Tron (1982)

tron movie poster 1982
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 10/10

Great and revolutionary visuals

Kind of weak story

Movie Info

Movie Name: Tron

Studio: Walt Disney Productions

Genre(s): Sci-Fi

Release Date(s): July 9, 1982

MPAA Rating: PG

tron flynn computer jeff bridges 1982

Welcome to the grid, Flynn!

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) has a problem.  The most popular game in the world is Space Paranoids.  Kids are playing it at his arcade, but he’s getting no credit.  That’s because Space Paranoids was stolen by Ed Dillinger (David Warner) and any connection to Flynn was hidden deep inside his Master Control Program.  Flynn wants his money and with the help of Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and Dr. Lora Baines (Cindy Morgan), he intends to get them both.  The MCP has other plans and Flynn is about to get pulled into the computer world he is trying to hack.

tron light cycles 1982

In 1982 this was the coolest thing you had ever seen…

Directed by Steve Lisberger, Tron is a sci-fi fantasy film.  The movie was conceived by Lisberger with the invention of video games and Lisberger penned the script.  The movie received positive reviews but a fair return at the box office.  Tron was nominated for two Academy Awards for Best Costume Design and Best Sound.  Over the years, the film has received a cult following.

Tron is a very visionary film.  When it came out in 1982, computer animation was relatively new.  It was clean and flashy.  Tron helped inspire computer animation down the line.  What really helped Tron was the other visuals.  The character designs and the black & white combination with the red & blue neons almost gives Tron a stark look like Metropolis or other old sci-fi films or German expressionism (and the minimalist sets help too).

tron mcp 1982

MCP has weight issues

It is also interesting in the idea that the Users are gods.  It is kind of a surprising message for a Disney movie which doesn’t usually take many chances with stories.  This could have potentially offended a lot of people since it almost is an anti-God type of message but never really seemed to be an issue.

Tron does have problems.  The story is a bit confusing for kids and sometimes it is hard to distinguish characters since they look alike.  There is also the generic “it’s because he’s a User” answer to anything that Flynn’s character can do.  Can he get them to jump light beams?  Yep, he’s a User.  Can he randomly change colors?  Yep, he’s a User.  It isn’t really explained.

tron sark david warner 1982

Sark was later transformed into Candy Crush

Tron also has a problem in that it just kind of ends.  The movie doesn’t have much resolution, and just feels like it tags out the cool computer scenes with an obligitory scene in the real world that shows everything worked out great (although I do love the effect of the credits which compares the real world with the world of the computers through a time laps photo).

Tron, like it or not, was revolutionary.  It made your jaw drop when it first came out and I still think the visuals really hold up.  In 2011, Tron:  Legacy finally hit theaters as a follow-up to the story.  The movie actually had a lot of the problems that Tron had (including a shortened ending), and it felt like they could have evolved the idea of a world within the computer world more.  Fortunately, Tron:  Legacy wasn’t one of the movies that ruins the original.  I still consider Tron a revolutionary film that is worth watching multiple times.  Tron stands on its own…End of Line.

Related Links:

Tron:  Legacy (2010)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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