Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TRON (1982)

Cinema Confession #2: I had never seen “TRON” before I walked into the Alamo Ritz for the first film of a triple feature which also included an encore presentation of “Ninja Annihilation War” which I wrote about previously here, plus the Terror Thursday screening of “The Gate.” This screening was also presented by Arcade U.F.O., a brand new video game arcade located right here in Austin, TX. Their introduction of the film painted “TRON” less as a film, and more as a historical document, and in a lot of ways, it is.

The film is about a arcade-wiz/computer hacker (Jeff Bridges) named Flynn who is literally sucked into a computer that he's trying to circumvent. To be more specific, he is digitized by a laser and streamed into the vindictive hard drive; it's all very high tech. The computer, known as Master Control, basically runs everything at ENCOM, the software corporation that Flynn used to work for before his ideas were stolen and he was fired by the evil Dillinger (played by the always great David Warner). Master Control does his best to confirm the fears of 80's audiences everywhere that artificial computer intelligence was inherently evil and would eventually turn on humanity. In this case, Master Control had grown “2,415 times smarter” then it's “writer,” Dillinger, and had ceased control of ENCOM.

Anyway, once inside the computer, Flynn meets several defunct programs (all of which are played by their human-programmer/counterparts a.k.a. users), including an expert gladiator named RAM (played by Dan Shor of “Dead Kids).” Flynn is then forced to compete in Gladiator-style games where life and death are the only 2 outcomes. Eventually Flynn leads a rebellion against the Master Control that could be his only chance to get back to the real world.

The computer world, as it were, is made up of a three dimensional grids, 80's video game graphics, and a rotoscopic technique in which the human characters were filmed in black & white and then colorized later. All of this add up to a look that despite it's dated qualities, looks like no other film ever. That's the good news.

The bad news, at least as far as I am concerned, is that I think I missed the boat with this one. If I would of watched "TRON" when I was a kid, I probably would have a strong affection for it, but watching it for the first time now just made me feel like I don't understand computers.

Anyway, it was kind of worth it just to see the scene where Jeff Bridges looks at a 4 foot wide door and says "now that's a big door."

"TRON" screened on 9/11/08 at 7:00 at the Alamo Ritz, and was presented by Arcade U.F.O.

1 comment:

FarewellNote said...

wow that made me watch that in my
8th grade art class haha