People forget just how groundbreaking Tron was in its day. We all think about the Matrix as that seminal turning point in computer-driven cinema (well, a lot of people do, at least) but Tron was pivotal in adopting the use of computers into the process of filmmaking. In fact, the movie was snubbed at the Oscars the following year because it was deemed as “cheating” by the Academy, as the special effects were predominantly CG. Of course, that became de rigueur almost immediately thereafter, sending the entire movie industry into a tailspin, the likes of which it has never fully recovered from. If you think I’m over-exaggerating, think about the last time you saw an explosion that wasn’t created on a computer. You can probably count on one hand how many of those there were in the last decade or so.
For me, it’s a touchstone back to my childhood. My well-worn VHS copy of Tron still sits in a Rubbermaid container, sealed away from my musty garage. I think I need to break it out and watch that copy, if only for the great trailers for other more “mature” Disney fare, like The Watcher in the Woods. I have the soundtrack, on both CD and vinyl, as well as memorabilia from both the US and Japanese release of the movie. Legacy looks so good I pee a little every time I watch the trailer. My only hope is that they don’t completely decimate the magic that made the first movie so special to a nerdy kid like me who was obsessed with anything tech-related in favor of eye candy. It’s not Citizen Kane, but Tron has its charms.
Tron was ahead of its time. Murderous, rogue, self-aware AI on a rampage, human-computer fusion, WWII allegories (ok, it’s a stretch, but you can see it) – all present in the story. At its center, a struggle, not against technology – but against restriction of technology through the censoring of thoughts and ideas. As goofy as people might think this movie is, it was prescient then, and it’s still valid now. For me, it’s a wonderful piece of my childhood of which I never tire.
I heard that the crew from Tron Legacy is getting poked to have a go at The Black Hole, another one of my childhood sci-fi gems. That movie (specifically Maximillian) scared the crap out of me. Silly by today’s standards, as a kid, that death-dealing red robot and those empty-faced things were creepy as hell. Here’s hoping that both Tron Legacy – and the possible Black Hole reboot – are purely awesome.