Friday, August 31, 2012

The Dude Uploads: Jeff Bridges in Tron, Midnight This Weekend at Belcourt

Posted By on Fri, Aug 31, 2012 at 10:26 AM

Laugh all you want about what Disney considered — what was — the state of the digital art in 1982. Not just the visualization of the binary-coded ether as one giant dorm-room black-light poster, but also the clunky hardware on screen that’s the equivalent of those breadbox-sized wireless phones used in old war movies. And yet the same year William Gibson was just introducing the term “cyberspace,” Steven Lisberger’s through-the-monitor-screen fantasy Tron was advancing the concept, using the tale of a programmer turned uploaded warrior (Jeff Bridges) who challenges the tyrannical ruler (David Warner) inside a vast mainframe. (Perhaps “vast” needs some qualification: The computer used for the movie’s groundbreaking digital animation held a whopping 2MB of memory.)

The movie’s awkward, stilted quality makes it seem all the more alien. And it even works as a generally prescient portrait of the modern-day Internet — a realm of enormous power and promise, yet with anonymous assholes lurking everywhere. Tron is the midnight movie tonight and tomorrow night at The Belcourt; we can't wait to see what elixir Pat is concocting in its honor at the bar. (Using Cutty Sark, perhaps?)

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