Tron: The Original Classic
Ed Dillinger (David Warner), head of ENCOM a giant computer software company, is paranoid over recent hacking attempts by Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). Flynn, an ex-employee is trying to access and recover files that can proof that he engineered the software that placed Dillinger at the top of the company. However, he has been unable to access due to the MCP (David Warner), Master Control Program, blocking his every move. Meanwhile, has created TRON a programed aimed to take down the MCP from within, but after Dillinger shuts his access he can no longer achieve his goal. Alan (Bruce Boxleitner) is forced to bring Flynn inside ENCOM to bring this MCP down and get the files they are after, but something unexpected occurs, Flynn deep within the system and into the grid. Forced to engage in their gladiatorial games, but his only chance of survival lies within one security program, Tron (Bruce Boxleitner).
Tron has become one of those films that can be regarded as a geek film with its outlandish and techy dialogue that can sure give more than a few people a headache while trying to follow. Tron captured the imaginations of many with its top-notch CGI work and special effects that were probably ahead of its time. Tron’s vision of something beyond the computer screen was perhaps the most intriguing part of the film, wondering how information travels and looks. Tron was revolutionary in the way it was designed and the way it brought something new and fresh to the big screen. The problem with Tron, well not the film itself, but the reason why it wasn’t as followed was perhaps back in 1982 things like the Internet and the whole computer jargon that is talked about during the film wasn’t exactly as widespread as it is today.
Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, and David Warner single handily carry the film. They understand the subject and do great with their parts. Jeff Bridges is by far the best of the film, making the character feel alive or believable. Bridges carries this throughout the film and you always get the feeling that he is much more than another program within the computer. The story does have a few moments that may feel like there’s nothing happening on screen, but in reality the film just evolves at a slower pace even with its simplistic ideas. There’s always a sense of wonder every time the main character wonders around. I can easily tell you that watching this film today helps you appreciate it more, it is perhaps one of the most important sci-fi films for its vision and ideas that helped set the foundation of the genre. Many won’t appreciate the film for what it is simply because of its archaic look, but consider all the films released in ’82 and you’ll see how well developed and idealistic the film is.
It’s been over 20 years since the disappearance of Kevin Flynn, since then ENCOM has been taken over and handled in a way that goes against what Flynn believed. His son Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is now all grown up and is currently the biggest shareholder of ENCOM, but not ready to run it. On the night of his yearly prank, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner, Kevin’s old friend, tells Sam that he got a page from the arcade. Sam goes to see the old place and finds his dad’s secret office. After meddling with his dad’s system, Sam finds himself transported into the new grid. Just like his dad before him, seeing the new world that Kevin Flynn became so obsessed with. Forced to play in the sick games of CLU, Sam will now have to find the truth about his father and his disappearance.
Taking a look at the new grid many will find a few similarities, but probably the consensus will be on how much it has changed. With the original Tron there was a lot of potential with the design and sets coming into this new sequel. We saw an infinite potential in the first that we thought anything could be done and improved right from the get go. Certainly producers and designers along with director Joseph Kosinski created a world that is dark and unique, but keeps the feel and essence of the original. Once Sam is in the grid you get the feeling that we are being brought back to an old place. Certainly technology has improved and has allowed the filmmakers to fully evolve the grid from what it once was to how it turned out. The disc battles, the light cycle battles, the robotic attitude of the “programs” inside, etc. are just a tiny part of what made it into the sequel that are a big part of what makes this sequel successful. It was amazing seeing the cycle battles have such an upgrade in visuals, going from being robotic movements to being free flowing through the area was an exhilarating experience. The design itself of the grid is amazing; designers gave it a very futuristic look with buildings, cars, cycles, etc. having gone through extensive redesigning to fit the futuristic idea. Technically speaking the film is visually stunning.
Having the grid redesigned wasn’t all that was needed to make tis film appealing. Having part of the original cast is back for a sequel was perhaps the best thing of the movie. Seeing Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxletner reprising their roles was a good move by the casting. The film met most of my expectations regarding the story, but to be honest the attempt to rekindle memories to the fanbase of the original film came up a bit short. Some may argue that perhaps the take in which the story was told wasn’t the correct, but it is not all that bad. However, the film has very forgettable one-liners from Sam and the story’s pacing can be slow and dragging from time to time. I mean the film did take about 2 hours. There is almost no connection to the characters in the story. Considering what was laid before this film and the way this developed, one can’t stop to wonder how this was just a setup to establish another franchise. Don’t let this be a downer though, the film is entertaining featuring some mind-blowing visuals accompanied with a heck of an audio track, it’s pure eye and aural delight.
Tron: The Original classic arrives on Blu-ray with a MPEG4 -AVC encode framed at 2.20:1. So far Disney has delighted us with their catalog releases and the careful restoration jobs, this time it is Tron’s turn and Disney has done justice to this great title. Sure, the film it’s a couple of decades old so to judge it based on today’s standards would incredibly biased. Colors are very bright skintones appear natural during real life parts of the film. Even the black levels are well resolved, although sometimes detailing suffers under dark scenes. Once inside the grid, things appear to be the same, colors are bright, black levels are well resolved, but a bit overwhelming on the image. Textures and minor details are mostly kept, but due to the old age of the film some of the scenes may appear soft. The film does exhibit some artifacts on the image, but that’s most likely due to the age of the film. There was no sign of overly used DNR on the image. There is a mid-heavy grain structure as well. Overall, the film does look very good for being three decades old and the restoration has left Tron looking like it was intended to be seen.
