comedy, crime, movie, movie review

Flashback Review: April 22nd, 2014 Movie – The Big Lebowski

the big lebowski

Some times, an actor will take a role and for the rest of his life, he will always be referred to as that character, no matter at what point in the actor’s career he played that character. Jaleel White is always going to be Urkel, Daniel Radcliffe is always going to be Harry Potter, and for Jeff Bridges, he will always be The Dude. Now I admit that I did not go see this movie in theater when it came out and when I finally decided to rent it, I was kicking myself for not having watched it sooner. I have probably made up for it some by the amount of times I have watched it since. Of course, this movie kind of plays a role into a night among friends that has since been dubbed “Bad Idea Saturday”. I had gone bowling with my friends Emily and Charles and we decided to name ourselves characters from the movie in our game. I wound up being The Dude and in honor of that, decided I should be drinking White Russians, which wound up being some of the nastiest White Russians I had ever had as the bartender was using little packets of creamer to mix in the drink. Anyways, drinking those drinks was one of many bad ideas that occurred that night, but I am definitely getting away from the point here. Right now I should be focusing on enjoying The Big Lebowski for the untold time.

The plot: In 1991, Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski has just returned to his apartment after buying some half & half when he finds two thugs waiting for him inside. One of the thugs grabs The Dude and forces his head in the toilet, demanding the money he owes their boss while the other thug pees on The Dude’s carpet. When the thugs tell The Dude that his wife Bunny owes their boss, porn magnate Jackie Treehorn, but when The Dude tells them he isn’t married, the two thugs realize that they have the wrong guy and leave. Later, The Dude is bowling with his friends Walter and Donny and tells them about what happened. Walter says that The Dude should track down the other Lebowski, the millionaire that the thugs were looking for, and have him compensate The Dude for the rug and The Dude agrees with him. The Dude goes to see Jeffrey Lebowski, who tells him that what happened is not his fault and whatever trouble that Bunny got into is between her and Treehorn, and doesn’t involve him. After leaving Lebowski’s office, The Dude tells Lebowski’s assistant Brandt that Lebowski said he could have any rug in the place as compensation and Brandt has some men take the rug The Dude picks out and place it in his car. That night, while bowling, Walter pulls out a gun on their opponent when he barely steps over the line during their league play, causing them to be disqualified for that match. The next day, Brandt calls The Dude and tells him that Lebowski wants to meet with him. When The Dude arrives at Lebowski’s place, Lebowski tells him that Bunny has been kidnapped and shows him a ransom note he received. Brandt then tells The Dude that Lebowski wants him to deal with the ransom exchange, offering him $20,000 and letting him keep the rug as payment. Later, The Dude tells Walter and Donny what’s happening as the watch Jesus Quintana, a rival bowler, and The Dude says thinks that Bunny just kidnapped herself as a way to get the money from her husband so she can pay back Treehorn. Later that night, The Dude is laying down on his new rug when he notices a woman and two men standing over him. One of the men punches him, and when he recovers, he hears the pager that Brandt gave him going off. The Dude meets with Brandt, who gives him a cell phone and a suitcase with money and The Dude goes to make the exchange. He picks up Walter, who asked to come along, and Walter has a satchel filled with dirty underwear and a wrapped package with him. Walter explains the satchel is a ringer, as he says they should keep the $1 million themselves. When The Dude asks what they should do if Bunny really is kidnapped, Walter says that he can simply grab one of the guys during the hand off and beat him for information. The Dude receives a call on the phone telling him where to go and as they approach a bridge, he is told to throw the money off the bridge. Despite The Dude’s protests, Walter grabs the satchel and throws it, then jumps out of the car in order to grab one of the people that goes to get the money but Walter’s package, which was a wrapped sub-machine gun, begins firing erratically when it hits the ground, shooting out one of The Dude’s tires and causing him to crash. The Dude gets out of the car with the suitcase of money as three motorcycles ride up from beneath the bridge and he tries to flag them down but they ride off in the other direction. Walter convinces The Dude to go bowling and forget about it, as they have the money now, but The Dude is worried about what he is going to tell Lebowski. When Donny tells Walter that their next league match is on Saturday, Walter gets upset, saying he doesn’t roll on Saturday as he observes Shabbos, the Jewish day of rest. As Walter rants at Donny, The Dude gets fed up and leaves only to find that his car has been stolen, with the briefcase of money still inside. The Dude heads home and contacts the police about his stolen car, being vague about what is in the briefcase. As he is talking to the police, he receives a call form someone named Maude who says she is the one that took the rug and wants to meet with him. The Dude shows up at Maude’s place and she reveals that she is Lebowski’s daughter and that Lebowski had embezzled money from their family’s foundation and asks The Dude to recover the money, as she also feels Bunny kidnapped herself, and offers to pay him $100,000 if he succeeds. Maude has The Dude taken back to his apartment but as