Debate of the Day: Do Movies Like Tron Hold Up Over Time?

I set out on a mission the other day, to finally watch Tron in preparation for the new film coming out this December. Considering I was negative five years old when the film came out, and never fully understood what the hell it was after that, it’s just a film I missed, and only knew of it because of “Tron Guy.” Not exactly the greatest first impression.

But I was determined to give it ago, so I popped in it with some friends and was immediately greeted by all the special effects technology 1982 had to offer. People always will point to Star Wars and say “look how good those effects were, and it was 1977!” but that’s not really fair. Star Wars‘ effects were mostly done with real life miniature models (a far cry from the CGI fests of the new trilogy and “updated” films today), and Tron was one of the first films to actually employ computer animation, and use it pervasively throughout the film.

It’s tough though, even if it was cutting edge tech back then, it can be hard to watch it today without being so distracted by how dated it looks. This happens from time to time in movies, but I’ve never had the effect featured so prominently before.

But after about of half hour of viewing, I got used to the tech, and was actually able to enjoy the film for what it was. I didn’t think I could get past the initial barrier of polygons and vector lines and ridiculous ass circuit suits, but I did, and found the universe pretty fascinating, enough to get me really pumped for the sequel, which again, will be on the cutting edge of technology yet again.

I guess my question is this, are there movies that are so dated you can’t enjoy them anymore? Or will classics always be classics no matter what?

  • Ugo Strange

    What makes a movie a classic is the story and how it’s told and acted. If movies only became classics because of the technology then 3D would be the greatest thing ever…and I think we can all agree, it’s not. Think back to N64’s Goldeneye and how truly amazing that game is. The technology and graphics and WOEFULLY dated BUT it’s still one of the greatest 1st person shooters of all time.

    “Tron” is a classic dated or not because it was innovative story-telling and was fun commentary on the idea of man vs. Machine or man vs. Technology. It had massive appeal to the video game crowd and wasn’t bogged down by trying to have an “agenda”. Think of Indiana Jones and the the original 3 movies. They’re all dated, but FANTASTIC…now think of Kingdom of The Crystal Skull and how much it sucked ass.

    Star Wars, the continuous digital remasterings of it is making it suck ass because George Lucas is all about “MORE EFFECTS!” and that takes away from the story-telling. Case in point, Power Rangers In Space had HORRIBLE special effects, BUT the story was friggin’ awesome and it’s still THE BEST season of Power Rangers BAR NONE. Anyways that’s my soap box.

  • Pontius

    It’s pretty difficult to watch the original Star Trek episodes

  • Drester

    Power Rangers…? Come on man

  • Cartman86

    Tron is actually the only movie I can think of that really does this to me. It’s not only the effects though. The movie itself is incomprehensible.

  • Sideshow

    Carpenter’s “The Thing” is still amazing. I still prefer puppets and practical effects for closeups over CGI just because of this film.

  • I am actually looking forward to this movie. I hadn’t seen the first until a few months ago. It was surprisingly a good movie.

  • Hellsyeah bro! I am a Lost Boys and
    Big Trouble in Little China FANatic!!!

  • Ben

    Short answer: No.


  • Ugo Strange

    Oh C’mon Drester like you weren’t a Power Ranger fan when you were young. C’mon Man.

  • OTWarrior

    I agree with sideshow, The Thing is only dated because of the actors haircuts and the computers they use (plus video tapes). If it wasn’t for that it the special effects of the monster and the story telling even hold up today. Love that film, but fear for the sequel (prequel?).

    The first 2 alien films are also good examples of non-dated special effects. As the story is also fantastic, I can watch them again and again without noticing the effects. The later films, not so much.

    And despite George Lucas redoing the old films by added extra special effects via CGI and remastering certain scenes, the actors will always have dated haircuts and make-up. It’s just one of those things, no matter how good the special effects are.

  • Katie

    Movies like Tron hold up over time because their stories are compelling enough to attract the imaginations of the audience, despite the graphics. The fact that modern viewers have trouble watching Tron only affirms the fact that people today are hooked on the CGI that everyone likes to rail against. Sure, you can yell at George Lucas for ‘updating’ classics, but if you can’t sit through and enjoy a movie like Tron, then you’re in no real position to complain.
    Personally, I hate what’s being done to the original Star Wars movies — but I can and do watch old episodes of Star Trek gleefully, without a wince of ‘Oh god, the effects are so bad’ pain. Characters like Luke and Han, or Kirk and Spock, create moments that are unequivocally awesome for viewers. If you can’t say to yourself, ‘Hey, it was the 60’s/80’s” and get over the effects, then you really have no business watching old-school movies in the first place. You’d probably be better off watching Transformers and being done with it.
    Dated graphics shouldn’t be a detriment to your movie-watching experience. They should make you happy, like they make me happy. People decades ago were telling stories with what was, at the time, cutting edge, and they were doing a better job. I’d rather sit down and watch Star Wars, an old episode of Star Trek, or Tron, than any one of the super-modernized movies that have come out lately, like Avatar. Stories were better back in the day than they are now (for the most part).