When talented computer engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) finds out that Ed Dillinger (David Warner), an executive at his company, has been stealing his work, he tries to hack into the system. However, Flynn is transported into the digital world, where he has to face off against Dillinger’s computerized likeness, Sark, and the imposing Master Control Program. Aided by Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) and Yori (Cindy Morgan), Flynn becomes a freedom fighter for the oppressed programs of the grid.
The first big movie about video games was fittingly inspired by the first big video game, Pong (note the phonic similarity in their names, and the parallels in Tron’s competitive “sports”). Intended to crack open the clique-like nature at the time of computers and video games, Tron was also the first major motion picture to make extensive use of computer animation, with its digital backgrounds, terrain and vehicles. For a sense of the technical limitations at the time, one of the computers used in its production had only 2 MB of memory and no more than 330 MB of storage. That’s a little less than two minutes of high-definition video today. It’s amazing that Tron was made at all, much less that a complex and fascinating tale of struggle and authority came out of it and went on to inspire a generation of cutting-edge technology aesthetics (and Walt Disney World’s newest attraction).
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