Sunday, October 7, 2012
Bad/Awesome Flixxx Review: Tron (1982)
"I've got a little challenge for you, Sark - a new recruit. He's a tough case, but I want him treated in the usual manner. Train him for the games... let him hope for a while... and blow him away. " - Master Control Program
"*Because*, man, *somewhere* in one of these memories is the *evidence*! If I got in far enough, I could reconstruct it." - Flynn
"The best programmer ENCOM ever had, and he ends up playing space cowboy in some back room." - Alan Bradley
I remember my older cousins going ape shit over this movie Tron. My cousin Alan was completely obsessed and got super into Atari right after that. He had me super stoked on Atari and that led my pop to buying our Atari 2600. Those were wild days. Top-loading VCRs and cartridge based "video" games were new to the mass public and with no internet and primitive DOS machines in only the richest of homes, the folks at Disney really knocked it out of the park by grabbing onto this one. Granted it wasn't anyone involved with Disney who "made" the movie, they only financed it after the visionary director Lisberger gave them an outstanding screen test. Jeff Bridges in one of his early outstanding roles, I present to you TRON!!!
Tron is the story of genius computer programmer Kevin Flynn who used to work for a company called Encom. He was screwed over by his former partner Ed Dillenger who stole his design for five early video games that Flynn developed. We learn that Dillenger rewrote the games deleting all information pertaining to Flynn and then got a "big fat promotion". Flynn was later canned, and barred from anything concerning Encom. Fast forward a few years later and Flynn runs a bigtime arcade in some downtown warehouse. His former colleagues can't understand why he's obsessed with breaking into Encom's systems (or hacking). In the beginning of the flick it shows Flynn controlling a computer version of a dude (played by himself) named CLU that is trying to hack the system to find the information that will prove he wrote the games. But he is shit out of luck because Dillenger has a new security system called the Master Control Program that keeps blocking his every move.
Flynn invites his former colleagues over and explains the deal to them hoping they will allow him level 7 security clearance. His bud Alan tells him unfortunately no one has that clearance anymore because of Dillenger and the MCP. BUT they can help him sneak into Encom, and that they do. Once in, Flynn begins to hack and is confronted by the MCP who aims some kind of wild ass laser at his back and somehow sucks him into the computer and forces him to play games for his life. It also seems as though he does this to get him back because he invented him in the first place as a chess program. Here's where the awesome effects of the movie shine. The computer world is filmed unlike any other movie before it, and combines real life, animation and backlit animation. Its pretty rad. All the actors in the real world have counterparts in the computer world and speak with very computer saavy and computer related dialogue. Its very well written even by today's standards (which I guess isn't saying very much).
The MCP and his lieutenant Sark see over "games" in which "programs" compete against each other in order to keep their lives. "User's" are considered religious nonsense by the MCP, but the bits and programs secretly believe in them. Being a user himself, Flynn conceals his identity from everyone until he can figure out just what exactly is going on. So Flynn meets up with Ram and Tron (a program with a special security mission) and they escape the game grid. Chased throughout the inner workings of the mainframe, Ram and Flynn are separated from Tron. Ram is killed and Flynn continues his quest to get to the MCP figuring out that being a user, he can manipulate the digital reality to his liking. Tron is dogged by "tanks" until he meets up with their chick friend who takes him to see a tower guard who lets him communicate with his user. Once he does that, he has the info he needs to defeat the MCP.
Riding on some kind of laser boat, Tron and Flynn are reunited. Sark chases them and rams their ship with his larger one leaving Flynn and the chick to believe Tron to be dead. Tron infiltrates the MCP's inner sanctum while he is trying to decimate some captured programs and begins battle with Sark. He defeats Sark but Sark is then brought back to life by the MCP when he transfers all of his power to Sark. Sark looks big as shit. Suddenly Flynn and the chick are flying by and they see the MCP. Flynn smooches the chick and jumps into the center of the MCP to distract it, leaving a big gaping hole open in its spinning security... thing. Flynn is lifted back out of the MCP and it turns from red to blue signifying that shit is going good. Then the blue color spreads throughout the system and they rejoice. Then Flynn is magically transported back into the real world and he gets an email that says hey, that other guy is a dick, you really wrote these programs. Dillenger gets the same email the next morning and he sulks in his desk. Next scene is real life Tron and real life chick watching Flynn fly onto the top of Encom in his new helicopter. He gets out in a suit showing us that he is now the big cheese. Should you see this one? Absolutely! Its a Hell of a film. I recommend the almost 3 decade later sequel as well.