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What You Need to Know About “Tron” To See “Tron Legacy” (Because the Original “Tron” Kinda Sucks)

When I told my friend Frank about the 1982 cult classic Tron, it took me over 1200 words to explain the story. 1200 words is a lot of words! Some might argue that is too many words!

But many people, I know, are currently sharing Frank’s predicament of wanting to know what happened in the original Tron, with the oh-so-shiny sequel coming out soon. Yes, sure, they could go watch the movie themselves, but a) it’s out of print, unavailable online and not airing on TV anytime soon. It is almost — GASP! — like Disney doesn’t want to you to see it! (Because it kinda sucks.)

So, for people who just want to know the bare minimum of plot necessary to enjoy Disney’s gorgeous-looking, Daft Punk-scored, 3-D IMAX extravaganza, here is a condensed version of What Happens In Tron! Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank What Happened In “Tron”

Dear Frank,

Sometimes, the holes in your pop culture knowledge seem understandable — the world is vast and wide, and Dirty Dancing isn’t every young man’s cup of tea. But you haven’t seen Tron? Completely bizarre. I mean, sure, it’s been a decade or so since I saw it, maybe two decades… Okay, maybe I don’t really remember it at all. So I’m glad that you’re kicking my ass into watching it again, especially since Tron Legacy is looking pretty disco. (I am attempting to return, as we speak, to an time where the word “disco” meant “cool.”)

So first off, the first shot of Tron? I guess the Wachowski Brothers didn’t just rip off your favorite French philosophers when they made The Matrix — we zoom through the title into code and hardware renderings, which then dissolve to good ol’ Flynn’s Arcade, your friendly neighborhood 1980s-era video game haberdashery. There, an unseen player is rocking a lightcycle video game — which we then zoom inside!

Because here’s where the Disney magic starts, Frank! See, everyone in this movie wearing nifty glowy costumes isn’t a person, but an anthropomorphized software program living under the totalitarian rule of the Master Control program, which either absorbs smaller programs to make itself bigger or forces less useful programs to compete in games. (This is totally not at all a metaphor for the Soviet Union.) Read the rest of this entry

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