Thursday, 5 January 2012

Film Review:Tron

"User requests are what computers are for."
"Doing our business is what computers are for!"
Walter, the voice of reason, and Dillinger, the megalomaniac's voice of capitalism.

Tron could probably be described as the predecessor, or at least influential in, many films that we've seen since.  However, I haven't seen it until now.  For a so-called sci-fi fan, that's quite a confession, but it's true.  Courtesy of Lovefilm, however, that oversight has now been rectified, and I'm quite pleased with the result!

Upon first inspection, Tron is dated, and shows its age; however, the storyline and the plot have managed to remain current - in fact, any 'over-powered computer gains sentience and takes control' story probably owes its existence to Tron, and Terminator's Skynet is a prime example.  Other derivatives include the Matrix, The Net, and Hackers, to name a few.

Tron is also a great film if, like me, you like to play "What have they been in?" with the actors.  Apart from Jeff Bridges (who went on to feature in Starman, among others), Tron also features Bruce Boxleitner (Bablyon 5's John Sheridan), a very young-looking Peter Jurasik (Londa Mollari from Babylon 5, already with that unmistakeable voice), and David Warner (I recognised him as Chancellor Gorkon from Star Trek 6, The Undiscovered Country, but according to IMDB he was also in Bablyon 5 as well).

My misunderstanding of Tron led me far enough to believe that the grid-based vehicle 'game' that the occupants are forced to play was Tron; in fact, the title goes to Bruce Boxleitner's character, a rogue program introduced to cause trouble in the mainframe computer.  Yes, it's 1980s computer-speak all the way.  Otherwise, it's a CGI-fest covering a fairly straightforward adventure story... kinda reminds me of the Matrix, or Star Wars Episode 1.  It is genre-defining, it's fresh and new (for its day) and makes much of the recent stuff look derivative.  Somebody - I wish I could recall who - said that watching the later instalments of the Matrix trilogy were a lot like watching somebody else play a computer game.  There are occasional moments of that here with Tron, but these are fairly infrequent.

Overall, I liked Tron.  Yes, it's a lot of CGI and pretty graphics, but there is a story - two in fact - to be told, and I have to say that the 'real world' story was at least as interesting as the virtual one... it certainly had the more three-dimensional characters!

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