Tron [1982]

The surprising truth about Disney's 1982 computer-game fantasy is that it's still visually impressive (though technologically quaint by later high-definition standards) and a lot of fun. It's about a computer wizard named Flynn (Jeff Bridges) who is digitally broken down into a data stream by a villainous software pirate (David Warner) and reconstituted into the internal, 3-D graphical world of computers. It is there, in the blazingly colorful, geometrically intense landscapes of cyberspace, that Flynn joins forces with Tron (Bruce Boxleitner) to outmaneuver the Master Control program that holds them captive in the equivalent of a gigantic, infinitely challenging computer game. Disney's wizards used a variety of cinematic techniques and early-'80s state-of-the-art computer-generated graphics to accomplish their dynamic visual goals, and the result was a milestone in cyberentertainment, catering to technogeeks while providing a dazzling adventure for hackers and nonhackers alike. Appearing just in time to celebrate the nascent cyberpunk movement in science fiction, Tron received a decidedly mixed reaction when originally released, but has since become a high-tech favorite and a landmark in special effects, with a loyal following of fans. DVD is a perfect format for the movie's neon-glow color scheme, and the musical score by synthesizer pioneer Wendy Carlos is faithfully preserved on the digitally remastered soundtrack. --Jeff Shannon

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