★★ / ★★★★
Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a software programmer and an arcade owner, wished to hack into his own program which was currently held by a company led by Ed Dillinger (David Warner). But Flynn’s attempts failed because Master Control Program (MCP voiced by Warner) ran a dictorship-like existence inside the program. With the help of Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), a fellow programmer, and Lora (Cindy Morgan), Flynn was able to sneak inside the company. However, MCP had eyes everywhere and, to Flynn’s surprise, it actually had the power to take him inside the game. Written and directed by Steven Lisberger, “Tron” had outdated special and visual effects, but what I enjoyed most about it was the fact that it had an idea and it committed to exploring that idea. The questions that were brought up, such as man’s relationship and increasing dependence with technology, wasn’t very deep but they were satisfactory to get me to care about what happened once Flynn was inside the program. The characters were forced to participate in gladiatorial games in which the loser would cease to exist. When Clu/Flynn, Tron/Alan, and Ram (Dan Shor) took it upon themselves to actively rebel against MCP, I didn’t see the colorful cars as just models for cars but a symbol for a particular character. Although the three were essentially a part of a video game, I cared about them because their challenges, created by Sark (also played by Warner), became increasingly difficult. However, as a whole, I felt like the material was too dependent on its special and visual effects. What the picture needed, especially when the audience had gotten used to the visuals, was more human qualities. I didn’t know who Flynn was outside of his job. He liked to play video games but even that was superficial. In the beginning, there seemed to be a friendship between Flynn and Lora. The friendship was mentioned but the friendship wasn’t shown in a meaningful way. Furthermore, there were a handful of questions that left us hanging. When Flynn was abducted by MCP, what did Lora and Alan do prior to appearing in the game? Was there even a passage of time from the moment Flynn was kidnapped until he returned? I felt as though there were several missing scenes toward the end that could potentially help to wrap up the story. The screenplay wasn’t as tight as it should have been, therefore its story, not just its influential effects, felt dated as well. And why was the film titled “Tron” when he wasn’t, arguably, the hero of the story? Tron felt like a sidekick because Flynn had the strong personality, the playful energy, and, lest we forget, he created the program. But I digress. “Tron” requires some effort to watch which might be attributed to some of the tech talk. Still, I’m giving it a slight recommendation because, image-wise, I’ve never seen anything quite like it.