Steven Lisberger, 1982
USA | Format: 70mm | 96 minutes
30th Anniversary screenings!
In the same year as Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner—and two before James Cameron prophecized a rise of the machines in The Terminator—writer-director Steven Lisberger delivered his own visionary piece of techno-futurism with this arcade-era classic about a software engineer doing battle with a rival’s malicious spyware...from inside the office mainframe. Jeff Bridges stars as Kevin Flynn, the programmer savant who, upon losing his job with nefarious computer giant ENCOM, makes a valiant late-night attempt to hack into the system, only to find himself a literal ghost in the machine, fighting for his life in a monochromatic olympiad where “identity discs” and “light cycles” are the primitive CGI weapons of choice. We’re definitely not in Kansas anymore! A landmark in the combining of live-action and animation, cited by John Lasseter as a formative influence on the founding of Pixar, Tron remains as prescient as ever in its richly imagined blurring of the line between man and cyber avatar.
“****. In an age of amazing special effects, Tron is a state-of-the-art movie. It generates not just one imaginary computer universe, but a multitude of them. Using computers as their tools, the Disney filmmakers literally have been able to imagine any fictional landscape, and then have it, through an animated computer program. And they integrate their human actors and the wholly imaginary worlds of Tron so cleverly that I never, ever, got the sensation that I was watching some actor standing in front of, or in the middle of, special effects. The characters inhabit this world.”
—Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times