FT Top 100 Films
34: TRON

If Tron taught kids one thing, it is that films that look good, and are about things we like, will not necessarily be good. It possibly allowed breathless sci-fi kiddies to consider The Return Of The Jedi to be better than it actually is, because it is better than Tron. Better, in as much as it makes sense. Y’see the problem with Tron is, it is clearly written and directed by someone who has absolutely no interest in computers at all, and how they work. So rather than a breathless computer/human interaction thriller (which we got later in War Games), we got a day-glo version of the Numbskulls.

So the idea is that inside the computer there are these different avatars running around, doing allthe calculations for us, embodied in shiny suits as programs. None of this makes any sense of course, nor the idea that the Central processing Unit would rule the computer like some form of concentration camp commandant. For Tron is a prison escape movie with laser-cycles and silly hats. Jeff Bridges Flynn, zapped into the computer is clueless as the writers, and the gigantic floating At-At like hinks are impressive, but why are they there?

Ironically the graphics were mainly drawn, rather than done on computer, and again this shows. Tron is an ambitious film whose raison d’etre can be boiled down to one line. “Hey, have you notied that kids like computahs!” Disney went off half cocked and spoiled the dreams of hundreds of kids who were literally willing Tron to be any good, in as much as it would convince their parents to buy them a Spectrum. Instead they dragged their parents to see a po-faced Alice In Wonderland, which probably put their parents off of computers for life.

That said, what film these days would dream of having Norton Anti-Virus as its titular hero?