Cast: Tron - Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn/CLU), Bruce Boxleitner (Alan/TRON), David Warner (Dillinger/MASTER CONTROL), Cindy Morgan (Lora/YORI); Tron: Legacy - Bridges (Flynn/CLU), Boxleitner (Alan/TRON), Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn), Olivia Wilde (Quorra), Michael Sheen (Castor/Zuse)
Director: Steven Lisberger (TRON)/Joseph Kosinski (TRON: Legacy)
Plot: Without giving anything away, these films are about the early days of computer programming and video games. TRON introduces us to Kevin Flynn, computer programmer and video game enthusiast. He gets lost in his computer, having become digitized, and tries to get his program to overthrow the evil Master Control, never to return. In the sequel, Flynn's son goes in to the digital world to find out what happened to his father over 20 years earlier.
Why you should watch it: The two films are greatly underrated in my opinion. The original TRON gets a bad rap because it was made in the early days of CGI, therefore making any viewing of the film seem terribly dated. I think that's part of the charm though. The film was ambitious, especially for 1982. I also feel that the sequel doesn't get enough credit for being a good follow-up.
The original TRON was way too complex a concept for the average moviegoer to grasp in 1982. Had the audience been completely made up of code writers, programmers, video game enthusiasts, PC hobbyists and the like, then it would've done huge bank. However, it wasn't and it didn't. The film turned into some kind of running joke for years. As a kid growing up in the golden age of video games, I loved the movie. It was a guilty pleasure, and it continues to be. Is the acting great? No. Is the story insanely outrageous? Nope. Is it a good way to pass the time on a day when you've nothing better to do? Absolutely. I like the plot - a guy gets lost inside the program of his creation, and has to fight from the inside out against a larger program. Nobody thought there would be a sequel to this cult classic. They were wrong.
TRON: Legacy is a worthy follow-up. The story is a bit more of the same (go in to the program, fight the program), but thankfully the film returned the two main actors from the original, Bridges and Boxleitner. It also brought back the program from the original, which helps continuity immensely. Obviously, the visuals are 1000% better than the original. I also think the storyline is good, plausible, but also lends itself being a guilty pleasure. It also helps that the music was done by Daft Punk, which contributes to the cold and digital feel of the film.
Let's face it, neither one of these films is going to wow anyone or end up on any sort of "best of" list. However, if you like to be entertained, if you like video games, if you can suspend reality and engage your sense of fantasy, then these two films can be for you. They are the types of movies that nobody wants to admit they like, but I will always declare my affinity for them.