16 October 1999 | StudentDriver
Beautiful film that presaged the future of film making.
I was terribly excited about Tron when it came out theatrically; I was all of 8 years old, but was already a computer geek. 15 years later, I ended up purchasing the $100 Archive Edition laserdisc box set as my very first LD. Tron definitely made an impact on me.
Tron has survived the years- more so than many other contemporary SF films, and more than I think most critics would have guessed. Instead of looking out-dated and corny, as the years have passed, Tron has aged gracefully. Sure, the monochrome-screen terminals might look a bit old, and the arcade is a distant, fond memory, but the SFX are still beautiful, and the storyline, in this era of the Internet, seems shockingly modern.
One of the reasons Tron's SFX have aged so well is because they did not try to simulate anything already existing. We have no basis to determine if the architecture of the MCP's world is out-dated or not-hip; everything is styled so uniquely that it's never going to look wrong. Much like the design of Maria in Metropolis, the look of Tron is never going to be laughable or quaint.
The storyline is lacking a little bit; you can see the ideas the script writers wanted to insert, but there are too many ideas for only 2 hours of film. There are quite a few points in the film that are mentioned and then ignored (Grid bugs, anyone?), and occasionally the film digresses from the plot for no other reason than to digress- the digressions being unimportant to the story at hand. But, despite the problems, the philosophy of user/program interaction, and the handling of technophobia are both handled admirably.
I recommend every video game, computer, and SF fan to watch Tron at least once. I echo the call for it to be the widescreen version, but I am disappointed with the DVD's extra features- or lack thereof. The LD is much more full featured, and better for fans, despite the side breaks every 30 minutes.