TRON deserves more love


Andrew Thomas and Cooper Garvey

Art based on art by Disney

Cooper Garvey, Reporter

The grid is a digital revelation. Invented by the mastermind programmer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) but on two separate occasions, he was trapped with little hope of escape. These two bytes are the basis for the plot of the two films acquainted with the title “Tron.” So many people call these films “nostalgic,” and “classics,” but half of those who say that have never even seen one or the other of these films. But (as somebody who resides in the silent minority), I can tell you that these films are certainly worth the watch. 

The first Tron film was released in 1982. At the time, the film was a marvel of what was technologically possible in terms of film VFX. The CGI was groundbreaking at the time. But, looking back on it now, the effects are very aged. The story is a classic tale of betrayal causing the events of the plot to be thrust into place. Flynn works on some of the best games that the company ENCOM puts out. But he discovers that another at ENCOM, Ed Dillinger (David Warner) is stealing the work that he is producing. Whilst testing a machine for a scientist, he is transported to the inside of the computer.

While inside the computer, he finds friends and foes that help him get through the world of the computer, including the likes of Tron and Clu. Eventually, Flynn gets back to the real world and takes the lead of ENCOM. Those are the events of the first film, the second takes place nearly 30 years after the events of the first one. In the time between the two, Flynn re-uses the machine that got him in the machine in the first film consistently. Building a world in the video game with Tron and Clu. But, seeking perfection, Clu turns on the others in the game, supposedly killing Tron and forcing Kevin Flynn into hiding – which makes everyone in the real world believe that he is dead, including his son, Sam.

“Tron Legacy,” the sequel to the first, is the Tron that far more people are acquainted with. A lot of people likely don’t even know that there was a first film to begin with. The second continues to follow the Flynn family, but instead of Kevin, it is his son Sam (Garret Hedlund) who takes up the mantle of the protagonist.

The film follows Sam as he thwarts ENCOM and tries to solve the mystery of what happened to his father (who went missing in the machine 21 years before). His life, and simultaneously the plot, change after a close family friend gives him a key to the old Flynn’s arcade. Sam then ventures through the retro labyrinth to the very back of the arcade. At the back, in Kevin’s office, he finds the machine that transported his father into the Tron game in the first place. After biting off more than can be chewed, he is transported into the game. Then he finds his father deep in the confines of the outer bounds. Then Kevin, Sam, and a pupil of Kevin’s, Quorra must escape the wrath of Clu and his reformed computerized nation. Whilst simultaneously preventing Clu from entering the real world via the portal, they must use it to escape.

The film is far from critically acclaimed, as the first one was. But the general populous seems to really love this film. And when most people think of Tron, they think of the Neon Blue hued light-cycles and light storms that illuminate the city in the computer. But as a series, it is rather neglected by most. That is a rather unfair fact to be considered.

For one, the visual effects on both were groundbreaking for their times. The 1980’s version was very big in the fact that it utilized the best software of its time, to the best of its ability at the time. It was visually groundbreaking compared to most films that had come out at the time. Comparing it to “Star Trek 2: The Wrath Of Khan,” and “ Conan The Barbarian.” The only film that rivaled it in terms of VFX (and everything else) was “Blade Runner.”

Now, to some, it is a very valued film series that is close to their heart. But to most, it is a name they know, but one they likely did not bother to look into. But I highly recommend checking it out if you have not already, it is something you likely won’t regret; nor forget any time soon.