Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on January 15th, 2002
I got quite a kick out of this film. It is great to see the creative minds of 20 years ago try to put a spin of the world of computers. I had forgotten the basis for this film, and watching it 20 years after it was released was really fun.
“When Flynn (Jeff Bridges) hacks the mainframe of his ex-employer to prove his work was stolen by another executive, he finds himself on a much bigger adventure. Beamed inside by a power-hungry Master Control Program, he joins comput…r gladiators on a deadly game grid, complete with high-velocity “Light Cycles” and Tron (Bruce Boxleitner), a specialized security program. Together they fight the ultimate battle with the MCP to decide the fate of both the electronic world and the real world!
The first film to venture forth inside the previously unexplored three-dimensional realm of computer imagery, Tron dazzles with revolutionary visual effects and mind-bending action sequences. Flynn (Jeff Bridges), a computer whiz who invents video games, finds himself at the mercy of the evil human forces who answer to The Master Control Panel – a powerfully corrupt computer presence that has beamed Flynn inside its deadly game grid. There, an electronic civilization thrives, and “Light Cycles” race at heart-stopping speeds. With the aid of his friends, Alan (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lora (Cindy Morgan), Flynn’s only hope is to activate Tron, the courageous and trustworthy counter-program, in a heroic battle to save humankind!”
This film has never sounded so good. This disc is equipped with a brand new 5.1 Dolby Digital audio mix, and it sounds very good. The front channels are very effective, the surrounds are used (albeit sparingly at times) nicely, and the soundstage is quite full. The voices all come across very clearly, and the sound effects are better then to be expected. All-in-all, I am very happy with the sound of this disc.
The commentary included on this DVD is absolutely fabulous. Sure, it is the same commentary that is included on the laserdisc, but it is still really good. This commentary, including Steven Lisberger, Donald Kushner, Harrison Ellenshaw, and Richard Taylor, really exhibits their passion towards the film, and give a great overview of the methods behind creating the film. If you enjoy commentary tracks, you will love this track.
The style of photography and graphics used to create the computer world in Tron is not very easy to effectively transfer onto video, mainly because of the sharp and bright lines caused by the laser style lighting. These colors, while fun to watch, are not very clearly reproduced in the world of DVD. The “real world” in the film is much easier on the eyes, but has, due to the age of the print, an aged look to it. Overall, considering that this print is 20 years old, the picture looks very good. The colors in the “real world” look natural, and the colors in the “computer world” look brilliant as ever. There is some damage to the print, but again, this DVD looks great on its 20th Anniversary.
The menus of Tron are really something special. Disney put a lot of care into creating these great menus, all of which contain theme oriented motion screens and all of which are scored. Both discs use the same menu structure, and there menus really help to create a wonderful feel for the disc.
As for special features, this disc is packed full of goodies, of which are split up between 8 separate pages. First up is The making Of Tron. This 90 minute documentary encapsulates tones of quality information about the film, and contains lots of interviews by the cast and crew. This documentary is a film in itself, and is a fascinating look at this great film. This is a great look back at this film, and is a great addition to this set.
Next up is the Deleted Scene section. This section includes three deleted scenes as well as an introduction featuring multiple interviews. Two of the scenes focus around a deleted love scene. The third is a deleted introduction to the film… setting the stage for the film with three lines of text. This section was set up very nicely, and is a great added benefit.
The six other sections are as follows: Development features a compellation of interviews and clips from the film, Digital Imagery features technical information about the creating of the film and a mix of interviews, Music contains alternate audio tracks for two scenes in the film, Publicity features trailers, production notes, and merchandising, Design is a compellation of image galleries, and lastly Storyboarding contains storyboards from the film (go figure).
This is a fabulous disc. Tron looks and sounds better then ever before, and the collection of special features is as complete as could ever be expected. This is a great groundbreaking film, which should be owned by everyone who enjoys movies in general.
Special Features List
- All-new extensive “The Making of Tron” documentary (88 mins.)
- Deleted scenes
- Production photo gallery including archival photos not presented in the laser disc edition
- Commentary by writer/director Steven Lisberger, producer Donald Kushner and visual effects supervisors Harrison Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor
- Storyboard-to-film Comparisons
- Extensive still frame galleries
- Pre-production animation tests
- Deleted original soundtrack music
- Inspirational designs by futuristic artists Syd Mead, Peter Lloyd and Jean “Moebius” Giraud
- Computer animation design and memo reels
- Original publicity materials & trailer