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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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