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Tron 1982 - Film Review

Updated on January 16, 2014


The film was scripted and directed by Steve Lisberger and the story was originally created by him and Bonnie MacBird. Lisberger was fascinated by the game Pong and what if you could possibly get inside that world where programs preside. Originally the film was actually turned down by other studios but eventually was taken on by Disney.

Originally meant to be all computer generated animation but they involved the live action and decided to back light the animation to create this mystic effect and is a film classic that had a completely unique look until they made Tron Legacy. (which I will review soon)

The Film

The idea behind Tron was fantastic. With the animation technology at the time and being that games were very primitive it was amazing that they even attempted this in my eyes. However I'm glad they did because it was a very unique story.

The idea of a games programmer getting sucked into a digital world which he had been involved in creating was just fascinating. With programming being in the family this was so interesting. The world itself looked more like they were running about on a motherboard or different pieces of hardware. There are take a 'solar sailer simulation' which is like the data transfer from one place to another. It feels very well thought out and certainly well developed.

Some parts of the story I feel if you don't know about programming its certainly harder to understand at first but this just seems to create more interest than anything as even if you don't know what it means they soon tell you.

Each user (person on the outside of the computer) has a program (person on the inside of the computer) that follows them which they actually indicate in the film too. However for me this is one of the weaker bits in the film as rather than just receiving instructions like you would expect they programs don't know really what the plan is until they speak to their users which to me seems weird.


I found it hard to follow the characters at first as it seemed to take a long time to establish the actual story. It was like they were lost to what to do with all these people and thought well if we kinda set up the scene and then remove them completely it will be good enough.

But to me this seems such a waste as they could have done so much more. I am gathering they blew their budget on film with the animation and the live action sequences inside Tron so just rushed the rest together to create the film.

So for example you meet Flynn our main character his best friend Alan who are both programmers and then there is a female character who Flynn used to date and now Alan likes. However she wasn't really needed other than her leading Flynn to the lazer, which was far to long and put the time line of the film (in my point of view) completely out of sync with the rest, she didn't have a purpose at all. Even Alan's character isn't on screen for every long but because he is mentioned by Tron (Alan's program in the digital world) he just seems to get away as a main character.


We get introduced to the human baddy who turns out to be a no body because he is receiving his instruction from Master Control the evil computer that was originally set up by Flynn and seems to have gotten corrupted along the way. However surprise surprise even though this character is counted as the main villain in all this to me he is pointless yet again. When speaking to he human baddy Master Control is intimidating and ruthless and seems hell bent on getting his own way and making the world efficient. Yet by the time we are inside this digital world Master Contol is flat and boring and we find that the underling program who commands everyone is actually the true baddy in the story. Well for me he is anyway as he is the only baddy in the whole thing that actually seems content on doing evil things. Master Control other than draining power only has a few lines and other than seeing him at the end where he seems very weak he has done hardly anything.

I was waiting for him to take over and try and foil Flynn and the team himself. Play cat and mouse and lead them into a trap he had set up, or even have them play more of his twisted mind games but no, everything got left to the underling. We didn't even get to find out whether he has managed to take control of anything. Was very frustrating.


Once into the swing of things you can settle down into the more frequent characters. Flynn remaining wide eyed and amazed and finds this ability to be able to control the code because he is a user even from the inside of the machine. Tron who is an amazing durable program and is determined to win against Master Control for his user Alan and another girl character who just seems to be there to scream.

There is also Ram who I thought was an innocent program and really just wanted to be free to explore and the old man was so much fun. I was annoyed that they didn't do more with the characters. Yet again even though we followed them more we never really got to learn about them. Other than Ram who we find out a little of his back story which was nice. But the only other character we really learn about was Flynn and to me it was a wasted opportunity.

The film is terribly inconsistent. They seem to start something off one way in one shot and then change it the next. Your sitting trying to work out where things have come from or how they have gotten from one place to another. There was many places where I thought 'I'm sure they said they weren't allowed to do that' or how fast they had moved from one area to another. The worst offender against constistancy and the timeline was when Tron tries to contact Alan. They manage to get into this old mans chamber, go up to him quickly beg for his help and he lets Alan in as the soilders come knocking. The next set of shots take ages to set up and amazingly even while in the communication chamber the soliders get in but still don't reach the old man before Alan and the girl escape. Surely if it took seconds for Tron and the girl to get to the old man it shouldn't take 5 minutes for the rest.


I do like all the sound effects in this film specially the light cycles and all the little gadgets. One of my favorite bits is where a Byte comes and speaks to Flynn. It was only for a few seconds but I loved the fact it showed that even this little bit of code had emotion and feelings and that squeaked as it moved as well. Everything was very well thought out in terms of the technology side.

My only other problem with the film is that sometimes due to the lighting effects its hard to see the human faces on the programs so its very hard to tell who is who at times. Specially after a big crash or explosion you try desperately for 5 minutes to work out who is who. But I guess this was as good as they could do at the time so you can't complaint too much.

I did enjoy the film but for me it was just a film to pass the time. Yes the unique idea behind it was brilliant at the time and I think it would have stunned people back in the 1980's. However no matter how much I love the technology and old classics this one didn't grab me as I have seen so much better for the same year. To me it needed for more development.

My rating 5 out of 10.

Tron 1982 and none of these images belong to me I just use them as reference for my review.

Movie Trailer


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