Trailer Tuesday: Tron Legacy
There are very few fantasy/sci-fi films from the Eighties that I haven't seen. Embarrassingly though, one of the movies that always managed to slip under my radar, and which has maintained one of the fondest fan followings over the years, is the highly geek-chic Tron.
Released in 1982, Tron centred on a computer programmer and video game developer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) who, while working at software company ENCOM, has his ideas stolen by a fellow employee, and ends up running an arcade after being fired. In attempting to rectify this injustice, Flynn discovers a far more disturbing truth - namely that the computer system at ENCOM, called the Master Control Program (MCP), has become self-aware and has intentions of seizing military and government networks to optimize their efficiency. Zapped by a laser, Flynn ends up inside the computer mainframe, in a stylish neon-lit digital world, where programmes resemble their human creators. Flynn is then faced with the challenge of fighting MCP from within its own universe, where more peaceful programmes are being forced to accept the Master Controller's authority or take part in deadly gladiatorial games.
It's of course not so much its story that Tron is remembered for. Rather, the film is most well known, and significant within cinema history, for being one of the first films to extensively use computer graphics. In fact, so forward thinking was the original Tron that the movie wasn't even nominated for Best Visual Effects at the 1983 Academy Awards. The decision makers at the time decided that using computers was the equivalent of "cheating" in the category.
Anyway, I digress. Although it wasn't a massive hit upon release, over the years Tron has become a cult classic, ever growing its fan base. Two decades after the film's release the franchise even spawned a new video game (naturally) and a comic book series, which continued the storyline of the original film - now with the son of another programmer character entering the digital world.
In fact, the storyline of the new Tron film - a long-awaited sequel that fans have been yammering about for almost 28 years now - is somewhat similar to that of the 2003 Tron 2.0 video game. In the film Tron Legacy, the plot is as follows:
Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.
Watching the trailer for Tron Legacy as someone with no fan preconceptions, I was surprisingly impressed. The film looks both stunning and uniquely sci-fi stylish. I don't think the film's story will be anything to write home about but damn, there's plenty of eye candy on display. I do of course have the minor reservation that Tron is a Disney movie, but so too was the original - and it managed to maintain its edginess, steering clear of the need to insert audience friendly, and completely inappropriate, comedy relief.
The world still has quite a wait for Tron Legacy. But then again, what's a few more months when you've been waiting 28 years? The film is releasing in the United States on 17 December 2010 in 3D and 3D IMAX. South Africans will be able to get their Tron groove on from 31 December.