Recent reviews have focused on 1980s films that speculated on the role newly generated technologies would take in the world and what fates would await humans if artificial intelligence gained too much power. The line between games and reality was the subject of “WarGames,” and it also undergirds “Tron” from 1982.
In “Tron,” Jeff Bridges plays Kevin Flynn, who runs an arcade. The somewhat bitter game enthusiast used to work as a computer engineer for ENCOM, a software company. One of his co-workers, Bob Dillinger (played by David Warner), took credit for the video games he created and leveraged their popularity to work his way up the corporate ladder. Kevin, of course, wants to prove the games were his design. One evening, he and some friends break into the ENCOM building. As he is working at a computer there, he gets transported into the world of a computer game. Here, Kevin struggles to stay alive as he tries to find a way to get out. He is pursued by SARK (also played by Warner), who has to kill him. As he is in the game, Kevin is assisted by Tron, whose real world counterpart is his friend, Alan (played by Bruce Boxleitner).
“Tron” has a timeless story. It is similar to “The Wizard of Oz” as Kevin finds that his friends and enemies in the real world are also his friends and enemies in the game.
The special effects are very impressive. Although the look is dated, it still works quite well. The game world has a lot of color, yet it is also quite dark. There are several good action scenes in the film when Kevin finds himself in situations similar to ones in video games.
Jeff Bridges is strong in the lead role. He makes his character someone who is easy to root for since his ideas were stolen. David Warner is very well cast as the film’s villain.
“Tron” is a great choice for fans of classic science fiction.