The 1982 film “Tron” was not a major commercial success, but it became a pivot point in Hollywood history as the first feature film to use computer-generated animation in a big way. The movie holds a special (and quirky) spot in pop culture history, and there are passionate fans of its legacy. One of them is Jay West, who has written a series of guest columns on Disney’s elaborate promotions for the sequel, “Tron: Legacy,” which is due out Dec. 17. “Tron Night” is coming, and Jay is on top of it.
As part of the ramping marketing for “Tron: Legacy,” a preview “Tron Night” was held at select IMAX theatres and Digital 3-D theatres. I attended “Tron Night” at the Universal City IMAX and the vibe from the audience while queued up was one of bottled excitement. Some wore “Tron” T-shirts and caps and others came in Daft Punk tour t-shirts (the French music duo created the score for the“Tron” sequel and have cited the original 1982 “Tron” movie as a major creative influence). Disney passed out complimentary glow necklaces and “Tron: Legacy” posters — and a curvy model decked out as a “siren program” dsitributed “Tron” swag like light-up caps and some die-cast vehicles.
Steven Lisberger — the writer and director of the original “Tron” movie, and a writer and producer on “Tron: Legacy” — was on hand to introduce the footage. Lisberger jovially addressed the audience by saying: “Well it’s great to see all this neon… you guys look amazing.” Lisberger said 1982 audiences weren’t ready for many aspects of “Tron”: “Parents had never been to a Disney movie where they couldn’t understand the story. It left 10-year-olds saying, ‘If parents don’t get it then this is for me!’” and added: “I thought the movie would be a revolution, but people don’t change that quickly. People leave the theatre and go on about their lives. It takes a generation to really make change happen.”
I’ve put together a video report on the event that includes an excerpt of Lisberger’s introduction and a brief interview with him after the screening, as well as reaction to the preview footage by some of the attendees. A couple of scenes from the movie that were shown are also included: When Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) first meets Quorra (Olivia Wilde), and when Sam is reunited with his father, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). There’s also a video for Daft Punk’s “Derezzed” track — which includes a montage of imagery from the movie. Thanks to Hero Complex for a chance to be a guest “fan correspondent” and share this “Tron” moment.
— Jay West
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