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Tron (20th Anniversary Disc)
Tron (Soundtrack)

Tron Tron (20th Anniversary Edition) Review

Directed By: Steven Lisberger.
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes.

Synopsis: (Click here for the full DVD review). A video game designer trying to prove a big time executive stole his idea is sucked into a corporation's mainframe where programs are personified counterparts of their writers and "users" are subjects of religious faith. A well-crafted and scripted metaphor, "Tron" benefits from breakthrough computer graphic animation. Academy Award Nominations: Best Sound, Best Costume Design. Interesting sidenote: They were considered ineligible for a Best Visual Effects nomination as they used computers to do the work and that was considered 'cheating'.

Tron is a film that either works for you or doesn't and when it first came out it received a lot of baking by the critics because it was simply ahead of its time. Now the jargon in the film has become so common place it is interesting to take a look back at this film and see a unique film that still has a look that has never been attempted again. Sure, we have flicks like The Matrix taking the concepts way further than Tron ever did, but at least Tron, which is often considered a 'video game' movie was not like other 'video game' mistakes like Super Mario Bros.

For all of its leap forwards in look and concept, Tron does have its flaws. It has some weak pacing, a storyline that becomes a little heavy handed and a touch boring here and there.

As for the acting, Jeff Bridges is a personality actor. Every character he plays immediately grabs your eyes and draws them to him. Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan get the vicious task of playing alongside Bridges and having to guide him through the story with little of the glory. The fact that they can get through their scenes while wearing their skin tight 'program' outfits at all while saying some of the dialogue that was light years ahead of their time says a lot for the players as well. (The actors admit within the 'Making of Tron' that half the time they didn't understand what they were saying)

I have always ranked Tron a solid 3 out of 5 though for sheer audacity of the time, for it's unique look, for the work put into it, for the memorable (albeit sometimes annoying) electronic score. Believe me when you see how this whole film has been constructed (see the DVD review below) it will be impossible to deny some admiration for the technical aspects of the film. It's just sad that the story doesn't always convey the excitement to the audience.

Copyright© Written By: Rob Paul

DVD Information:

Special Features:

"The Making of Tron" - All New, Extensive Documentary, Including New Interviews
Deleted Scenes with All-New Introductions by Bruce Boxleitner
Production Photo Gallery - All-Encompassing Gallery, Including Never-Before-Seen Photos
Audio Commentary with Steven Lisberger, Donald Kushner, Harrison Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor
3-D Animated Menus that Put You in the World of Tron
Storyboards Showcasing Early Work on Light Cycles
Storyboard-To-Film Comparisons

Video: Widescreen 2.20:1 (Anamorphic)

Audio: ENGLISH: Dolby Digital 5.1 [CC]


The DVD Review:


Obviously you get the movie Tron here. Not much point buying a disc without the film itself. The film has been cleaned up and restored so that while it still looks dated by today's standard the look of the film is bright and original, unique and still worth a look back ...this is history here folks, a great look back into the mind of 1982 as it looks forward to the future.

Also included on the main disc is the audio commentary with Donald Kushner, Harrison Ellenshaw, Richard Taylor and writer/director Steven Lisberger.

Audio Commentary: A solid outing here. They discuss the making of the film in-depth as well as some great anecdotal moments within the production including a story about Peter O'Toole and how he wanted to land the role of Tron himself though Lisberger wanted him for the evil role of Dillinger. This a great example of professionals discussing a flick in its details without the annoying overlap of interruptions and contradictions.


EARLY DEVELOPMENT: Includes a whole range of material. Interviews with the writer/director Steve Lisberger gives you a quick intro into how the project came into Disney's hands as well a lot of early animation material
Early Lisberger Studio Animation: Just perusing this old footage shows you how for even Tron they really had to push the envelope at the time.

Early Concept Art: The first two pages of art remind one of more traditional cel animation while the last two really start to get the look of the movie as we know it now. Also interesting are some of the early human drawing which bear some striking resemblances to Luke Skywalker decked out in his Rebel Alliance fighter outfit from Star Wars.

Early Test Reel: a thirty second reel used to prove to Disney that the material could be pulled off in the fashion it was being touted.


Material covered here: Backlight Animation, Digital Imagery in Tron (covered by Richard Taylor - Visual Effects specialist), Beyond Tron, Role of Triple-I, and Triple-I Demo. This section, covers in some pretty solid detail the early computer animating companies and how many were involved in this huge undertaking. The developing of new techniques and having all the companies involved agreeing on the 3-D principles being explored. Some real heavy duty history here that isn't as widely known as one might expect with some interesting looks at early reels by Magi and Triple-1 Computer Animating companies.


A couple of selections here where composer Wendy Carlo's (sometimes annoying sometimes hauntingly familiar) score was deleted from the final cuts of the film. We get to see what the Lightcycle sequence would have been like with the original score along with the End Credits. The first half still exists in the final cut but the latter half was replaced by Journey's song 'Only Solutions'.


This is the highlight of the Special Features disc. Running almost an hour and a half the documentary is broken up into three segments, the history of Steve Lisberger, the production and truly in-depth detail on the specifics of making the movie and then a third, almost too-short segment on the marketing and success/expectations of Tron in the theatre. There's some heavy duty jargon and ideas being tossed around here quite quickly so it helps that they throw in some more anecdotal moments with the cast throughout to break up the bits and keep one watching.


An interesting Intoduction scene that details why the Tron and Lori love scenes were cut from the film. They are nice looking little scenes but one can imagine what these two pieces would have done to a film that is already suffering from a lagging pace at this point in time...the second half of the scene (a 'morning after' sequence) is missing the dialogue. Also included is a deleted prologue sequence that you may have seen on the home video version. It was originally intended to give a better lead-in to the flick and worded in such a fashion that it isn't cheesy...not necessary but not foolish either.

...and in summation:

All in all from the tech side to the history side that is encompassed by this disc, the 20th Anniversary edition deserves a 4 out of 5 for being a pretty complete package. I'm not taking points off for the following, just thought I would mention, I prefer the poster work (see above picture) rather than the new ediition cover which is mainly a black cover with Tron holding his frisbee aloft. But maybe that's just me.

Evil Ash

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