soon as he gets there, he is grabbed and forced into another car, where Brandt and Lebowski are waiting for him. Lebowski asks The Dude where the money is and The Dude says he dropped off the money like he was supposed to but asks if they considered that the kidnapping was faked and that the “kidnappers” were saying that they didn’t get the money in order to get more money from him. Brandt hands The Dude an envelope containing a severed toe, with the toenail painted the same color as Bunny’s when The Dude met her at Lebowski’s place, and Lebowski tells The Dude that he told the kidnappers to get the money from him. As The Dude is relaxing in his bath, the police call and inform him they found his car, just as three Germans enter his apartment, saying that they are the kidnappers and demand the money from him or else they will cut off his johnson. The Dude goes to get his car from the impound lot but there is no sign of the briefcase and the police have no intention of looking for it. At the bowling alley, The Dude tells Walter and Donny about the Germans and gets upset at Walter’s attitude about the situation. As The Dude sits at the bar, a stranger sits next to him and they start talking when The Dude receives a call from Maude, wanting to meet. The Dude meets with Maude, who tells him that the Germans, who were actually a band, were friends of Bunny’s and not likely to be the kidnappers, then asks The Dude to go see the doctor she recommended. After going to the doctor, The Dude is driving around and notices a blue Volkswagen Bug following him. As he tries to avoid it, he ends up wrecking his car when he accidentally drops the joint he was smoking into his lap. As he is recovering, he finds some homework from a kid named Larry in the seat of his car. Walter tracks down where Larry lives and they go to see him, with Walter trying to intimidate Larry into telling him where the money is. When Larry doesn’t answer, Walter goes outside and begins smashing the new sports car parked outside the house, thinking Larry used the stolen money to buy it but it turns out it was the neighbor’s car, who begins smashing The Dude’s car in retaliation. The Dude returns home only to have Treehorn’s thugs grab him and take him to see Treehorn. Treehorn asks The Dude where Bunny and the money is and The Dude tells him he doesn’t know where Bunny is but that Larry has the money before passing out from the drugs Treehorn slipped into his drink. After suffering from a hallucination from the drugs, The Dude is picked up by the police as he is running down the road and taken to the station, where the sheriff tells him not to bother Treehorn again. The Dude is placed in a cab and sent home but when he tells the driver that he hates The Eagles, the cabbie kicks him out of the cab and as The Dude yells at him, he doesn’t notice Bunny driving by in a sports car, having taken an unannounced trip to Palm Springs and not missing any of her toes. Meanwhile, the three Germans are seen at a diner eating with a woman, who is missing one of her toes. When The Dude gets home, he finds Maude there waiting for him and she tells him to sleep with her. Afterwards, they are talking and Maude tells The Dude that her father doesn’t have any money, as her mother was the rich one and left all the money to the family’s foundation. When Maude pulls her knees up to her chest, The Dude asks what she is doing and she tells him she is trying to ensure she gets pregnant, as she wants a child but tells The Dude that she does not want anything to do with the father, easing The Dude’s concerns about fathering a child. The Dude realizes he was played and calls Walter and has him pick him up. When he goes outside to wait for him, he sees the Volkswagen parked up the street and confronts the driver, who is a P.I. that had been hired by Bunny’s family to find her and bring her back home to their farm in Minnesota, as she had run away from their. When Walter gets there, The Dude tells him about Lebowski not having any money so he stole the money from the foundation and kept it, giving The Dude an empty briefcase so he can blame the money’s theft on the kidnappers. Arriving at Lebowski’s house, they see Bunny has returned and confront Lebowski about his using Bunny being missing to steal the money and pin it’s disappearance on the kidnappers or him. Lebowski says that it is The Dude’s word against his and Walter insults Lebowski, not believing that he is really paralyzed, and picks him up out of his chair and drops him on the floor, then they quickly leave when they realize he is paralyzed. The Dude and Walter head to the bowling alley to practice and when they leave with Donny, they find the Germans have set The Dude’s car on fire and demand the money. The Dude tells them they know that they didn’t kidnap Bunny so there is no ransom so the Germans decide to just rob them. Walter fights the German’s biting the ear off of one of them and knocking all three out but Donny ends up suffering a fatal heart attack due to the excitement. The Dude and Walter take Donny’s ashes to the Pacific Ocean to scatter them and accidentally ends up throwing them in The Dude’s face when the wind shifts. Walter apologizes and tries to wipe the ashes off of The Dude, who gets upset at Walter for ruining everything, and Walter hugs The Dude and tells him they should go bowling. At the bowling alley, The Dude encounters the stranger again and the talk briefly before The Dude heads over to go bowling, telling the stranger that “The Dude abides.” The stranger, breaking the 4th wall, addresses the audience and says he takes comfort in that. He then says he hopes they liked the story as he did, and comments that even though he was sad that Donny died, he knows that a little Lebowski is on the way and figures that is just the circle of life.

