Tron (1982), a recap (part 5 of 6)

Previously on Tron: Flynn, Tron, and Ram escaped the Game Grid, but were later separated when Sark’s tanks blew up their lightcycles, which eventually killed Ram. But Tron pressed onward with his girlfriend Yori, while Flynn tried to do the same with vehicles that ended up crashing before a skirmish caused him to camouflage himself as one of the bad guys.

Tron and Yori are making their way to the I/O Tower. They deal with several guards before having to climb up skyscraper-height poles to get to a secret entrance. A Recognizer is patrolling the area like a helicopter. Yori decides to use the secret entrance first, prompting Tron to briefly express concern before she slides down into the tower. Tron follows, although the Recognizer briefly catches him in the act.

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Once inside, the duo is halted by the tower’s guardian Dumont (also played by Barnard Hughes), who looks like he’s in some sort of compressed box, with only his face and hands visible (and wearing quite unflattering head gear, I must add). Tron explains that they wish to communicate with Alan. But Dumont turns out to be a bit rough around the edges compared to Walter, as he states that he’s surprised that the MCP and Sark haven’t just closed the tower down. But Tron explains that Alan could help change the whole system for the better, allowing the tower to be used more. Dumont remains skeptical until Yori pleads with him, just as Sark’s guards spot them inside. Dumont concedes, shutting out the guards with a force-field.

Dumont asks Tron the name of his user. Tron replies, “Alan One.” I thought his last name was Bradley, but, I must admit, Alan One does have a nice, distinctive ring to it. Dumont says this before allowing Tron to pass:

Dumont: All that is visible must grow beyond itself and extend into the realm of the invisible.

I guess that’s a fortune cookie fortune, only without the cookie? Not that it matters, since Tron is free to proceed.

Outside the tower, Sark arrives and brings in what he calls the “logic probe” to break down the tower’s wall. This thing is really impressive, which is saying a lot considering the other gadgets we already know Sark has at his disposal.

Tron walks to the platform where he can talk to Alan. He whips out his disc and stands on the platform, holding it above his head. He slowly releases the disc and it shoots upward, causing the red light from the tower to turn blue. We hear Alan informing him that he’s souping up Tron’s disc so that Tron can use it to destroy the MCP. Also, the disc must be thrown at the MCP’s base in order to have the desired effect. Curiously, Alan doesn’t ask Tron if Flynn is there, but I guess souping up these discs requires one to pull an all-nighter.

I must also note the irony (no doubt intentional) that the only reason Tron has this disc at all is because Sark issued it to him.

Tron gets his souped-up disc and quickly thanks Dumont before he and Yori bolt. Sark and his men enter, along with Flynn, who can still act incognito thanks to his red armor. Dumont pleads ignorance when Sark asks where Tron is. In response, Sark angrily tells his men to take Dumont into custody, but I’m guessing it’s only because Sark hates Dumont’s hat as much as I do.

Yori and Tron head for the craft we saw being put together earlier. And this film has had its share of gaffes up to this point, but it’s here that we come to the mistake that’s always stuck out for me. As Tron and Yori ascend into the craft, we see that she’s now wearing a helmet similar to Tron, as opposed to the cap we previously saw her wearing. Yori explains that the craft should be able to take them to the MCP.

While she’s prepping the ship, more guards show up. Tron dispatches them, and in all the confusion, Flynn gets knocked down and is left hanging on the side of the craft. This skirmish ends on an amusing note as a guard basically saves Tron the trouble by tossing himself overboard.

Yori soon gets the craft going, with Sark’s vessel slowly in pursuit. As the MCP takes Sark to task for allowing Tron and Yori to steal the craft, Tron encounters Flynn. Delighted that Flynn is still alive, he manages to pull Flynn aboard the ship before he can fall, which returns Flynn’s armor to its blue color. The two do the decent thing and briefly mourn Ram before they meet up with Yori.

As when he first met Tron, Flynn is now astonished at how much Yori resembles Lora. This leads to Tron literally coming between them before Flynn can snap out of it. He then informs both of them that he’s a User, and they continue their journey.

While two Recognizers tail our heroes, we see Dumont being tortured by Sark with waves of energy. Yori’s voice then states that “grid bugs” on the terrain below should be avoided, although that seems easy enough, as these things don’t seem to be able to leap up to catch their sailing ship.

However, the craft is halted by a power surge from the MCP. Their only hope is to move the craft to another beam, but the only one in sight isn’t close enough. Flynn races to the front of the ship and uses himself as a conduit to briefly lift the ship, causing the surge to go past them and take out the Recognizers.

As the ship resumes its journey, Tron takes the dazed Flynn to the other end of the ship to recuperate. As Flynn recovers (in Yori’s arms, no less), Tron asks how Flynn accomplished what he did with the beam. The latter simply states it was elementary physics (well, it’s better than the ones we see in Superman IV, I’ll grant them that). The ship continues onward, passing some interesting looking canyons as well as a city. Eventually though, Sark’s ship catches up with them and breaks the ship apart before sucking it and its occupants inside.

