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Tron: 20th Anniversary Collector`s Edition (US) (DVD Details)

Unique ID Code: 0000032018
Added by: Anil Khedun
Added on: 8/8/2002 02:17
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    Review of Tron: 20th Anniversary Collector`s Edition

    8 / 10


    Jeff Bridges as the floppy haired gamer Flynn was the epitome of cool. He had his own arcade, and played games, I mean, what more would you need? He`s also a dis-gruntled Encom ex-programmer. His ex-supervisor at Encom, Dillinger (David Warner) stole his games and took the credit, particularly for "Space Paranoids" which is raking in the cash, he then gets promoted to Vice President. Flynn needs the proof, and he`s sure it`s in Encom`s computer. His medaling hacking sessions don`t go unnoticed however by the Encom computer, MCP (Master Control Program), and he causes the system to beef up network security.

    This has the knock on effect of stopping Alan (Bruce Boxleitner) from working and when he complains to Dillinger, he gets blown off. This frustration leads him to seek out his girlfriend Lora (Cindy Morgan) down in the laser basement and she mentions that Flynn might know something about this. Alan doesn`t quite get on with Flynn since this is Lora`s ex-boyfriend. But they go see him at the arcade and tell him what`s been happening.

    Flynn says he can forge a group six access, which might be just enough to get Alan into the system, and for Flynn to find the proof he needs about his games. Off they go, in the middle of the night to Encom and sure enough, Flynn gets access to the system. The MCP is aware of his presence and decides to finally do something about this pest. He uses a laser to transport Flynn inside the computer, and onto the game grid. Now Flynn has to survive deadly games and stop the domineering MCP. The MCP uses Sark (Warner) as his enforcer, something which David Warner seems to play all too well.

    Flynn meets "Tron" (Boxleitner), a security program who aims to put an end to MCP`s interference. Together with another program, "RAM", they break out of the game grid and make their way to the MCP, to try and find a chink in its armour and eventually create a free and open computer system again.


    Tron is presented with a 2.20:1 anamorphic transfer which is the correct aspect for a film shot on 65mm film. At long last I can see this film in its proper form and I`m not disappointed. Colours are bright and vibrant with surprisingly good levels of detail coming through. Watching the purely CGI scenes it`s amazing to see how well preserved the film looks, almost like it was rendered recently. Admittedly, seeing how primitive the effects were 20 years ago, it doesn`t seem to have aged much at all. There`s a lot of stuff in there, like the backlighting of the circuits on the suits which isn`t stuff you tend to see nowadays, so who`s to say it`s passé? The clearly visible matt lines around the actors too actually play in the films favour and just add a touch of make believe.

    There are some signs of dirt and grain, but this isn`t a problem and is more to do with the filmmaking process than with the DVD encoding. Otherwise, Tron has never looked so good!


    This features a newly created DD5.1 soundmix. It`s not a bad soundtrack, but it`s not the best out there, especially for this film. The dialogue is firmly locked to the centre, and all the other sound/effects/music seem to spread themselves spatially across the front three very well. There`s no direct use of the rears, but they do seem to come to life when there`s a lot of action on screen, particularly with the rumblings of the tanks. There`s life too in the .1 LFE channel!


    Tron was originally released as a bare bones disc back in 1998 so this new version is very welcome. Presented in a double Amaray style box, the first striking thing about the set are the discs themselves. Lovely high resolution artwork printed on the discs containing a slew of extras, and it`s mind boggling to list every single feature! The animated 3D menus are really well done. The new CGI work blends seamlessly and adds an air of anticipation. It looks good and we haven`t even begun to watch any of the film at this stage!

    Disc one has audio commentary taken from the laserdisc, featuring director Steven Lisberger, producer Donald Kushner, visual effects supervisor Harrison Ellenshaw and computer effects supervisor Richard Taylor. It`s quite a technical track and covers a lot of detail, some of which is on the "Making Of", but it`s nonetheless interesting to listen to as they put in some anecdotes too. There are also two trailers here, one for Atlantis and the other, Return to Neverland.

    Disc two is chock full of goodies that I`m sure would keep most if not all Tron fanatics happy. It`s broken down into eight sections: Development, Digital Imagery, Music, Storyboarding, Design, Deleted Scenes, Publicity and Making Of.

    Development: This section covers early development animation, early concept art, video tests and `Computer Are People Too`. Here you`ll find dozens upon dozens of early concept art with short video clips too. It`s interesting to see where the ideas sprang to life from, even if some of this stuff is already covered in the Making Of.

    Digital Imagery: "Backlight Animation", "Digital Imagery in Tron", "Beyond Tron", "Role of Triple I" and "Triple I demo". Here we get a look at Magi SynthaVision and Triple I, the two companies responsible for most of the CGI in the film. Finally, we get to see how some of the effects were created for the lights on actors` suit. It all sounds like a complex affair and one that worked surprisingly well. Again these are interesting clips to watch and really hark back to the good old 80s!

