Thursday, December 16, 2010


Spoiler Level: High

With Tron: Legacy being released tonight at midnight (and Clone Wars being on its December break), I figured the time was right for me to rewatch the original classic.

I'm glad I did. While I remembered the generalities, I had forgotten a lot of the specifics, and I now know at least one of them will play a part in the new movie.

I also have a bigger appreciation for the actors involved.  I had no idea who Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner and David Warner were when I was 13.  Heck, this time around I didn't even recognize David Warner's face because he looked so young, I recognized him from his voice!  And what a thrill to find out Peter Jurasik was in it, too.  Two Babylon 5 lead actors in the same movie.

It's fairly well known that Tron doesn't have as much CGI in it as it appears to; the total amount of CGI material is about 20 minutes, which is only about 1/5 of the overall movie, and the rest of it is "back-lit" animation.  But that was still revolutionary for 1982, and unlike other early CGI movies it doesn't feel dated at all-- or rather, it feels appropriate for the time frame that the movie takes place in.  In 1982 computers hadn't invaded every facet of our life; if you didn't play video games, the only time you interacted with a computer was probably one of those crazy new ATM machines.  Arcade games were king, but the only thing you used a home computer for was for actually writing programs in BASIC.  (I remember wondering if there were all kinds of silly little VIC-20 Programs running around the Tron universe wearing my face!)  And the computer world was portrayed here as a breathtaking world of bright, flashing vibrant colors.  It makes for an interesting contrast to our modern world, where computers are in our phones, our cars, our TVs and very few people write programs at all, but we're all using programs other people wrote... and our movies are often visually dark.

And who would have known there was religion in Tron?!?  Well, anyone who's watched it since 1982, I suppose.  That was a significant detail I'd forgotten.  I loved it when Tron and Yori learned that Flynn was a User, so they looked to him to explain the grand plan to them.  And considering humans truly did create them, and that programs need to have everything exactly in place to work (ever have a website fail because you forgot to include one bracket in the right place?), it makes sense that they'd think we put it all together with a master plan.

I've heard that some people feel that Tron: Legacy should look exactly like the original; I disagree.  Just as Tron was a reflection of the computer world in 1982, Tron: Legacy needs to be a reflection of the computer world of 2010.  It's nearly 30 years later, and in those decades computers have totally changed our world.  So their world would have to radically change as well.  I can't wait to see what it's like!

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