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REVIEW OF THE ORIGINAL 'TRON' JEFF BRIDGES & DAVID WARNER

Year: 1982 Rating: ****
Steven Lisberger is the Steve Wozniak of computer cinema, but what he first created on the big screen didn't give him the money like the man who created the original Apple out of wood while Steve Jobs ultimately got all the credit...

And it's tough to distinguish who gets credit over Lisberger... perhaps THE MATRIX or anything including an inside-a-computer adventure, turning Lisberger's proverbial Apple 2 into everyone else's high-end Mac. Sadly, Steven's basically a forgotten cult fixture, having only done a few movies thereafter, and none very technical including HOT PURSUIT starring John Cusack (and a supposedly awful eco-horror with Mark Hamill). But Lisberger's one trick pony is quite a ride, and the original TRON makes up for in what would be considered "dated" special effects with a great story and terrific characters...

Cindy Morgan in TRON
Two sets of characters, actually: people on the outside world are called "users" and have their own clones within the system taken over by David Warner's nefarious corporate tyrant Ed Dillinger, known as Sark inside the console, and he also voices the Master Control Programmer, a giant impending face liken to David's devil in TIME BANDITS. One of the few movies not named after the main star, since FLYNN just wouldn't have that tech ring to it. But Jeff Bridges' sarcastic slacker is the creator of groundbreaking video games stolen by Dillinger and, as Flynn runs a teen hangout video arcade and spends time alone, revenge-hacking, he gets a helpful warning by ex-girlfriend Lora and her new beau Alan, played by Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner. Eventually, Flynn himself winds up inside the computer and must fight to both save his life and basically prove he's the man behind the original ideas...

Jeff Bridges as Flynn
And here's an important element: Boxleitner's computer alter-ego i.e. who his frustrated Alan controls from his console is named.... TRON! And while Bruce is a bit Disney-square in his acting as a human on the outside world, he becomes a perfectly dynamic superhero once the ball gets rolling inside, where the best scenes occur right after Flynn enters the computer and must battle rivals with the now-iconic flying discs and light cycles, escaping with Tron, a youngster, Ram, and eventually Cindy Morgan's Yori into a world-inside-a-world where the animation becomes even more visually dynamic: and yet the pace slows down considerably (while Wendy Carlos's score gets louder) and, as the characters don't have anywhere else to run, the action hits a spectacular-looking roadblock...

Somewhat reminiscent of STAR WARS including a long shot of a particularly giant vessel's underbelly that goes on for a while, and the fact a group of rebels are inside what's basically a death trap fortress to, ultimately, take over the world, combined with an old school war film template including a doomed young soldier, a famed warrior, an underdog with potential to save everyone and formidable tanks, TRON is a classic all its own: not exactly groundbreaking in what it's about, that is, computer animation... but definitely the ultimate peak of a colorful animated style made to look light years ahead of its time... and we're mostly talking plot over aesthetic: an odyssey that mesmerizes beyond its own limitations, only mattering when compared to today's standards, which turned out the awful TRON: LEGACY. More proof that story means more than special effects.
Tron album music Wendy Carlos signed by Caddyshack starlet Cindy Morgan as Yori
The gorgeous Cindy Morgan (who we think resembles Margot Robbie) promoting TRON's video game
David Warner in TRON
David Warner in TRON
David Warner in TRON
David Warner in TRON
Jeff Bridges in TRON
Jeff Bridges in TRON with Dan Shor
Special effects of TRON
Special effects of TRON
Special effects of TRON
Special effects of TRON
Jeff Bridges with Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner in TRON
Tanks of TRON
Tanks of TRON
David Warner from TRON
David Warner from TRON
David Warner from TRON
David Warner in TRON
Jeff Bridges in TRON
Jeff Bridges in TRON
Jeff Bridges in TRON
Cindy Morgan and Bruce Boxleitner in TRON
Bruce Boxleitner in TRON

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