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Tron

AKA:
 
 


According to Steven Lisberger, the name TRON is shorthand for "elecTRONic", and was a character he'd used in a radio promo long before the film's script was written.

-Thanks to Jonah Falcon

More Trivia from Tron
Set in the days of the booming mainframe computer industry, Tron tells the story of a young programmer named Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). Flynn used to be work for a giant computer company named Encom. During his spare time, he would program video games.

One day, he goes to work on his games and finds them missing, only to discover that another Encom employee named Ed Dillenger (David Warner) has stolen his work and presented them to Encom as his own work. The games become gigantic hits. Dillenger ends up climbing the corporate ladder all the way up to senior executive vice president, and Flynn ends up starting his own video game arcade. For years, Flynn has been breaking into the Encom system trying to find evidence of what Dillenger did.

Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) is an Encom programmer who is working on a security program for Encom. After Flynn breaks into the system yet again, Dillenger locks out all users with the access level that Flynn has been using to gain access, including Alan. Frustrated, Alan goes to see Flynn along with his girlfriend Lora (Cindy Morgan), an Encom scientist who also used to be Flynn's girlfriend.

They decide to team up and go back to Encom to try and find the evidence of Dillenger's crimes. Once they get there, Flynn is electronically transported inside the world of the computer by the all-powerful Master Control Program (MCP).

Flynn finds himself inside the Encom system in an environment of glowing light and pulsating sound. He is quickly put into a cell with other programs that the Master Control Program has seized control of to fight for his life inside a series of video games. He manages to find a program named Tron (Bruce Boxleitner), the security program that Alan was working on and teams up with him to bring down the MCP.

Along with Yori (Cindy Morgan), the computer representation of Lora, they must fight for their lives to bring down the MCP for good.

The production of Tron was groundbreaking, in many ways. More work went into this film than most anyone truly realizes.

The power of computer graphics were nowhere near the level that you see today. The idea of using computer graphics in this manner was hardly even a thought of at the time. Director Steven Lisberger had been fascinated by the idea of what a computer could do to an animated environment. Coming from a traditional animation background, he saw the instant advantages that one could have using computers to animated environments. The film was shopped around to multiple studios until Walt Disney Studios became intrigued by the idea and decided to produce it.

The film was a staggering production. The more traditional element of production, the actual live photography, was even a challenge. The actors were required to wear unusual outfits for much of the production. They were also typically acting by themselves against flat backgrounds, to be later inserted into the computer generated environments.

The film also does incorporate a large amount of traditional hand animation to supplement the computer animation. Being at Walt Disney Studios was a natural advantage for this. Much of this work was shipped out of the country to be done, as there was such a large volume that needed to be done.

The computer animation was handled by multiple companies, but two of them did the primary work on the film.

A company called the Mathematical Applications Group Incorporated (MAGI) did scenes that needed to be fast action such as the light cycle sequence as they had a system that was easy to work with but was a little more limited in what complexity it could handle.

Another company called Information International Incorporated (Triple-I) did the work on the more complex sequences in the film. A couple other companies such as Robert Abel & Associates as well as Digital Effects, Incorporated worked on the film as well.

The complexities of handling the production of all these various elements in the film was staggering. In some frames of the film, there can be dozens of different cells all combined to compose the final frame. Elements such as the photographed actors (of which multiple actors may not have been filmed at the same time) needed to be combined with computer animated objects, hand animated componenets and many other combinations of said elements. The process for keeping tract of this whole system was enough to boggle the mind, not the least of which was managing the elements that were being sent out of the country to be worked on.

In the end, the film proved that not only could computers be used to produce animated film elements, but it could also be done without losing focus of telling a compelling story in a wonderful and unique environment. All the elements came together to make a breathtaking film, in both visuals and narrative. The film pushed production technologies farther than anyone had or would for years to come.

You can learn much more about this classic at the excellent Gold Rated Site listed in the links section.

A very special 2 disk 20th Anniversary DVD Edition of Tron was released on January 15th, 2002 in the USA. Features include:

All-new extensive "The Making of Tron" documentary
Deleted scenes with all-new introductions by Bruce Boxleitner
Production photo gallery including archival photos not presented in the laser disc edition
Commentary with writer/director Steven Lisberger, producer Donald Kushner and visual effects supervisors Harrison Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor
Storyboard-to-film Comparisons
Extensive still frame galleries
Pre-production animation tests
Deleted original soundtrack music
...And much more!

You can order it NOW at a great price by using our search device.

Verdict?

Tron was a movie way ahead of it's time, and it still holds up well today.

Notice any mistakes? Review

Strengths: Very cool and ahead of it's time.

Weaknesses? Effects look very primative now.

Our rating: 9 out of 10


Review Written by Guy Gordon:  Contact  |  More Reviews by Guy Gordon
Tron