Though it’s a movie inspired by video games, it’s important that note that Tron is no mere video game movie. That’s an essential distinction to make, considering director Steve Lisberger was motivated into making the movie when he saw ancient arcade game
for the very first time.
Unlike the influx of movies based on video games that have seized our screens during the past decade (and beyond),
somehow manages to straddle the worlds of games and movies. And it does so without damaging the rep of either, standing as its own entity.
Super Mario Bros
should be weeping into the abysmal box office receipts right about now.
offers a dual experience – one that appeals to both gamers and filmers. With its trippy game logic and epic movie furnishings, it’s a film that unites both pastimes to thrilling effect. And that’s no mean feat.
You Are What You Wear
In a year that brought us great sci-fi in the form of
Blade Runner, E.T
got one up on its competitors in the fashion stakes.
Yeah, we’re talking about the lycra light suits. Sure,
had costume designer Michael Kaplan and his futuristic fashion range (see-through rain coats, Rachael’s severe shoulder pads), but the elegant simplicity of the
get up is what grabbed our attention back in 1982.
They’re sort of like adapted tobogganing outfits threaded with LED edges and funky impact-bearing helmets. Hell, they even got a
, which really means they’ve made it into pop culture.
without its light cycles? Well, try imagining Indiana Jones without his hat, or
without its lightsabers. Impossible, ain’t it?
Perhaps the coolest element in
is the inclusion of the light cycles. Bringing to life the same game principles as those found in
, the light cycles are futuristic vehicles designed by Syd Mead (working on
the same year he crafted
Why are they so cool? They’re the kind of fun, gamey hip that appeals directly to video game logic – the walls of light left in the vehicles’ wake causing all kinds of destruction. Crucially, we never feel we want to grab a joystick and change the outcome.
, computer animation in movies was practically unheard of. Lisberger and his crew soon put paid to that, using an unprecedented 15 minutes of CGI animated footage in the otherwise live action film.
To design the world of Tron, four computer graphic firms were hired by Disney, while French comic book artist Jean Giraud created many of the futuristic sets and costumes.
In total, 500 people were employed for the film’s post-production, which involved colouring black-and-white footage with the Tron hues. Two-hundred of that number were inkers and painters from Taiwan.
“Looking back at that first one it was such an advanced thing,” says Jeff Bridges. “I remember, correct me if I’m wrong, but it was shot in 70 mm, black and white, and we had black and white adhesive tape.
“That was basically our set. It was all hand tinted by Korean ladies. We were in Korea and it was hand tinted. Wasn’t it all? I don’t know how much CGI there was.”
Now, the influence of
’s work can be felt all the way from
Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
The Lawnmower Man
to any film forged using CGI images. And in this day and age, that's a lot.
Long before he became famous as The Dude, Jeff Bridges headed up
as charismatic software engineer Kevin Flynn.
His job was harder than it looked, though. Not only did Bridges have to leap around and wear a skin-tight suit, he had to find a way to root the outrageous Tron-set scenes in reality. It proved no problem for Bridges, though.
“What got me to say ‘yes’ to the first one was all that new innovation,” the actor remembers. “Also, Steve’s enthusiasm and how clearly he saw his vision. His enthusiasm was kind of contagious, I got it, and we went with it. It was a wonderful experience.”
What A Trip, Man
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas
is a brain fry for adults,
is the exact same thing for kids (big and small). A trippy, mind-bending collision of the real world and an imagined, miniature, computerised megabite world,
will make you feel like you’ve drunk too much coffee while standing on your head smoking something you found in your older brother’s bottom drawer.
Never is that more apparent than in the final showdown, in which Flynn attempts to destroy the giant MCP – a conical, funnelling red light with eyes.
And if that didn’t do it for you, all the talk of MCPs, Ram and “deresolution” should have you scratching your noggin.
The best thing about
? It ain't over yet! This December we’re going to get to experience the same thrill and excitement all over again with
Early trailers have got us frothing at the mouth, with the world of Tron updated for our modern times with some absolutely top notch CGI, while the return of Bridges and director Lisberger (as producer) means this very much belated sequel should pack some punch.
“I was so happy to know that Steve, the source of the material, was still involved,” says Bridges. “That was a big plus. Having met [
] Joe and seeing all his talent, and how he could really pull this thing off. I knew that it would have to be more than the first
Bridges knows where the real challenges lie, though, and it’s not with an army of CGI programmers. “That was the big special effect, as far as I was concerned, getting that story right,” he says. “We worked on it and I think we came up with it. It’s interesting with these huge budget movies. You would think that the script would be all in order.
“My experience is that it’s not that way. It’s almost like a very expensive student film in a way. ‘Let’s figure it out! Come on! How do we do this? I got to do this tomorrow!’ It’s very fresh, almost like making an independent film in a funny sort of way.” Can’t. Wait.