At the Con: San Diego Comic Con with Tron: Legacy

Comic Con. What an experience! Some go for the gaming, some for the cosplay, some for the comics, but I go for the tv and movie panels. For me this year, the most anticipated movie panel was for Tron: Legacy.

It was great starting the Con in the legendary Hall H, the largest venue at SDCC. The first panel (to my mind, the warm-up act I) was for the animated Megamind, and appearing on its behalf were Will Farrell, Tina Fey, and a cardboard cutout of Brad Pitt. The panel was fun and the clips gave us a chance to try out our True 3D glasses, which worked really well even though my seat was not the best. Good to know if you find yourself in a crowded 3D theater.

Next up, though, was what I had been waiting for . . . Tron: Legacy. The panel was moderated by Patton Oswalt, who was entertaining, and whose comment, “it’s been 27 years since the 1st Tron. Those who saw it in the theatre raise your walkers” has now been forgiven.

If you are concerned that TRON: Legacy is a remake, be at ease. It is, in fact, a sequel – a what-happens-next, although “next” is a few decades later. The inclusion of Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner should assuage any fears you may have. If, on the other hand, you never saw the original, get thee to Netflix immediately. TRON is a classic, made in the early days of video games and personal computers. It is interesting to note that, in spite of appearances, no computer animation was used in the making of that film; all animation was hand-drawn, including the “light” on the skinsuits.

The panel was comprised of Director, Joe Kosinski; Producers, Sean Bailey and Steven Lisberger (from the original TRON); and cast members Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, and Bruce Boxleitner.

One of the most interesting bits of info released was that this sequel will include the Jeff Bridges of today interacting with footage of Jeff Bridges at 35. Included in the new promotional clip, which premiered during the panel, was a brief moment with the 35-year-old Bridges, and it appears that in order to make the production appear seamless, they’ve superimposed footage of his face (from earlier footage) onto an actor in the current production. It will “be interesting to see how well this works in longer clips. As with all things TRON: Legacy, I’m hopeful.

Unlike the original, computer animation abounds in this sequel. Although, interestingly enough, the lights in the skinsuits are actually lights, not hand-animated or computer-generated. The look of the movie is, of course, nicely “tech-y.”  The use of True 3D really did add to the experience by drawing you into the environment. So, I would recommend seeing the film in that venue, if possible, or even better, in a newer IMAX theater.

One of the best question-and-answer exchanges of the panel was from a fan to Olivia Wilde (whose character’s motivations are as she says, “ambiguous”). She was asked by an apparently adolescent fanboy if working on a movie about video games made her more interested in video game players. Roars of laughter and cheers. But she replied with an enthusiastic “Yes!” and explained that she really had not played video games in years . . . not since Duck Hunt; but had started playing them again because of the movie and has become a big fan of the games and of the players. She went on to say that she loves Comic Con because the fans are knowledgeable, enthusiastic, and intelligent. She is wise.

The last bit of news is that they are in discussions about re-releasing the original Tron in an “exciting new format.” Any guesses? No further info was available, but hopefully things will be nailed down shortly, to give everyone a chance to see that very excellent movie before the sequel is released.

The panel and the fans were equally excited about the new film, and I cannot wait. Mark your calendars for the US premiere on December 17.

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