Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a software programmer, is dragged into the virtual world where he is pitted against a malevolent software. He takes the help of Tron (Bruce Boxleitner), a security programme that assists him in his quest to defeat the villain.
Tron has always been one of those movies that I remember watching as a young boy and greatly enjoying. I remember back in the day probably thinking it was the best movie I had ever seen, because when I was young, every movie was the best in my eyes. Today, I was scrolling around Disney+ and I came across Tron. I had no clue (no pun intended) that the film was on the streaming service mainly because I didn’t know that Buena Vista was the film’s distributor. In hindsight, it’s quite obvious I suppose, but it just never crossed my mind before.
So, because I hadn’t seen it in at least a decade, I decided to give it another go just to see what it’s like all these years later. One thing’s for sure though – I didn’t remember any of the film during this rewatch. Everything that happened came as a surprise to me and I truly didn’t remember how the film played out, which was great.
Let’s just get this out of the way right now – Steven Lisberger’s Tron is one of the campiest movies ever made. The concept sounds quite exciting and on paper, even though it sounds a little goofy, it’s hard not to admit the potential it has. But the actual film itself reminded me of the early days of the Star Trek television series, in a good way. Tron comes complete with light cycle battles, neon-colored discs, and characters that wear outfits you would see in a laser-tag arena.
It’s actually so much fun to watch these characters and this world come to life on screen. It feels larger than life and it is extremely easy to get sucked into the universe and atmosphere that Lisberger crafted. One of the most incredible things that Tron has on display is its use of color. I’m just going to go ahead and say it – this is one of the most gorgeous looking movies of all-time. It’s absolutely chalked full of neon colors that pop right out of the screen. Tron as a whole is just an incredibly visually pleasing movie that you will never want to take your eye off of.
All of the action sequences are also quite fun to watch although they most definitely do not hold up perfectly today. I’m sure that back when this movie was released in 1982, everything looked amazing and state of the art, but today, it is hilariously corny at times. It’s both a positive and a negative. There were some moments where I was laughing when I could tell I wasn’t supposed to, but it’s too hard to resist. It’s one of the campiest films ever made while also being hugely entertaining. All of these sequences are made even better by the film’s synth soundtrack by Wendy Carlos.
If there is one massive problem to take away from Tron however, it would have to be its story. Truthfully, it just isn’t all that gripping. It can be interesting every once in a while, but when I was watching the film, I never felt a sense of danger. This is a movie in which a man is literally trapped inside of a dangerous and trippy video game, so at the very least, there should be some sense of doom present somewhere in the film. But, rather, the film feels without stakes which is a big problem here.
Gratefully though, we get to see Jeff Bridges in all his glory here. This was back when he was in his prime and one of the heartthrobs of the eighties. Don’t get me wrong, Bridges’ work today is so much better than his previous efforts, but there is something special about a young Bridges being as likable and charismatic than ever in a film like this, faults and all.
Tron has an absolutely gorgeous color palette on display and a universe that is easy to get sucked into, even if the story and campiness can get in the way sometimes.
Overall Grade: B
MPAA Rating: PG
Directed by: Steven Lisberger
Distributed by: Buena Vista Distribution
Release Date: July 9, 1982
Running Time: 96 minutes