Last night, we watched a collection of new Tron Legacy clips, which showcased Daft Punk's cameo and disc wars — but most importantly, the drama between programs and humans. Can the new Tron's characters compete with its bright neon visuals?
Let's get one thing straight before we continue — Tron Legacy is sexy as hell. The visuals alone make me want to have this movie's baby. From the music, costumes, use of 3D and light-jets, down to the digitized program voices, everything is extremely well done. Plus last night I finally got to see Daft Punk's brief cameo with albino DJ program (played by Michael Sheen). And yes, the Daft Punk score, from what I heard, was amazing.
Another slick CG-heavy scene finally showed THE GAMES. A bumbling Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), still not 100% sure what to do inside his long-lost father's grid, is thrown into a futuristic thunderdome and forced to fight a disc champion. Here's a piece of concept art that perfectly shows how the games are sectioned off into clear floating boxes so the crowd can watch the carnage.
We already know that if a program loses a disc match, it gets shattered into thousands of derezzed bits. But in this go-round, the games have truly upped the stakes, the whole battle seemed much more primal, which is funny as it's an upgraded version.
But the meat of these clips was all about digital matters of the heart. Producer Sean Bailey was on hand to explain the two underlying emotional messages Tron Legacy was trying to portray. The most obvious being a story about a father and a son, and to try and explain, "What is it to maintain human connections in an increasingly digital world." The rest of the evening's clips all showcased the heart of Tron Legacy.
First up was an extended clip of Sam and original Tron character Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner yay!) sparring in Sam's waterfront loft. This is the moment, from the trailer, were Bradley tells Sam that he received a page from his fathers old arcade, from a number that's been disconnected for 20 years. It's the first time we get to see the damage that occurred to Sam after his father disappeared.
Sam drives over to his Dad's old arcade and flips on the power. And just like that, the whole place springs to life as if it had been sitting there just waiting for him. Jolted from their slumber the tarp-wrapped arcade games cast an eerie light over the entire place. Oh, and the sound system is just blasting Journey's "Separate Ways." That's right — the second Sam hits power, it's Journey time, which is awesome for a variety of reasons, besides the fact that you can NEVER have too much arena rock in your movie. Sam starts wandering the halls while Journey is SCREAMING, "world's apart... hearts broken in two." Get it? And you know what? I don't care if it's cheesy — it's a great freaking song choice, and also a nice nod to the original, just listen:
While Journey continues to narrate the inner drama going on in Sam's mind, little Flynn discovers his father's secret underground office with the devious digitizing laser hidden behind the Tron arcade game. And well, you know the rest.
The final scene, and possibly the most dramatic of them all, showed Sam Flynn finally coming face-to-face with his real father, an aged Jeff Bridges. Without spoiling all the details, let's just say elderly Flynn has changed, fairly dramatically. Perhaps the years of being trapped in the formerly sterile universe inside the grid has transformed him? It was slightly off-putting, but this is most likely exactly what Bailey meant by trying to maintain human connections in the digital verse.
While the reason behind old Flynn' transformation is still a mystery, one thing I do know is that I'm exceptionally thankful for Bridges' presence on this set. This is the first time that I've seen a dialog-heavy scene from Tron Legacy, and it definitely slows down when compared with the games. That being said, Bridges manages to keep the excitement and tension going — hopefully the rest of the cast will be able to keep up with the Tron veteran. But we won't know until we see more. Until then we remain vigorously impressed by the look and sound of the new film. I even noticed a strange filter that appears from time-to-time while in the grid that is reminiscent to the flickering of a 1980s computer screen.
We were shown a few additional scenes (including one where Sam gets his identity disc) which were also screened at San Diego Comic Con, which Lauren Davis expertly recapped.