Posted on 6/05/11 07:59 PM
My 48th review, and even though I wasn't to kind to Tron: Legacy, I still figured I might as well check out the original. And I must say I was more than a little surprised. Tron is undeniably a landmark in the realm of visual effects and some kind of nerd/cult classic, but neither of those things exactly have a tendency to be... good.
Right from the start, Tron's plot is much better than that of its sequel. Instead of a rogue evil twin amassing an army to take over the real world, we get a really smart computer program that tyrannically rules a computer world and, by taking control of all other important networks in the world, plans to extend it's reach from cyberspace to the real world. Enter Kevin Flynn, former programmer for Encom corporation, who now works at his own arcade since all his game ideas were stolen by a slimy exec. With the assistance of a couple friends and current employees at Encom, Flynn breaks in to try and recover the evidence that said ideas were stolen. But unfortunately for him, Encom has just perfected a method for digitizing physical objects into the grid, and before he can retrieve the data, the M.C.P. (master control program) zaps Flynn inside.
Here, he is forced to compete in gladiatorial arena death-matches (for some reason). But Flynn doesn't have time for that. Along with a program named Tron, he busts out of the arena in search of the one program who can tell him how he can shut down the M.C.P. and get out.
Tron may not be a masterpiece, but it is quite entertaining, especially for it's time and compared to the sequel. The story is much more complex, and doesn't take itself nearly as seriously.
Jeff Bridges is likable as Flynn, and Bruce Boxleitner is pretty cool as the title character. Everyone else is decent if not noteworthy.
Tron's main appeal upon it's release as well as today is it's visuals, and they succeed even nowadays thanks to their unique style. Unlike Legacy, this film actually looks like a game, and that is an admirable feat. Surprisingly, there's one moment that's legitimately badass, in which Tron slices the M.C.P.'s second in command's head open with his disc, complete with little digital brain parts trickling out, SCORE! (If only they hadn't ruined by having him come back to life three times as tall Power Rangers style!!!)
The one absolutely terrible part occurs when Flynn is told to defeat his opponent in an arena battle, (he doesn't even know that means kill him), and he randomly goes NO!!!!!!!!!! It seems like this exchange was meant to flesh out Flynn's heroic traits or something but it misses entirely.
Overall, despite a few bad moments and some under-developed concepts, Tron is a very entertaining ride, and an interesting history lesson in CGI. Overall highly recommended over Tron: Legacy. 7/10