Tron

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Template:Infobox Film

Tron is a 1982 Walt Disney Productions science fiction movie starring Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn (and his counterpart inside the electronic world, Clu), Bruce Boxleitner as Alan Bradley (and Tron), Cindy Morgan as Lora Baines(and Yori) and Dan Shor as Ram. David Warner plays the villain, Ed Dillinger (and Sark), as well as providing the voice of the 'Master Control Program'. It was directed by Steven Lisberger. Being the first film from a major studio to use computer graphics extensively (developed by MAGI, Triple I, and others), Tron has a distinctive visual style.

Contents

Plot summary

Template:Spoiler Past: Kevin Flynn was a young and gifted programmer, who used to work for a software mega-corporation named ENCOM. One of ENCOM's leading executives is a man named Ed Dillinger. Flynn, an up-and-coming programmer, was cheated out of the profits and royalties for games that he created for Dillinger. Dillinger, in fact, stole Flynn's games and passed them off as his own. After being unable to prove his authorship and quitting the company, Flynn is reduced to running a video game arcade. Many of the games he created are featured in the arcade.

Present Day: After some freedom-of-information issues arise from the current employees Alan Bradley and his associate (and Flynn's ex-girlfriend) Lora, Dillinger increases the security of the Master Control Program (an artificial intelligence mainframe that runs the company) by deleting from the system those programmers who have been granted "Group 7 Access." This in effect locks these programmers out of the company. Desperate, Alan and Lora decide to turn to Flynn for help in bypassing the increased security of the MCP, in the ultimate hope of gaining further freedom in their programming. For his part, Flynn is only looking for evidence that Dillinger did indeed steal his creations.

After the trio break into the building after-hours, Flynn confronts the MCP, and is absorbed ("digitized") into a digital world tyrannically ruled by the MCP. In the "real world", the MCP's interface resembles an exceptionally high-tech boardroom desk. From inside the computer system, the MCP resembles an enormously forboding face, glowing red with energy.

In this world, programs are represented by characters who resemble their creators; Flynn is initially mistaken for a program, "Clu", that he had previously written. Flynn needs to find "Tron", a security program created by Alan. Tron can help Flynn fight against the despotic MCP to free his company's mainframe and escape to the real world. Along the way he has to participate in several gladiatorial action games including "Light Cycles" and a kind of Jai-Alai.

The "Light Cycles" game is similar to an old computer game sometimes known as Surround. The players are in constant motion on a playfield, creating a wall behind them as they move. If a player hits a wall either by accident or by having no more room to move, he is out of the game, and the last player wins. Tron depicts this game as being played by the humanoid programs in futuristic two-wheeled vehicles that resemble motorcycles which create walls of colored light. Countless versions of this game have been created since the release of the movie.

There are many not-so-subtle political and religious overtones in Tron. Inside the computer, the MCP rules by a Fascist-style oppression, with help from his main general, Sark, and an army of troops. Regular programs are herded into concentration camp-style detention cells, and forced to battle each other to the death. If they do not comply, they are derezzed (terminated, killed). Most programs believe, or want to believe, in a higher entity, referred to as "Users". They claim that these Users, who are their programmers in the Real World, are their Creators. Programs who believe in these Users are also subject to "immediate deresolution," or "derezzing."

In Tron, the character Tron plays a martyr-type, who "battles for the Users." When a User himself (Flynn) is dropped into the environment, and found to be a User, he assumes the role of a Messiah-type of character, who can perform what seems like miracles to other programs, and who gives his life to save all of the programs.

Technical

Tron was one of the first movies to use long computer-generated sequences. About thirty minutes of computer-generated animation (blended with the filmed characters) were used. Though the movie has been criticized for woodenness of acting and — perhaps unjustly — incoherence of plot, the movie is celebrated as a milestone of computer animation.

To be able to create the film, Disney turned to Triple I who owned the Super Foonly F-1, the fastest PDP-10 ever made (and the only one of its kind) as well as MAGI and a number of other companies.

The film, however, contains less computer-generated imagery than is generally supposed. Many of the effects that look like computer graphics were created using traditional optical effects. In a technique known as "backlit animation," the live-action scenes inside the computer world were filmed in black-and-white, printed on large-format high-contrast film, then colorized with traditional photographic and rotoscopic techniques to give them a "technological" feel. The process was immensely labor-intensive, and would never be repeated for another feature film; with multiple layers of high-contrast large-format positives and negatives, it required truckloads of sheet film, and a workload greater than even that of a conventional cel-animated feature.

