Friday Flashback - Tron

Friday Flashback is where I look back at the books, films, TV shows and million and one other things that have inspired me over the years in my storytelling and art. This week I'm have a look at the classic film Tron.

'Trapped in a fight to the finish inside the video world he created'

Tron is a classic film made in the good old days of computing of 1982, how I wish we were still there at times. It was written and directed by Steven Lisberger and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Tron stared Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn; the awesome Bruce Boxleitner as Tron and Tron's "User", Alan Bradley; Cindy Morgan Yori and her "User", Dr. Lora Baines. Interestingly, David Warner plays all three main antagonists: the program Sark, his "User", Ed Dillinger, and the voice of the artificially intelligent Master Control Program.

Tron tells the story of Flynn, a games designer and programmer, as he attempts to hack into the ENCOM mainframe to prove that Dillinger has appropriated his work and used to to build his highly elevated position within ENCOM upon, but ends up being transported into the Digital World itself as a unique program/User. There, he teams up with Tron to defeat the Master Control Program, who has been controlling the Digital World.

Tron is a fantastic and highly imaginative film and story, especially for its time. I remember when this film came out, me and my friends would spend hours running about the school yard pretending to be Tron and the other programs, it really inspired us, and how couldn't it? Light Cycles, killer Frisbees in the guise of Data Discs, space tanks, the list goes on. Not only all of this, but set in a video game world! Something that at the time, for me and my friends was limited to arcade machines or to those luckily enough to own a copy of Pong and an Atari games system - how times have changed!

I truly love Tron and still to this day feel a wave of awe as the credits appear as the film begins. It was a groundbreaking piece of film making in its day that still holds up as I write this having watched the HD version just this week. The story, stripping it back to its heart, is really about sticking it to the bad guy and the heroes journey. Tron is oddly the title of the film but not the central character to the story or the action, it is Flynn who we experience this cyber adventure with. The too smart for his own good programmer with the free spirited nature and gammer skills that we all envied. Yet still for me the hero of this film is Tron. The program that fights for the users, the hero that fights for us all.

I saw an interview with the brilliant Bruce Boxleitner just a few weeks ago and he was asked about the new Tron film and will we see more of Tron in it? The answer was yes, to the point that he looks like he will be playing a BIG part in it. The great news if there could be more than that? It is planned to start filming in 2012! I for one can't wait.

If you do decide to watch Tron after reading this and watching the trailer, I challenge you to spot the genius Pac Man tribute within the film. It is Brilliant and makes me chuckle every time I see it!


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