The potential of the original “TRON” may not have been readily seen during its time, but after almost three decades, it has definitely aged well. Its cult following and the many movies influenced by it have truly expanded its reach through the years.
As cinema’s pioneer computer animation offer that extensively used the then very young technology, “TRON” was way ahead of its time.
Conceptually, the dazzling sci-fi original exudes a very promising future in the world of the Internet, PSP, and 3D movies. Although the 1982 “TRON” was considerably greeted with incomprehension from a number of critics and the general audience during its release, it is now undeniable how closer its elements have become in this age of cyberspace, information technology, and stereoscopic 3D.
The sequel makes another attempt to showcase a leveled up visual effects now in 3D glory, while keeping the same basic plot about a digital realm inhabited by programs and users.
My age didn’t allow me to experience “TRON” the way I had my share of in-theater experience for “TRON: Legacy.” But it’s worthwhile to mention one comment in my “TRON: Legacy” movie review with a reader saying: “I saw the original when I was young. I don’t remember the story, it was like a dream and the most unusual movie I had ever seen.”
The most I can do is watch the original on video format. Yet interestingly, this doesn’t make it less impressive in my eyes. As a film professional myself, seeing such visuals for a 1980s movie renders it as such an amazing, groundbreaking piece of motion picture work. In fact, in its very essence, it doesn’t really fall short when placed side by side the new “TRON: Legacy,” which we all know, is 28 years ahead in terms of its available technological resources for production work.
“TRON: Legacy” plays with light and animation the way “TRON” does. Both exude that image of a pioneering technological standard for their own times.
For the original film, the costumes, sets, and props look amazing in such a timeless fashion. It may be technically inferior to the film technology offered now, but it’s not a merely dispensable work without its own aged appeal. It’s like comparing the experience of having to play “Pacman” in an old arcade with any game in Wii. There is something classic and definitely fun and special with the old game, amidst the fact that the more high-tech offers from the latest gadgets give something fun and dynamic for our more modern lifestyle.
For the sequel, its 3D offer is quite breathtaking like its predecessor. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner reprise their roles from the original movie and the Grid and light cycles get new modernized looks. The movie’s 2D version is nothing less than visually exciting as well. However, it seems to fall into the same pit as the original during its release: it’s nothing more than a visually empowered sci-fi actioner lacking emotional investment and value-laden characterization to make it a cinematic opus. This is not to say that the first “TRON” remained in the shadows of its mere visual grandeur as it now serves as something beyond being a cult favorite. Considering such point, perhaps, the follow-up “TRON: Legacy” can have its own time in the future to uphold something more than being our generation’s mere audio-visual candy. Yet personally, after my own contemplating, I don’t think that “TRON: Legacy” would evolve into a classic the way “TRON” has become. It may have its share of movie feat, but it wouldn’t be as groundbreaking as the original.