Site created 12/15/97.
review added: 2/28/00
1982 (1998) - Disney
review by Brad Pilcher of
The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
Specs and Features
96 mins, PG, letterboxed widescreen (2.20:1), single-sided,
single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, film-themed menu
screens, theatrical trailer, scene access (28 chapters), languages:
English & French (DD 4.1), Spanish (DD 2.0), subtitles: None
"If you've seen
one Computer Electronics Show, you've seen them all."
The nostalgia factor is cranked up high with this disc. Any kid who
lived through the 80s can remember TRON
(even if they have no recollection of what it's about). Why? It's
the look, stupid. Before CGI dominated just about every movie
around, Disney tried their hand with a decidedly unique film.
Granted, they didn't succeed in delivering a fleshed-out story, but
they blew everybody away in 1982 with incredible special effects.
It's something like how The Phantom
Menace wasn't an incredibly good story, but it looks so
The story is your typical Disney science-fiction fare (read
incredibly far-fetched). David Warner's character stole some video
games from Jeff Bridge's "Flynn", and used them to propel
his own career while kicking Flynn to the curb. A few years later,
Flynn, while attempting to break into the system and get evidence of
these nefarious doings, ends up being digitized and downloaded into
the computer system by the even more nefarious "Master Control
Program." Now he has to work with rebel programs to defeat the
system and get back to the real world. Silly enough for you? Good.
Let's move on.
This film is surprisingly endearing in a sort of Wizard
of Oz meets Alice in
Wonderland way. Of course, it's like being on a serious
sugar high and playing video games at the same time, but it works
because of that (and as a piece of 80s kid nostalgia). The plot
loses steam early, and witty Jeff Bridges is left to carry the day.
He does an OK job, but he's hardly a savior. In the end, this film
will appeal most to those of us who grew up with it in the 80s. The
younger film-goers among us may look at it with a modern,
Technically, this disc is a disappointment. But before I pan the
thing, let's look at it objectively. ILM wasn't exactly a major
force in movies yet. Almost all of the movie was done in black and
white and then colored in later. The source was sixteen years old
when this disc hit the market, so there is an enormous amount of
grain. Is it distracting? Yes. Is it expected? Unfortunately.
Despite this flaw, TRON is
looking better than it ever has on home video. The colors are
vibrant, despite some compression artifacting and shimmer. One
major, and inexcusable flaw, is the lack of anamorphic enhancement.
This video could easily be improved three times over with
anamorphic. The sound is good, considering the source, providing
about as encompassing an experience as you can get. It could be
better, but as far as this film goes, it has been worse.
The extras are slim as you get. All it has is a theatrical trailer
for the film which, for the record, sucks. Not only is the quality
abysmal, but the damned thing is cropped. It was a huge
disappointment to see the title cut off on both sides. What was
that? I know trailers often get slighted when it comes to video
calibre, but there's also such a thing as minimum level of quality.
With DVD's mainstream acceptance, it's time to start paying
attention to the quality of our extras (especially on the anamorphic
In the end, this film hasn't quite held up over the years. It was
hyped like crazy, and while it didn't flop, it didn't live up to the
expectations. Still, it's a nostalgic film that you have to
appreciate, if for nothing but the visuals. If you find it below
what Disney would have you pay for it, pick this DVD up and taste a
piece of film history.