The Big Lebowski received mixed reviews on it’s release but in recent years, the critics have changed their opinion of the film, as shown by the certified fresh rating of 82% it holds on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Typically stunning visuals and sharp dialogue from the Coen Brothers, brought to life with strong performances from Goodman and Bridges.” Before filming a scene, Jeff Bridges would ask the Coen Brothers if The Dude “burned one on the way over” and if they said he did, then he would rub his knuckles in his eyes before doing a take to make them appear bloodshot. Though the movie was a success at the box office, earning $46.2 million off of a $15 million budget, the studio considered it a disappointment. However, it would become end up becoming a cult classic over time and was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2014.

I think this really was a movie that was a bit ahead of it’s time because it is fantastic. Jeff Bridges and John Goodman were fantastic as The Dude and Walter respectively and their interaction was hysterical throughout the movie; with The Dude constantly being incredulous at Walter’s suggestions and actions. I also liked Steve Buscemi (Donny) and you kind of feel bad for his character, as he constantly came in halfway through The Dude’s and Walter’s conversation and when he tried to figure out what they were talking about, Walter always yelled at him. The story was great, as it was a nice little red herring of a crime drama with the stoned Dude getting dragged into a mess and trying to figure a way out, and somehow stumbling into what is really going on. The comedy wasn’t really in your face, mostly involved with the banter between people and some of the resulting actions from it. Definitely one of the Coen Brothers best movies and well worth watching.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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March 26th, 2018 Movie – TRON: Legacy

tron legacy

Sometimes, patience pays off when it comes to sequels. Take today’s movie for instance. Ever since TRON came out, fans have been clamoring for a sequel but it really took off at the beginning of the century and in 2005, Disney finally decided to get serious with it. Now when I first heard about the sequel, I was really excited. I mean, TRON was so amazing in it’s special effects that I hoped the improvements in technology would make this movie just as amazing. So let’s see if all the patience paid off with today’s movie, TRON: Legacy.

