Release Date: July 9, 1982
Director: Steven Lisberger
Production Company: Walt Disney Productions | Lisberger-Kushner Productions
I never saw Tron before even though I was in the key demographic for the movie when it was released. The movie is on the surface incomprehensible, but in reality it is the most basic of stories in which the good guys fight the bad guys for freedom. It’s just layered under so much technobabble that it’s easy to feel that you’re missing something deeper. There are some feints at having a message of fighting the dehumanizing affects of capitalism, but at the end the hero becomes the CEO of a tech company, so maybe not.
David Warner plays Dillinger, the evil tech company executive who shuts down access to the company’s mainframe to our hero program. Warner also plays Sark, the personification of the command program within the computer. Both Dillinger and Sark are reluctantly subservient to the Master Control Program (MCP), the sentient operating system hell bent on world domination. Programmers Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and Dr. Lora Baines (Cindy Morgan) want to regain access to their projects in the mainframe, so they bring in ex-employee-turned-video-arcade-operator Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) to hack the system and expose evidence of Dillinger’s wrong-doing. Flynn is almost instantly downloaded into the mainframe’s cyberspace.
Flynn must save and restore the cyberspace with the help of Alan’s security program named Tron (Boxleitner) and Lori’s input/output program Yori (Morgan). The famous Tron lightcycles make for a great visual effect and set piece, but sadly are only a small part of the movie. Much of the film is technobabble and characters moving from point to point to move the plot along. Bridges plays his character as if he was Han Solo becoming a nerdy hacker. The rest of the cast is kind of flat. I expect they were told to act like emotionless computer programs which is accurate but not very engaging.