Friday, July 9, 2010

Cinemanniversaries: TRON

Posted By on July 9, 2010, 10:56 AM

On this date in 1982, the world of movie-making changed forever. We just didn't know it yet. ---

Even at the time of its release, it was clear to everyone that Disney's Tron was doing something brand-new. The story -- about a computer programmer named Flynn (Jeff Bridges) transported inside the world of a video game -- was fairly ho-hum stuff, it's true. But no one had quite envisioned the potential for incorporating computer-generated graphics into a feature film before animator Steven Lisberger started exploring the possibility. The world he came up with brought some of the world's great design visionaries -- including Jean "Moebius" Giraud and designer Syd Mead (Blade Runner) -- together with programmers, and the result was a completely singular visual experience. Even if you didn't care what ultimately happened to Flynn, the light-cycle races and disc-throwing competitions were nifty stuff.

Tron was a moderate financial success upon its release, enough so that the video games it inspired became 1980s staples. But did anyone see the trail it blazed as the one that would come to define event filmmaking over the last 20 years, from Pixar to X-Men? The highly-anticipated sequel Tron: Legacy -- due this fall -- offers the chance to see if the ground-breakers still have anything new to show a movie audience that now thinks it has seen it all.

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