The plot: In 1989, seven years after taking over Encom, Kevin Flynn is telling his son Sam about the Grid and his adventures in there. He also tells him how he worked with Tron and Clu to build a new Grid when something amazing occurred, a miracle Flynn says, though he doesn’t go into detail. Flynn leaves for work but the next day he disappears, throwing his company into chaos and causing the board to seize control of the company from Flynn’s partner, Alan Bradley. In the present day, Sam makes his way to Encom Tower one night and sneaks into the building during a late night board meeting. Inside the board meeting, Chairman Richard Mackey is touting the success of Encom to the board before mentioning their latest operating software’s upcoming release, praising it’s developer Edward Dillinger (son of Ed Dillinger), then says that Encom will be traded on Japan’s Nikkei index, resulting in Encom stocks trading worldwide 24/7. Meanwhile, Sam breaks into the server room, unintentionally tripping an alarm, and as the security searches for him, he uploads the master file for Encom’s newest operating software onto the internet before making his escape. As the board members discover what happened, Sam makes his way to the roof, revealing to the security guard that he is Sam Flynn, who happens to be the majority share holder in the company, and then does a base jump off the building but as he tries to make it to his motorcycle, he is captured by the police. After bailing himself out of jail, Sam returns to his apartment to find Alan waiting for him. After congratulating him on his annual prank, Alan tells Sam that he received a page from Flynn’s office at the arcade, even though the service had been cut off years ago, and suggests Sam go check it out, tossing him the keys to the arcade. Though he thinks it is a waste of time, Sam decides to head to the arcade and after looking around and finding nothing, he starts to leave but finds himself drawn to the old TRON video game. Deciding to play it for old times sake, Sam notices scratches on the floor and discovers a hidden room behind the console. Searching around, he finds a running computer, that had been idle for 20 years, and starts trying to access it only to accidentally activate the laser behind him, which blasts him. Not sure what just happened, Sam leaves the building only to realize that he has been transported to the Grid, just as a Recognizer approaches him and he is captured. When the Recognizer lands, one of the soldiers scans Sam and the other captured programs and Sam is sentenced to “Games”. He is taken to a chamber, where 4 Sirens remove his clothes and give him a uniform and an identity disk. Sam asks what he is supposed to do now and Gem, the head Siren, tells him to survive. Sam exits the chamber to find himself in an arena and forced to compete in disk wars with other programs, as a ship approaches and a masked figure watches from above. Sam kills 2 programs and then attempts to escape but ends up in a different arena, where he is forced to face off with the Games’ champion, Rinzler. As Sam and Rinzler fight, Rinzler gets the upper hand but before he can finish him off, Rinzler notices Sam bleeding from a cut he received and realizes that he is a User. The leader demands that Sam identify himself and when Sam says his name is Sam Flynn, the leader has Sam brought to him. In the leaders chamber, the leader unmasks to reveal the face of Kevin Flynn and Sam is shocked to see his father alive but after talking with him, realizes that it is Clu, not his father. Clu decides to kill Sam in a light cycle duel, facing him in a 5 on 5 team battle, but as Clu prepares to finish off Sam, a strange car enters the arena and rescues Sam. After escaping the arena, the driver unmasks to reveal a woman, who introduces herself as Quorra, who says that Clu’s forces won’t be able to follow as they are not designed to go off grid. Quorra takes Sam to a home in the mountains, where Sam is reunited with his father, who is shocked to see Sam in the Grid. As they eat, Sam and Flynn catch up briefly before Sam asks why Flynn never came home. Flynn tells him that when he first started working in the Grid, he brought over Tron, which Alan had built, and then created a new version of Clu, hoping that between the 3 of them they could build the perfect system. Then, one day, he discovered ISOs, isomorphic algorithms, which Flynn did not create but somehow appeared on their own. Flynn felt that they could help unlock some of life’s greatest mysteries but Clu saw them as an imperfection that needed to be destroyed and led a coupe against Flynn. Tron was killed trying to help Flynn escape and Flynn ended up trapped in the Grid when the portal closed, as it would only stay open for 8 hours and could only be opened from the outside world. Sam says that they should just leave now while the portal is still open but Flynn tells him that Clu wanted someone to open the portal, as he was planning something and needed a new player on the board in order to draw him out of hiding, saying that Clu needed his identity disk in order to try and leave the Grid and go to the real world. Flynn heads to bed and Sam feels frustrated that he doesn’t seem to want to try and leave and Quorra tells Sam to go find Zuse, as he helped her out during the fights and she felt he could be trusted. Sam heads to the city and is met by Gem, who takes him to the End of Line club. Back at the house, Flynn discovers that Sam is gone and decides to take Quorra and go after him. Meanwhile, Clu’s major-domo, Jarvis, tells him they found Flynn’s light cycle and traced it back to it’s origin so Clu, Jarvis, Rinzler, and 2 soldiers head to Flynn’s house only to find it empty. At the End of Line club, Gem introduces Sam to Castor, the club’s owner, who reveals that he is Zuse and seems surprised to learn that Quorra is still alive. Zuse tells Sam that he is someone that likes to play the angles, just as 4 of Clu’s soldiers drop in through the ceiling. Sam decides to join in the fight against the soldiers and Quorra appears to help him but she is injured in the fight. Suddenly, Flynn shuts the room down, allowing the resistance to defeat the soldiers and he tells Sam to grab Quorra and they go to leave but one of the soldiers manages to grab Flynn’s disk before they leave, only to be killed by Zuse, who grabs the disk for himself. Flynn chastises Sam for his actions but decides that the only thing they can do is go with Sam’s idea to make a dash for the portal so they board a solar sailer heading to the wastelands. While they are travelling, Flynn works on trying to help repair Quorra, revealing that she is the last ISO, and afterwards, he talks with Sam for a bit before heading off to meditate. Meanwhile, Clu shows up at the club and speaks with Zuse, who offers a deal to give Clu the disk in exchange for control of the city but Clu simply takes the disk and then blows up the club, killing Zuse and Gem. Back on the sailer, Quorra recovers and as they continue riding, Sam and Quorra end up bonding. Flynn sees them and smiles but his smile fades when he sees a Recognizer close by and sees the sailer pulling into a waystation that shouldn’t be there. Telling Sam and Quorra to hide, they see that Clu is using the station as a launching base for an army and realize they have to get to the portal to stop Clu. Seeing Rinzler close by, Quorra hands her disk to Flynn and then runs out to act as a distraction so Flynn and Sam can escape. When Rinzler captures Quorra, Flynn recognizes his moves and mannerism and realizes that Rinzler is Tron, who wasn’t killed but repurposed by Clu. Clu has Quorra taken to his chamber, along with Flynn’s disk, and he then speaks to his army, and Sam and Flynn realize Clu figured out how to bring programs over to the real world. Sam tells Flynn that they have to get Flynn’s disk and Quorra back and tells Flynn to get them some transport to the portal. Sam makes his way to Clu’s chamber, dealing with the guards along the way, and then grabs Flynn’s disk from where Clu had it kept. Grabbing Jarvis, Sam asks where Quorra is just as Rinzler arrives with her and Sam faces off against Rinzler, allowing Quorra to knock him off the platform. Freeing Quorra, Sam grabs a set of glider wings and jumps out of the tower with her, then races to the light jet that Flynn grabbed. As they leave, Clu enters his chamber and kills Jarvis for allowing them to take the disk, then he, Rinzler, and some of Clu’s soldiers activate their own light jets and give chase. With Quorra piloting and Sam manning the rear guns, they begin battling Clu’s soldiers and manage to kill them. When Rinzler attacks them, Flynn calls out to his old friend, causing Rinzler to fall back as his memories of Flynn reemerge, then crash into Clu in order to save Flynn. As Clu and Rinzler fall, Rinzler goes to grab his spare control stick but Clu grabs it from him and uses it while Rinzler plunges into the waters below, with his uniform reverting back to it’s original coloring. Flynn, Sam, and Quorra arrive at the portal only to find Clu waiting for them and Flynn goes to face him, apologizing for his part in their fallout. Clu attacks Flynn and when Sam goes to defend him, Flynn grabs Quorra and tells her she knows what to do. Quorra moves in front of Sam, pushing him back towards the portal while Flynn tells Clu to ignore them as he is after Flynn’s disk. Clu grabs Flynn’s disk only to discover that Flynn had switched disks with Quorra. As Clu’s ship appears, Flynn yells at Sam to take Quorra out of there and then merges with Clu, causing an explosion that destroys Clu’s ship and the portal area. Back in the real world, Sam downloads the details of the Grid onto a memory chip, which he wears around his neck, then heads out of the secret office. In the arcade, Sam sees Alan looking around and explains that he paged him there to tell him they are taking back Encom, with Sam making Alan the new chairman of the board. Outside, Sam sees Quorra by his motorcycle, who asks what they will do now, and Sam says that they will do what his father asked and change the world, then he has her get on the bike and they ride off, with Sam letting Quorra experience her first sunrise.

