Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, July 24, 2009

"His name is Tron. He fights for the users."

Ah, at long last! This hit the San Diego Comic Con a year ago. This year, it was remastered in 3D and shown again, at a panel discussion on the making of this here film. Ladies and gentlemen, the long awaited sequel to Tron, entitled Tron Legacy.

My memory gets fuzzy going that far back, but Tron may very well be the first movie I ever saw. I was in the second grade. My school principal, Mr. Stelter, had this tradition where, once a year, he'd call an assembly, and in this assembly, we'd watch his favourite movie, The Apple Dumpling Gang. I forget why I missed that assembly in the first grade, but I was looking forward to it in the second grade. So when the day came, and the assembly was called, Mr. Stelter announced that he wasn't able to get The Apple Dumpling Gang that year, so instead, we'd be watching another Disney movie, Tron.

And it was good. For the rest of that summer, my BMX was a light cycle and frisbees were those Tron discs.

Rumors of some form of Tron sequel or remake have been circulating ever since I discovered the Internet and started using it to track down movie news. The earliest one had to be 1998 or so, when it was rumored that Pixar -- yes, the makers of Toy Story and Wall-E and this summer's smash hit Up -- would be doing a 100% computer animated remake of Tron. That story turned out to be 100% bullplop.

Disney finally got around to releasing a 2-disc super-special edition DVD in 2002, in time for the film's 20th anniversary. The disc featured extensive interviews with the writer/director/creator of Tron, Steven Lisberger, and Lisberger showed off some concept art for a project dubbed Tron 2.0. The DVD even had a teaser for something called Tron: Killer App. Would this be our long awaited Tron sequel?

Well, Tron 2.0 and Tron: Killer App turned out to be the PC game Tron 2.0. Positive reviews, but sluggish sales of the game kind of made Disney lose interest in pursuing a theatrical film.

A few rumors popped over the years. Around 2006 or so, the announcement was that Disney was pursuing a remake, done to be more contemporary and work in more contemporary computer concepts like the Internet. And then it just kind of faded away....

Until last year. Disney showed that above footage at the San Diego Comic Con last year as a special bonus at the end of their panel, and all hell broke loose. The Internet went ablaze with news that a Tron sequel was on the way.

Yeah, that above footage isn't a trailer, exactly. It's a test reel...a proof-of-concept...a thingie done by the filmmakers to show what a contemporary Tron would look like. It was directed by a veteran commercial director named Joseph Kosinski, who immediately announced as the director of this new Tron film. Jeff Bridges, star of the original Tron, was convinced to come back and reprise his character of Kevin Flynn, an ace computer program who gets sucked into a computer, has to do battle with a villainous A.I., and finds an ally in a computer program named Tron.

The sequel began filming in Vancouver back in April. In addition to Bridges coming back as Flynn, Bruce Boxleitner is back as Tron, and Tron's real-world counterpart, computer programmer Alan Bradley. New characters include Garret Hedlund as Flynn's son Sean, John Hurt as the new villain, and Olivia Wilde as a new program who helps our heroes.

As already mentioned, it's being directed by Joseph Kosinski. Steven Lisberger, the creator of the entire Tron universe, is on-board as a producer. Electronica artists Daft Punk are composing the music.

From what little I've gleamed, the plot is something like this. Based on his adventures in computer world, Kevin Flynn created some advancements in computers that made him a legend in the computer community. But then, he mysteriously disappeared in 1989. Now, 20 years later, Flynn's son Sean finds some new evidence as to what happened to his father. Sean embarks on a quest to find his father, that eventually leads him into the computer world....

It hits theatres next year. If it comes out late June/early July, I think I know what my birthday movie is going to be.

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