Tron (1982)



Tron: a pioneer in CGI.

What goes on insider computers?  How do programs act?  In Tron we see that programs, for the purposes of this story, take on the form of their creators and function similarly to what takes place in the real world.  That is, of course, if you ignore the visual effects and futuristic-at-the-time look to the world they live in.

Much like the sequel Tron: Legecy, I feel like Tron is the type of movie that is cutting-edge visually, but limited and at times boring story-wise.  I found myself getting bored at times with this movie, which seems odd since it’s shorter than many at just under an hour and a half.  The acting is decent: Jeff Bridges as Flynn is part Jeffery Lebowski, part genius.  He definitely helps the movie: his charisma is engaging and his enthusiasm and nerdy-ness shows.  Bruce Boxleitner complements him well as Alan Bradley/Tron.  The contrast with his more down-to-earth demeanor balances out Flynn’s craziness.

This films primary villain, the Master Control Program, sets up a classic artificial intelligence enemy that sees the imperfections of humans and circumvent their creator’s authority and assume a dictatorship-type role.  It’s certainly been replicated a number of times, but it’s interesting to see the dangers and potential pitfalls of technology and artificial intelligence gone too far.

It’s interesting to see how far CGI has come in the last 30 years.  “In fact, although Tron  was Academy Award nominated for costume and sound, it was refused a nomination for special effects because the use of CGI was considered to be cheating!”  The only other film before or close to Tron‘s release that employed CGI-type effects that I can think of is Jason and the Argonauts (1963).  It’s just interesting for me to see how far special effects have come.

I find myself enjoying Tron a little less with each viewing.  I believe it has major film making significance, but the allure wears off every time I see this movie.  It’s good to see Tron and understand where CGI as we know it these days began.

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars.

End of Line


One thought on “Tron (1982)

  1. I studied the original Tron back in film school. It was quite significant in that it was the first movie to have entirely CGI sequences, but it was also a commercial failure. That pushed back CGI in movies for at least another 10 years, and I personally don’t recall anyone touting CGI in films before Disney started putting it into films like Aladdin and The Lion King.

    The remake was kind of weak, but as I put it to a friend all they had to work with was a color scheme and a twenty-year old misunderstanding of how computers worked!

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