TRON: Legacy met with mixed results from the critics, holding a 51% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Tron: Legacy boasts dazzling visuals, but its human characters and story get lost amidst its state-of-the-art production design.” While Jeff Bridges was always slated to return, none of the other characters from the original movie were written into the movie. However, public outcry from Bruce Boxleitner and fans of the original movie caused the writers to add him in and his performance was so popular, he returned to play Tron in the animated series TRON: Uprising. The movie was a box office success, earning $400 million off of a $170 million budget and a sequel was planned but has since been placed on indefinite hiatus while Disney considers rebooting the series.

After years of wait, I have to say that I enjoyed this movie but felt like it could have been better. The acting was good, with Jeff Bridges doing a great job returning as Kevin Flynn/Clu, though it felt like a little bit of The Dude had made it’s way into his portrayal of Kevin Flynn. Bruce Boxleitner was also good returning as Alan/Tron, while Gerrett Hedlund (Sam) and Olivia Wilde (Quorra) were equally good but my favorite character was Michael Sheen (Zuse), who was the most entertaining character next to Flynn himself. The story was pretty interesting and I liked how they acknowledged the time difference from the original movie to this one, such as the computer in the secret office showing the 20 year idle screen. I will agree with the critics that the movie did kind of lack some character developement, but mainly regarding Sam and Quorra, who came across as kind of bland despite their being two of the main characters. The special effects were incredible and definitely showcased the advancement in technology since the original movie. I also liked that they tried to incorporate a lot of aspects from the original movie into this, from the Recognizers, tanks, and light cycles, to aspects of Encom tower and the laser that zapped Sam. A good follow up to a cult classic and one that is worth watching.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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March 25th, 2018 Movie – TRON

tron

When you think of Disney, everyone will always think of their animated features first and foremost, although recently some people might say that the MCU and Star Wars movies might be more prominent. However, even before they bought those franchises, Disney would occasionally make their own foray into the realm of science fiction. Today’s movie is probably Disney’s biggest cult classic film as I don’t think I have met too many people who have seen it that have not enjoyed this movie. I remember watching this on VHS years ago and 5 year old me thought that it was absolutely fantastic. To this day, I still enjoy it and as soon as it was available on DVD, I would buy a copy of it. So now let’s have some 80’s retro enjoyment with today’s movie, TRON.