Renowned French comic book artist, Jean Giraud (a.k.a. Moebius), was the main set and costume designer for the movie; most vehicles were created by industrial designer Syd Mead, of Blade Runner fame.

Trivia

Actors Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley/Tron) and Peter Jurasik (Crom) would later team up again in the TV series Babylon 5. While their Tron characters never met, on B5 they had many scenes together (Boxleitner as John Sheridan, and Jurasik as Londo Mollari).

In the computer world, all programs wear uniforms with colored circuit lines on them. The original concept was to have the 'evil' programs (those loyal to Sark and the MCP) with blue circuit lines, and good programs would have yellow. At some point this was changed to blue for good programs and red for evil ones. Some of the original coloring remains, mostly in tank programs (Clu, who drives a tank, has yellow circuit lines on his uniform, and all of Sark's tank commanders have blue).

The name Clu is likely derivative of the CLU programming language.

Mickey Mouse makes an appearance in the movie. During the solar sailer sequence about 70 minutes into the movie, Mickey's head is plainly visible on the plain over which they are flying. (Ref: http://www.eeggs.com/items/2351.html)

Legacy

File:Tron Lightcycles.jpg
Tron's light-cycle race is one of the movie's best-remembered action sequences. In the game, players must race each other around a track, trying to force opponents to crash into walls or trails left by the cycles.

Although the film was initially unsuccessful, it has remained somewhat popular due to its use of CGI and its computer plot line. The movie also inspired several popular video games. The Tron arcade game earned more than the film's first release and made it a cult favorite. Disneyland featured the Tron SuperSpeed Tunnel in its PeopleMover attraction.

Mattel Electronics released three separate Tron games (unrelated to the arcade game) for the Intellivision game console in 1982: Tron Deadly Discs, Tron Maze-A-Tron, and Tron Solar Sailer. Deadly Discs was later ported to the Atari 2600 (along with an original Tron game for that platform, Adventures of Tron), and a version also appeared for the short-lived Aquarius home computer.

Tron 2.0, a computer game sequel, was released on August 25, 2003. In this first person shooter game, the player takes the part of Alan Bradley's son Jet, who is pulled into the computer world to fight a computer virus. Versions of this game were released for Windows, Macintosh, and Xbox.

In Tron 2.0: Killer App, a game released for the Game Boy Advance, Tron and a new character, a Light Cycle program named Mercury, fight their way through the ENCOM computer to stop a virus called The Corruptor. The game includes light cycle, battle tank, and recognizer battle modes, several security-related minigames, and the arcade games Tron and Discs of Tron. While the game is minimally connected to the PC game, one of the 100 unlockable chips shows a picture of Jet Bradley.

On January 13, 2005, Walt Disney Pictures announced a new Tron movie (possibly a remake), with more emphasis on the Internet.

A world for the Disney/Square Enix video game Kingdom Hearts II is based in the world of Tron, called "Space Paranoids" (After one of Flynn's game in the movie). Tron himself is Sora's world-exclusive partner in battle and light cycles (which are somewhat different from the movie light cycles, gameplay-wise) are featured as well. It is worth noting that none of the human characters in the movie appears or are referenced in the game due to the fact that the world is in fact set inside one of Ansem's computers. It is also the most important non-original Disney world in the game storyline-wise, much like Neverland in the first game.

Tron was parodied in the Family Guy episode "One If By Clam, Two If By Sea." The visual style was also used in the "Homer3" segment of The Simpsons.

Music

The background music for Tron was written by pioneer electronic musician Wendy Carlos, who is most well-known for her album, Switched-On Bach and for the soundtracks to many films, including A Clockwork Orange and The Shining. The music featured a mix of state-of-the-art Moog analog synthesizer,GDS digital synthesizer (complex additive and phase modulation synthesis), the London Symphony Orchestra, and the large pipe organ in the Royal Albert Hall, London. Two additional musical tracks were provided by the band Journey.

See also

External links

es:Tron fr:Tron it:Tron ja:トロン (映画) pl:Tron (film) simple:Tron

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