Tron Movie Review

Back in 1982, special effects never seemed more assured. In 2000, they look downright hokey. Disneyfied. And in fact, for its 20th anniversary reissue on DVD, Tron still looks pretty darn goofy, though it's easy to appreciate it as a pioneering work of its era.

In the film, Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner are largely forgettable in flourescent paint and blacklighting as they stumble their way inside the computer to foil the evil Master Control Program. You see, in Tron, computer programs actually take on sentience, fighting for supremacy in the belly of the machine, often as gladiators. That might explain why my system crashes so much. Bridges, though, plays a human, digitized with a laser and inserted into the machine where he does battle with his own creations -- which ultimately turns out to be the biggest letdown, as the MCP is a big red cylinder with a face reminiscent of the Kool-Aid Man.

But hey, it's 1982. There are Pac-Man references in the film. Because Pac-Man was hot, you know. So the 3-D-ish computer animation is pretty impressive in comparison with the video games of the day. Some of the best looking effects can be found in the deleted "love scene" on the two-disc 20th Anniversary Edition DVD set (just released), but you'll have to dig through an awful lot of archived interviews with early '80s computer geeks to get to it.

The biggest question of all: Will Tron 2.0 really make it to theaters? I'm actually kind of curious, because with 20 extra years of technology to work with, it ought to look incredible.


Tron Rating

" OK "

Rating: PG, 1982


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