The plot: At Flynns, a popular video arcade, people line up to play a series of popular games. Inside one of the games, a program called Sark is racing a light cycle against the player and ends up winning the race by crashing his opponent into the light wall. LAter, Sark returns to his control ship and speaks with Master Control, the main system program for Encom’s computers, tells him that he absorbed some military software and wants Sark to battle their programs and defeat them in order to fully integrate them into himself. Elsewhere, a banking program is placed into a cell, where he meets Ram, another program, and Ram explains that they are there for believing in the Users, the people that programmed them. Back in the real world, Kevin Flynn, a former programmer for Encom, sends his hacking program Clu into Encom’s systems looking for some files he needs. In the system, Clu, accompanied by his data sprite Bit, is riding in a tank into the high clearance memory when he is confronted by a squad of Recognizers. Clu attempts to fight his way through them but ends up crashing his tank, then yells at Bit to get out of there before he is captured. Clu is taken to see Master Control, who tortures Clu to find out who programmed him but when Clu refuses to talk, Master Control has him erased and then contacts Ed Dillinger, the Senior Executive Vice President of Encom. Dillinger returns to the home office and access his computer to talk with Master Control, who tells him that Flynn has been snooping around the system looking for the files and Dillinger suggest suspending the higher level access to try and keep Flynn out. In his cubicle, Alan Bradley finds his access has been suspended and goes to see Dillinger, who tells him the issue and says it will only be for a few days. He then asks what Alan is working on and Alan tells him his program is called Tron; a watchdog/security program that will ensure that systems are not accessing files they are not supposed to. After Alan leaves, Master Control contacts Dillinger and tells him that he doesn’t like the idea of an independent program running around in his system, as he has appropriated countless outside programs. Alan heads down to the research lab to see his girlfriend Lora, who is working on a project with her mentor Dr. Walter Gibbs that consists of  a laser and program that will digitize solid matter and reconstruct it into the computer. Alan tells Lora about level 7 access being suspended because someone was hacking the system and she says that Flynn had mentioned trying to get into the system and had the proper access. The two head to Flynn’s arcade and talk to him and he admits that he had been trying to hack into the system. He explains that he had invented the video game Space Paranoid and several others while he was working at Encom but one day he found his files missing and 3 months later, Dillinger presents the games to the board and advances up the ranks. Flynn has been trying to find the files in the Master Control Program’s memory to show as proof but with level 7 access suspended, he won’t be able to do so. When Alan mentions his Tron program, Flynn says he could forge a level 6 access if he had physical access to the system and Lora says they should go right now. Heading back to Encom, Flynn hacks the security door so they can get into the building unannounced then separate, with Alan heading to his terminal to get ready to activate Tron while Lora taking Flynn to her station so he can hack into the system. Meanwhile, Dillinger is meeting with Gibbs, who is arguing about cutting the programmers access and complains about how the company has changed since he first helped found it. Afterwards, Dillinger is talking to Master Control, who says he plans on hacking the Pentagon and Kremlin, threatening to release the file about Dillinger’s theft of Flynn’s intellectual property to the Times if Dillinger tries to stop him. Lora shows Flynn her terminal then heads up to meet with Alan, leaving Flynn to try to get into the system. As Flynn starts working at the terminal, Master Control speaks out to him and warns him to stop but when Flynn continues on his task, Master Control activates the laser and blasts Flynn, transporting him into the computer system, where he is captured by Sark’s men. Master Control contacts Sark and tells him he wants Flynn placed in the games so he can be killed and when Sark balks upon hearing that Flynn is a user, Master Control threatens to shut him down unless he does as instructed. Flynn is taken out of his cell along with the other newly captured programs, and Sark addresses them and says they will all be competing in the games for the chance to join his men in service to the MCP. As they are walking back to their cells, Flynn sees a program fighting against 4 of Sark’s men and asks Ram who he is and Ram tells him that it is Tron. Later, Flynn is forced to compete in a game against another free program, playing a form of paddle ball on a series of rings, which disappear when the ball hits them. Flynn manages to get the upper hand on his opponent but when Sark orders him to finish the game and kill his opponent, Flynn refuses. Sark then kills Flynn’s opponent and considers killing Flynn but recalls Master Control’s orders and has him escorted to the next game. Flynn meets up with Ram and Tron, who Flynn is surprised to see looks like Alan. When Flynn calls him Alan, Tron remarks that that is his user and Flynn lies, telling him that his