Tron (1982)

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Nolan Cook
The Broadside

Tron is entertaining and good for kids to watch (possibly teenagers), but not a film recommended for adults. Tron has the FX (even in current terms) to be an enjoyable movie, but the aspects of philosophy and everyday life are mostly missing from this film. If you enjoy a quick, flashy walk in another world with little explanation, then Tron is the movie for you.

Synopsis:
Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a genius video game programmer in the 1980s, but gets his intellectual property stolen by Edward Dillinger (David Warner) who is jealous of Flynn’s software but unable to create it himself.

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The tricky part about this is that even though Dillinger somehow can’t design simple video game programs, he can design a program called the MCP (Master Control Program) that can absorb other programs and “add” their functions to his own. Dillinger works for ENCOM and is
the Senior Vice President, while Flynn lost his job there.

Now, if you can wrap your head around that apparent conundrum, most of the movie will make sense. Flynn tries to steal evidence from ENCOM’s database proving that Dillinger stole the video game programs from him.

In the process he gets “quantum teleported” by the MCP and becomes a part of the digital network that the MCP controls. As Flynn explores the new environment, he befriends other programs identical to their programmers or “users” in physical appearance. Flynn teams up with Ram (an actuarial program) and Tron (an independent security program) to beat the MCP and return the network to it’s original status.

It is a generic Disney “feel good” film, where the protagonists suffer little harm and the human condition is not really addressed in the film and if it is, it is minimal in it’s approach. (The human condition is a term that will be used in my future reviews and it is a general term that
critics use which refer to all things uniquely human such as philosophy, language, morals etc.)

The film deals with themes of religion, death and romance, but they are incredibly light. What I am saying is that this film won’t change your mind because the material is largely uncontroversial. Interestingly, though, it has been deemed as a cult film by some critics, possibly because it didn’t receive enough attention in the ‘80s.

Nolan Cook can be reached atncook@cocc.edu

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