Tron (1982)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Sci-Fi Action, Tech Noir  |   Release Date - Jul 9, 1982 (USA - Unknown)  |   Run Time - 96 min.  |   Countries - United States  |   MPAA Rating - PG
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Review by Derek Armstrong

Years before The Matrix contemplated life inside an all-encompassing computer, Tron realized a similar concept in glorious fashion, with visuals that were equally cutting edge at the time. Although it did not strike a chord with all audiences, those who allowed themselves to be swept away into that alternate world of pixels and grids claimed fanatical devotion to the influential film. The central struggle between good and evil is pure hokum, but the plot is not Tron's major contribution to imaginative cinema. Its neon-colored world of geometric shapes and angles is the true star, as well as the only necessary justification for making the film. The stark, foreboding computer environment is a world more intensely foreign than a sunless planet at the distant edges of the universe. Enhancing the atmosphere is the merciless villain played by David Warner, who, along with his evil incarnate character from Time Bandits (1981), portrayed two of the more delicious sources of pure malice of the early '80s. Key to its enduring presence in both gaming and science fiction communities is its two innovative competition sequences: one involves a deadly race in which curved racing pods try to outdistance each other, while avoiding colliding with the lethal wall of exhaust left in the other's wake; the second features players hurling discs at each other, with dire consequences for being knocked off balance or failing to complete the catch.