user sent him here to help him take out the MCP. Flynn, Tron, and Ram are sent into the light cycle grid and compete in a team battle against 3 of Sark’s men in a 3 on 3 match. During the course of the match, one of Sark’s men crashes into the wall and causes an opening, which Flynn escapes through, following by Tron and Ram. The three manage to avoid the Recognizers and tanks that Sark sends after them and then look around the area. Seeing an input/output tower in the distance, Tron says he has to head there and make contact with Alan or else they won’t be able to get close the the MCP. As the three head out, they are attacked by a group of tanks and Flynn and Ram’s light cycles are destroyed while Tron, thinking they are dead, continues to escape, pursued by Sark and his men. Flynn and Ram survived, though Ram is seriously injured, and Flynn carries him into the wreckage of a Recognizer and lays him down before passing out himself. After resting for a bit, Flynn notices that some of the Recognizer’s systems have come online and he discovers he is able to rebuild it, using his knowledge as a User, to do so. Flying off to meet with Tron, Flynn tells Ram that he will get him some help but Ram motions for him to come closer. Stopping the Recognizer, Flynn approaches Ram, who recognizes him as a User and begs him to help Tron and as Flynn promises, Ram smiles before he derezzes. Meanwhile, Tron has reached the tower and contacts Yori, a program that looks like Lora in the real world, and when she recognizes him, she embraces Tron then leads him to Dumont, who can help him contact Alan. Back in the Recognizer, Flynn finds himself struggling to control it due to damage it had previously sustained, while a Bit begins floating around his head and commenting on his driving. Flynn eventually crashes into the outskirts of the tower and goes looking for Tron but is forced to hide when Sark and some of his men walk by. Noticing a straggler, Flynn knocks him out but as he goes to move the body, Flynn realizes that his circuitry has instinctively changed colors to mimic one of Sark’s men. Meanwhile, Tron and Yori manage to sneak into Dumont’s chamber and convince Dumont to help Tron contact Alan. With Dumont locking Sark’s forces out of the tower, Tron is able to contact Alan, who places the information needed to shut down the MCP onto Tron’s identity disk. Tron and Yori leave the chamber just as Sark and his men manage to break through and capture Dumont for helping Tron. Tron and Yori board a solar-sailer simulation to make their way to the MCP’s core and Tron fights off Sark’s men who try to stop him, unintentionally knocking Flynn off the ship, though he manages to cling to the simulation’s side. As they sail along the information beam, Sark’s control ship attempts to catch up to them but Lori is able to speed up the simulation and escape. As he heads back to Yori, Tron notices Flynn, who calls out to stop Tron from attacking him, and Tron helps him aboard and smiles to see his friend still alive but is saddened to learn of Ram’s death. Tron introduces Flynn to Yori and Flynn tells them that he is a User, which surprises Tron and Yori. When they find their progress stopped by a power surge from the MCP, Flynn uses his body as a gateway to link the simulation to another data stream, allowing the power surge to destroy the two Recognizers that were following them. Tron and Yori are surprised to find that Flynn isn’t derezzing and believe that he is a user but as they continue towards the MCP, Sark’s ship broadsides them and destroys the simulation, seemingly killing Tron while Flynn and Yori are captured. The two are placed in a cell with Dumont and when Sark enters, he is shocked to see Flynn is still alive. Sark orders Dumont taken to his landing shuttle, and tells Flynn that after he leaves, the ship will derezz, along with everyone left on board but unknown to Sark, Tron is still alive and clings to the outside of the shuttle. Sark leaves and the ship begins to derezz but Flynn is able to keep it from completely being destroyed, and saves Yori so she can help him. At the MCP, Sark has the religious zealots taken into the MCP, where Master Control begins to absorb them into himself. Tron shows up and begins fighting with Sark, eventually dealing him a fatal blow but when he goes to attack Master Control, the MCP brings up a shield, then uses his power to resurrect Sark into a giant. When Flynn and Yori arrive, Flynn has Yori steer the ship close to the information beam, then jumps into it, distracting the MCP long enough to expose an opening in the shield. Tron throws his disk through the opening and into the MCP, where it is eventually destroyed. As Tron, Yori, Dumont, and the others watch, the I/O Towers change colors, showing that they are no longer under the control of the MCP. Meanwhile, Flynn is blasted back into the real world and as he gets his bearings, a printer begins printing out the information Flynn had been looking for and he cheers at the success. The next day, Dillinger walks into his office and accesses his computer only to see the information about his stealing Flynn’s games has been displayed to every computer in the building and he sits down, realizing his career is ruined. Some time later, Alan and Lora are on the roof of Encom tower waiting for their new boss to arrive and as the helicopter lands, Flynn gets out and hugs his two friends, saying “Greetings programs”, referencing his time in The Grid.