Tron: Legacy arrives on Blu-ray with a 1080p MPEG4-AVC encode framed at 2.35:1 with alternate scenes created for IMAX that are framed at 1.85:1. The film is presented in the same way those movies like The Dark Knight and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen handled the IMAX scenes. The movie is just simply stunning from beginning to end. The scenes outside the grid feature natural looking colors, lifelike skintones, and inky black levels. Detailing is very impressive, capturing every nuance in the picture. Inside the gird, every looks as good if not better. Black levels are deep and inky. Colors shine and excel with vibrant oranges, blues, reds, and neon colors that just simply pop out your screen. Detailing inside the grid is very impressive capturing the skin textures, textures on the surroundings, and textures on the wardrobe used by the characters. The image is clean and just simply visual eye candy. Disney did a fantastic job!
The 3D effects used in the film are very impressive to say the least. There aren’t many scenes that feature 3D like effects, but when called upon it’s something to be enjoyed. The picture features incredible depth that gives viewers a sense of being right in the picture. The best part is the picture doesn’t lose any of the great attributes that make the 2D version such an eye candy. There is no ghosting detected so I can honestly tell you the 3D version is stunning and easily a 3D demo disc. I do have to mention that I have more respect towards Disney, prior to the start of the film there’s a disclaimer about the film being created in 2D and 3D effect were added after the film was done. So right from the get go you know it wasn’t fully created in 3D. With that being said the film still looks fantastic!
Tron: The Original Classic arrives on Blu-ray with a 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. The track is quite old, but Disney did their best and I got to say that it’s decent. Dialogue is clear and perfectly centered, although the music often overwhelms it. The surrounds do a good job reproducing some of the effects. The bass is fairly good at providing support when needed. Overall, the track is faithful to the original production and can’t be expected to match today’s soundtrack, but it does a decent job.
Tron: Legacy arrives on Blu-ray with a 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio lossless track. Could you expect any lesser than top-notch audio for this title? Disney went all out and used the highest quality audio and boy does the movie sound good. Dialogue is clean and clear throughout and even under the most intense actions it never becomes overwhelmed. Surrounds al active at all times providing support and creating a 360-degree soundstage placing viewers right in the action. The bass will thunder through your house, it’s aggressive, and provides great support for every scene. The score by Daft Punk sounds absolutely amazing and is fitting for the film. I just can’t stop praising how great this track truly is. Kudos Disney.
Tron: The Original Classic
Audio Commentary – This track features Director Steven Lisberger, Donald Kushner, Harrison Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor. The filmmakers talk about the ideas behind the film, filming, the challenges, and more. This is a very good track and highly recommended.
The Tron Phenomenon – This featurette gives viewers a look at how Tron has influenced films after its release back in 1982.
Photo Tronology – Director Steven Lisberger and his son dig through Disney’s archive and find art saved from the making of the original Tron.
Storyboarding – This feature shows viewers the storyboard process used for various scenes of the movie.
Publicity – Viewers can see some of the original trailers among other publicity images used to promote the film.
Design – See the early designs of the programs as well as the light cycles.
Digital Imagery – See the process used by filmmakers as they worked with digital imagery.
Development – Viewers get a quick look at the early production of Tron. You can see some concept art and other early footage.
Music – See the lightcycle sequence and end credits with the original score.
The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed – This feature shows the publics opinion and their reaction after the disappearance of Kevin Flynn.
First Look at Tron: Uprising – Get a first look at the cartoon based on the story before Legacy.
Visualizing Tron – The featurette covers different design stages and all the ideas that went into the creation of the new grid and designing everything about Tron: Legacy.
Installing the Cast – The actors get a chance to talk about the film and about each other. Jeff Bridges talks about returning to fill the role he played 30 years ago.
Launching the Legacy – This shows the early stages and how the producers of the movie got the green light to being working on the sequel to Tron.
Disc Roars – This featurette shows the cast and filmmakers at Comic-Con as they record the loud crowd to be used for parts of the film.
Music Video – “Derezzed” by Daft Punk
Disney Second Screen – Sync up your iPad, PC or Mac to your TV as Tron: Legacy is playing on the screen (given they are all connected to the same network) and you can access production reels, featurettes, and more.
Easter Egg – Watch “The Next Day: Flynn Lives” and at the end viewers will be presented with an old arcade pictures with records on the screen. Viewers can enter a three digit code just like back in the day in the old arcade, but do not put your initials, type the codes of the other records and extra featurettes will be unlocked and accessible.
Tron at the time of release was completely misunderstood when originally released. The story is simple with groundbreaking visuals for its time. There’s no doubt that Tron left a lasting impression on the sci-fi genre and 30 years later with the Blu-ray release we can finally appreciate it for what it is. Tron: Legacy fell short as far as the story is concerned, but it’s one heck of an entertainment. The Blu-ray offers a great restoration work on the original Tron along with an audio track that is fitting. Although the audio track is starting to show its age, it is still a good mix. Tron: Legacy is absolutely gorgeous with a pristine video transfer and sounds equally good with a great audio mix. The title is jammed packed with supplements to keep you in your seat a while longer. You can’t go wrong with both titles, although I will suggest finding a deal before purchasing, but at the end of the day make sure to pick this up!