Yori (wearing her cap again) and Flynn are brought to the same cell as Dumont (who’s now wearing a cap himself, rather than the stupid hat seen earlier). Yori sadly informs Dumont that Tron is dead, and that Flynn is a User who came to help. But Dumont begins to doubt that even the Users can help now. Sark comes in, pleased as punch that Tron is dead. But his grin quickly turns upside down when he sees Flynn alive and well. After they exchange some brief “fuck you”s, Sark orders Dumont taken to the holding pit, with his armor glowing to emphasize the point. Yori and Flynn are knocked down when they try to intervene. Sark informs them that Dumont and other guardians are being taken to the MCP, and that the two of them are to remain on board, as the ship will soon “de-rez”, which is program-speak for “they are screwed”.

But to no one’s surprise, Tron is actually alive and stealthily crawling across the exterior of Sark’s vessel. He manages to cling to the capsule that Sark, some of his men, and the guardian programs are now on. The capsule detaches from the ship and makes its way to the MCP.

As Flynn realizes that the cell that he and Yori are in is beginning to lose power, we see the MCP in all its glory as it seems to spin non-stop. But Yori begins to give up and actually comes within inches of disintegrating herself (due to a broken heart, I guess), before Flynn revives her with his magic User touch. It also seems that he was right about their prison wall, because in the next shot we see it’s vanished, allowing both of them to leave. They make their way to the ship’s control panel as it begins to slowly disintegrate, layer by layer.

As the guardians are forcibly pinned to the wall, the MCP stops spinning, no doubt because it’s as dizzy as we are watching it, and informs Sark that it senses a disturbance in the Force. Er, I mean it senses a nearby presence.

Sure enough, Sark goes to the nearby mesa and meets up with Tron, who had previously dispatched Sark’s lieutenant with his disc. In true western style, the two proceed to fight it out with their discs. In the meantime, the MCP informs the guardians that they’re all screwed.

Tron, once again, shows off his badassery, even flat out telling Sark that he’s better than him. As if to emphasize this point, Tron’s next throw creates a clean slice through Sark’s disc, while smacking Sark square in the head, causing him to begin disintegrating. Damn, Tron’s disc is as bad-ass as he is!

Sensing this, the MCP inexplicably transfers all its power to Sark, reviving him and making him grow to King Kong size. The MCP then uses its shields to block Tron’s disc throws until Sark appears, although Tron’s disc doesn’t have any luck against him now.

Flynn tells Yori to bring them to the beam that the MCP is generating. He tells her that he’s going to throw himself into the MCP in order to distract it. Yori objects, but Flynn reassures her with a tender kiss.

He dives in, causing the MCP to briefly go crazy before giving Tron another opening into its core, which he takes advantage of. The impact tosses Flynn out of the MCP, which is reduced to what looks like a small stone with the face of a man using a typewriter. The face quickly vanishes and causes Sark to disintegrate.

As Tron and the guardians make a break for it, the capsule the MCP was housed in breaks apart, causing everything in the system to truly light up. Tron reunites with Yori just as Sark’s ship vanishes. She kisses him again before telling him what Flynn did. Dumont appears and shows the happy couple how things are looking better now, and I’m sure Blossom, Joey, and Six will think it’s so cool.

We go through the computerized 2001 tunnel once more back to real world, where Flynn is conveniently restored to his normal self sitting at that same terminal. To add to this good fortune, the printer next to his terminal prints out info which confirms Dillinger’s crimes. Flynn happily darts off with this hard copy.

The next morning sees Dillinger arriving at the office. He attempts to access the MCP, only to see the same info we saw printed earlier. This leads to Dillinger dropping down into his chair in defeat.

The film ends with Alan and Lora on the roof of the Encom building as an Encom chopper, which Alan says has their boss on board, arrives. That boss turns out to be Flynn, who says “Greetings, programs!” as he happily embraces his friends/subordinates. So Flynn is now the head of Encom. Awesome! I hope this means Walter got his job back. I also hope it means Flynn kept his arcade, because how cool is a CEO who owns an arcade?

Next up: I wrap things up with a look at Tron‘s legacy (and I’m not just talking about the sequel Tron: Legacy).

Rob Kirchgassner

Rob is a blogger, critic, and author. His latest novel is a western: The Search West is available now from Amazon.

Multi-Part Article: Tron, a recap

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  • Dumont is probably the best representation of an actual computer program in this movie: he’s old and obsolete, he’s stuck in one place and has one job, and he spends most of his time waiting for someone to talk to him. His hat represents poor software architecture.

    • So he’s Windows Vista?

  • When I was a kid, I thought that owning a video arcade would be cool. Living above the arcade was even cooler.

    • Murry Chang

      And now you realize that the upkeep on those machines would be horrible, owning a comic/gaming shop is the way to go, right?;)

  • The_Shadow_Knows

    Logic probes are real, and arguably look (sort of) like that. Of course, they’re actually small enough to hold in your hand…