TRON met with mostly praise from the critics, holding a 70% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The critical consensus on the site is, “Though perhaps not as strong dramatically as it is technologically, TRON is an original and visually stunning piece of science fiction that represents a landmark work in the history of computer animation.” The movie was considered a failure, despite earning $33 million off of a $17 million budget, but the video games developed based on the movie would prove to be a major hit and would actually out-gross the movie. Tron was actually disqualified from receiving an Oscar nomination for special effects because at the time, the Academy felt that using computers was “cheating”. TRON would develop a cult following and aside from various video games, it would get a film sequel almost 30 years later, as well as an animated TV series that would bridge somewhat bridge the gap and lead into the sequel.

Yes, this movie is somewhat dated but I still love this movie. The acting was great, with Jeff Bridges (Flynn/Clu), David Warner (Dillinger/Sark. Master Control), and Bruce Boxleitner (Alan/Tron) doing great jobs in their roles. I also thought that Condy Morgan (Lora/Yori) and Barnard Hughes (Gibbs/Dumont) were equally good, though they unfortunately seemed to come across more as supporting characters. The story was a pretty good action/sci-fi movie as a whole, while also doing a good job of showcasing the fears that some people felt in the 80’s, and still do today, about computers starting to gain more control and self autonomy, to the point where they could eventually replace people. The special effects for the time were incredible and considered groundbreaking, especially the blend of computer animation with human actors. I loved the color scheme used in The Grid, with the bright colors mixed with the bland backgrounds making for some vivid imagery during some scenes. Yes, there might be some nostalgia involved but this is still a movie that is well worth watching.

Rating: 4 1/2 out of 5

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