    Music: Wendy Carlos scored the music and here are two scenes where her music was cut from the film. The first is during the first lightcycle scene and the second is during the end credits where we switch to a rock tune by Journey. There`s nothing here from Wendy herself which is a shame, but we do get the lightcycle scene to her music and it makes quite a difference to the way it plays out. Then of course there are the end credits to her music here as well.

    Storyboarding: Storyboarding Process is a nice short segment showing one scene using cards to visualise the shot. Moebius` Misc Storyboarding Artwork, Creation of Tron Main Title - Moebius Storyboards and Early Storyboard Artwork contain around 100 stills and are well worth a look. Lastly here the Storyboard Comparison is a multi-angle feature so you can see the lightcycle scene against a split screen of the storyboard, on it`s own, or just the storyboard itself.

    Design: This section contains literally hundreds of pieces of concept art for Flynn, Yori, Sark, Tron, Dumont, MCP, the Bit, Guards, Video Warriors and Misc. Not to mention artwork for the vehicles such as lightcycle and tanks. Then there`s the look of the electronic world itself consisting of the game grid, power cave, Yori`s apartment and more. This will take an absolute age to get through, but I can tell you this, if you like looking at concept artwork, you`re in for a treat with a lot of Syd Mead and Moebius` stuff here.

    Deleted Scenes: This covers three deleted scenes with an introduction from Bruce Boxleitner. There are two love scenes between Tron and Yori, and one opening prologue. The love scenes are interesting but gladly aren`t in the film. The tone would have been a little different if it has been left in. Then there`s the opening prologue (an unused introduction piece) which is simply onscreen text, before the film starts proper, attempting to explain away some of the confusion for the audience explaining the difference between the real world and the electronic one.

    Publicity: 6 Trailers, Production Photos and Publicity & Merchandise. There are no less than 86 production photos here, and it`s all good to see. Stuff on set, behind camera, on stage et cetera. The trailers and other bits are pretty much standard pieces.

    Making Of: The jewel in the crown here is the 88 minute documentary, Making Of. This is an entertaining look at the complete process of the film with the cast and crew (as well as the Tron inspired John Lasseter of PIXAR) from the origins of the film to production to creating the effects and the various hurdles that had to be overcome to get the film made. It`s a fascinating insight and well worth watching.

    It`s a shame there`s nothing more than a flimsy leaflet inside for chapter breaks. It would have been nice to have a re-production of any of the original Tron articles of the day, I`d love to see what was said and how things were marketed for the film back then. As it is though, there are a lot of features here and I`m thankful that Tron finally got this re-release. A huge 10 for the sheer amount of stuff and the way it`s assembled!

    Before I forget, there are English, French and Spanish subtitles.


    Who can forget the awesome lightcycles?! Man, they were rad! Moving with speed and deadly precision, we used to run around the playground at break time trying to outrun anyone or anything while making the `whooosh` sound affects. Ah, Tron. A classic film if only for what it spawned afterwards.

    As you can tell, Tron was a big deal to me as a mere 10 year old, the advanced look of the graphics was the jaw dropping selling point and I knew that I just had to see it, buy into it, pour over articles on how the effects were created and wonder if I could ever save up enough money to buy a computer that did all that `neat stuff`.

    There were lots of things that I never understood watching the film back then, things that thankfully made themselves more apparent as I got older. It was mainly the terminology that whizzed over my pre-teen head. My old pan&scan VHS tape was all I had and I`d watch it over and over again not understanding stuff, but knowing that it looked good. The news of the new 2-disc DVD had me salivating with anticipation. Widescreen (hurrah)! High resolution (hurrah)! Same story that confused me when I was younger (hmm...). Cor, what would it be like? I`m 30 now, so would it still have the same impact on me now as it did 20 years ago?

    It was quite a departure and a risk for Disney to get involved in the first place with a project like Tron. No one had done anything on this scale, and Disney wasn`t exactly a studio leading actors wanted to work for. Nevertheless, the film was written and directed by first time director Steven Lisberger and he did an admirable job. Visually interesting, Tron broke new ground and helped inspire and invigorate a wealth of talented people.

    The storytelling is somewhat on the thin side, it`s the old `good versus evil routine` type quest and on the way to sorting out the bad guys, put a few obstacles in the way of our intrepid heroes and include a woman too, just to makes things a little more interesting. Nothing complicated.

    The cast do a good job of playing up and making it all the more interesting. Even though a lot of the stuff they had to do was against a black screen, they still managed a fun and lively performance, just right for the film. Using David Warner as the bad guy, Sark, was a good choice though he seems to be typecast for good now .

    Does the film have the same impact? Some of it has worn off, but not enough to stop me from purchasing this pristine 2-disc set. Surprisingly it hasn`t aged too badly, and if you like stuff like War Games and other iconic 80s movies, then I`m pretty sure you`ll like this computer graphic fest too. Tron is entertaining and something no kid growing up in the 80s is to be without. It`s still a fun movie to watch, and with the addition of the new extras created here, Disney have produced another must have DVD. Well worth having! Now, what colour lightcycle shall I be...

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