Monday, March 28, 2011
With the release of TRON: LEGACY to theatres last December, there was a great demand for people to watch the 1982 original TRON again (or for the first time). Unfortunately, the DVD, released ten years earlier, had gone out of print. Copies were hard to find.
Now, TRON and its sequel TRON: LEGACY are being released together in a 5 disc Blu-ray set. The films are also available individually on DVD and Blu-ray.
The original TRON may not have the best reputation.
On an episode of THE SIMPSONS from the mid-90’s, Homer, stuck in a computerized world, asks “Has anyone seen TRON?” Everyone around him, Chief Wiggum, Bart, the rest of the gang, all say “No.”
Because it wasn’t a big box office hit, most believe it was a bad film.
That is even though critically, it received fairly positive notices, including a 4 star review from Roger Ebert (who a few years back showed it at his Overlooked Film Festival).
TRON has always been popular with computer geeks though, being a huge inspiration for a generation.
I saw TRON on its original release and was one who loved it. It looked like no film had before. And the idea of entering into the world of a computer (which in those days had yet to make it into the home) was a fascinating premise. Today, the talk of “users” and “programs” is a lot more natural than it was in those days before the home computer
On Blu-ray, the film looks better than ever. This may have been the first time that I picked up on the cameos by Pac Man and Mickey Mouse. The film also sounds terrific.
The Blu-ray contains the extras from the original DVD that includes an almost 90 minute making of documentary. Also included is a new feature, PHOTO TRONOLOGY where director Steve Lisberger and his son go to visit the Disney archives to look at the material that they have about the production. Steve tells his son stories about the making of the film. There is also a feature where the cast of the remake discusses the original.
One interesting fact in the extras, the average cell phone has more power than the computers used to create the FX for the original film.
TRON: LEGACY may not be quite as successful as the original. In theatres, in 3-D, I will go so far as to say that the 3-D effects were stronger than AVATAR in allowing the audience to feel a part of the TRON world. That is, even though it wasn’t used for dimensional effects, with nothing flying out at the audience. So, 2-D home viewing won't really lose anything.
The story, about Jeff Bridge’s son entering a computer to track him down, has its moments. But, it isn’t quite up to the original. While it looks great, it is a bit overlong and rather uninvolving. For fans of the original, it is well worth viewing.
The Blu-ray contains several new featurettes (most around ten minutes) about the making of the film along with a Daft Punk music video.
In addition to the films on Blu-ray, the set contains a copy of TRON: LEGACY on 3-D Blu-ray (that I wasn’t able to review), a copy of the sequel on standard DVD, and a disc of a digital file of the film.
Not included, unfortunately, is a copy of the original video game, still the greatest arcade game of all time.
TRON and TRON LEGACY will be available on Blu-ray and DVD on April 5, 2011 from Walt Disney Home Video.