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Home Theater Movie Renter's Guide - April, 2011

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"Tron" (Blu-ray) - Reviewed by Tyler Stripko

movie-april-2011-tron

Synopsis

Deep within the mainframe of the Encom corporation, the powerful Master Control Program (MCP) is secretly stealing computer code from computers all over the world in an effort to become the most powerful piece of software on the planet.   Once access to the MCP is restricted, Encom programmers Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lora (Cindy Morgan) seek out the help of former programmer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) to help them break into the system in an attempt to bring the MCP back under control and to find the evidence Flynn needs to prove that he created the software products that made Encom a fortune.   However, when the MCP realizes what the programmers are doing, it digitizes Flynn and sucks him into the computer world.  With more than just software at risk now, Flynn must find a way to shut down the MCP and get himself back to the real world.

 

Specifications

  • Walt Disney Pictures
  • 1982, Color, Rated PG, 1 Hr 36 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.20:1
  • Codec:  AVC
  • 1080p
  • English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz/24-bit)
  • Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, and Cindy Morgan
  • Directed by Steven Lisberger
Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: None
  • Language: None

Commentary

Despite the near-cult following this movie has, I never saw this film in its entirety until now.   While the computer animation was revolutionary for 1982, the rest of the film doesn’t hold up all that well.  The plot is pretty thin and much of the dialogue is comical.  The actors do their best given the script, but as any programmer/database analyst knows – garbage in, garbage out.   The soundtrack is just a bunch of blips, beeps, and ominous tones that further enhance the cheese factor.  However, the movie doesn’t take itself too seriously, so if you take it for what it is – an experiment in computer assisted storytelling, you can still enjoy the film.  Definitely worth a viewing before diving into "Tron: Legacy."

Technical

Given the quality of the television broadcasts I’ve seen for this film over the years, I didn’t have very high expectations for the picture and sound.  Much to my surprise, this Blu-ray looked and sounded much better than I had expected.  Disney did a great job in restoring the original film elements.  The picture is very sharp, with only occasional shots showing a lack of focus.  Colors are rich and vibrant , with good black levels and shadow detail.  The CGI scenes are surprisingly crisp, considering the relatively low resolution they were rendered at.  The only real hiccup with the CGI scenes is that you often see flickering to the images, since the technology wasn’t advanced enough to render the animation with a high enough refresh rate.  I was happy to see that Disney did not try to “update” the original CGI, but left if in its original condition.  The 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack has surprising dynamic range, and the surrounds are used judiciously for discrete little computer noises.  The bass was also much deeper than expected given the age of the film.  The only real issue I noticed was that the dialogue during certain scenes was a bit muddy and hard to understand.

Extras

I received the 5-disc set with “Tron: Legacy” for review.  As such, the overall set was loaded with extras, but I’ll focus on the extras included with “Tron.”  Included with the “Tron” Blu-ray disc are the complete set of standard-definition extras from the prior DVD, including: deleted scenes, storyboarding, picture galleries, a making-of, and sections on the music, development, digital imagery, design, and publicity of the film.  Added to the Blu-ray are HD segments for “The Tron Phenomenon” and the “Photo Tronology” plus an audio commentary.

Included on this disc are deleted scenes, cast interviews, and the original trailer.  All extras are in standard-definition.