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Steven Lisberger (b. 1951), Bonnie MacBird (b. 1951), Alan Kay (b. 1940)
“Like a modern Alice in Wonderland, game designer Kevin Flynn is kidnapped and beamed into computer company ENCOM’s mainframe, where he is forced to fight for his life as a player in the games he created.
The video-arcade craze was in full swing when Walt Disney Productions released TRON in the summer of 1982. The movie resonated with an audience enamored with the world of technology, just as “high-tech” became accessible to the masses. While the look and feel of the movie worked brilliantly for some, the story was simply too ahead of its time for others. Critical reviews were mixed. With its glowing space-age combat suits and high-concept narrative about a regular guy doing battle with anthropomorphized software, the movie was celebrated by technophiles and panned by many critics as a stunning visual display without a credible plot.
TRON broke ground in computer animation. It was the first movie to include whole scenes that were synthetically generated, totaling about 20 minutes of the movie, as well as scenes that seamlessly mapped live-action actors into a computer-generated world. Several animators refused to work on TRON, fearful that digital animation would soon put conventional, hand-drawn animation out of business. At the time, the technique was considered so radical that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences disqualified the movie as a contender for a special effects award nomination because it felt that computer-aided visuals were a cheat.
Computer pioneer Alan Kay from Xerox PARC was a consultant on the film and helped to edit the movie script on the “Alto”—a prototype personal computer. Written by Bonnie MacBird and directed by Steven Lisberger, the film did not do well at the box office. The arcade games based upon the movie were incredibly popular, however, and out-grossed the movie — a harbinger of things to come. The film went on to develop a cult following among computer game geeks and spawned a franchise including the sequel TRON: Legacy, released in 2010.”
Poster from the movie TRON, written by Bonnie MacBird and directed by Steven Lisberger.