Movie Night – Tron
In 1982, most of us still didn’t have a computer in our home and Atari was still the king of home video game consoles, but film maker Steven Lisberger had a vision of a world that existed entirely inside of a computer system. That world would be turned into the movie Tron.
Aside from a few film shorts, mostly proof of concept stuff, computer graphics had yet to make their way into a movie. Computers still weren’t up to the task of creating the world that Lisberger envisioned, so he employed a mix of techniques including live action, backlit animation and computer generated images to achieve an effect that had never before been seen on the big screen. Lisberger successfully created the world that he imagined.
The plot of Tron is a pretty straight forward adventure where the Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges is digitized and pulled into a massive computer system. Inside the system, programs are represented by people, vehicles, buildings, etc. Some of these constructs mirror their real world creators, including the program named Tron,played by Bruce Boxleitner, that Flynn teams up, to defeat the evil Master Control Program, played by David Warner, which mirrors the appearance of it’s real world creator Ed Dillinger who has stolen video game code from Flynn.
Tron was moderately successful at the box office, but it was a huge success as far as geeks were concerned. The thought of being a physical participant in a video game appealed to almost every kid and geek, and we finally got to see it come to life on the screen. We all wanted a Light Cycle, and we began using Frisbees as weapons, not just a toys.
Tron stands up well, even 28 years later. Even with all of the advances in CGI and other film making tech, it’s still stunningly beautiful. I recently shared this movie with my son, who’s 13 and he greatly enjoyed it.
Now we’re looking forward to Tron Legacy, which thankfully is sequel to and not a remake of the original film. The new movie is set to be released in theaters on December 17th, 2010 and you can be sure that I’ll be in a seat the first weekend.