Thursday, June 02, 2011

Tron (1982)

Tagline: In the future, video game battles will be a matter of life or death. / A world inside the computer where man has never been. Never before now.

Summary (taken from IMDb): A hacker [Kevin Flynn] is literally abducted into the world of a computer and forced to participate in gladiatorial games where his only chance of escape is with the help of a heroic security program [Tron].

As a huge fan of Tron: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 Tron, I was amazed that this wasn’t the first film I watched for my blog posts. I had heard mixed reviews about this film, many of them were unsatisfactory, but I can assure you, that Tron is not so bad as everyone makes it out to be.

Sure, if you watch Tron: Legacy, the special effects in the original film will underwhelm you, but I would argue that that’s part of the 80’s charm! The original light suits were just a unitard with bits of “armor” on the upper arms. The original helmets were not high-tech, appear-when-you-need-them helmets, but were bulky, hockey helmets that never left their heads. Instead of smooth, glossy identity discs like in Tron: Legacy they had white Frisbees. The whole costume looked like the blue or orange lighting could only be seen with black lights. All in all, Tron did the best it could with the technology available; therefore, with Tron: Legacy, technology was much more advanced, so the costuming follows suit. It was interesting to see the differences between the costumes and where the inspiration for the various light suits in the recent sequel came from.

The actual world of the Grid looked exactly like a videogame would. There was no sleek, clean-cut lines, and beautiful lighting—rather, there was harsh Pacman-esque, primitive gridlines: almost looked like they scanned graphing notebook paper and then green screened in all the actors and props.

I thought Jeff Bridges was so believable as Kevin Flynn: a likeable character for sure. I drew a lot of parallels between Jeff Bridges’ performance in the original Tron and Garrett Hedlund’s performance as Sam Flynn. Like father, like son.

The dichotomy between Users and Programs is set up in the original, while it was only something briefly covered in the sequel. I understood the power of the Users much better after watching the original, where you see Kevin Flynn touch the gridlines and discover that he can manipulate things within the grid. I also understood the glowing blue water/liquid that was just sitting on the dinner table in Tron: Legacy. It is some kind of energy booster/power for Programs and Users alike: like a Gatorade or Monster or 5-hour Energy.

The original film also explained the character Tron in more depth, since he was actually a main character. He is the first Program to do the Tron-pose (calling it that for lack of a better phrase) that Sam Flynn did at the end of Tron: Legacy.

In the end, I would recommend watching this film for those who remotely like Tron: Legacy or for those who enjoy sci-fi movies.

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