tron’ felt like solid evidence that computer animation was the future of movies.