Gaining almost all of its strength from its incredible visual flair, Tron is a fun, light, and occasionally engrossing film. Every frame is a joy to look at, while the basic adventure happens behind the effects. On a storytelling level it’s a failure and that’s enough to make it a rough recommendation.
There’s no denying a lot of Tron is hopelessly dated. The simple computer jargon we’re all familiar with was lost on most audiences (and the likely reason why it never caught on and failed miserably). Jeff Bridges stars as a disgruntled video game programmer sucked into a digital world. Even this concept isn’t presented very well and causing confusion, yet it’s the core of the movie.
Most of what happens here is just to bridge a gap between the next special effects sequences. Some of these have become pop culture references for numerous television shows, and rightfully so. While they don’t have the impact they once had (it’s incredible how far we’ve come), they now have a stylized and kitschy look. It’s beautiful to look at, with countless brightly colored lights set against usually black backdrops. The computer world can be a desolate one.
To get to those revolutionary computer graphics, you’ll be sitting through a mundane adventure. How it plays out isn’t necessarily what’s important. It’s where it all plays out. There are plenty of chase sequences and a few emotional moments to cover all bases. In the real world, it would be a rather brain dead thriller. In the computer, it’s a unique experience with some interesting ideas that still stand out as original.
There’s nothing wrong with enjoying a film based purely on visuals. That’s what film is in the first place, a visual medium. That’s exactly what Tron takes advantage of, generic adventure or not. It’s a landmark film that all but a small group of people has forgotten, and that’s a shame. For all of its story problems, Tron is a decent way to kill 90 minutes, and your eyes will thank you for it. (**** out of *****)