I won’t give you a shot-by-shot rundown (and I’ll review the TRON Night event itself at the end…let’s face it you want to know about the footage first anyway), but I will say this first and foremost. Awesome! Simply amazing. By far, these were some of the best visuals I’ve seen in a film. Like I said though, I won’t go into every single scene, but take a look at different elements. Oh and for those wondering, it wasn’t a straight 23 minutes of the movie (like most thought). Instead it was multiple scenes they put together to showcase different aspects of the film. Anyway, onto the review!
Gorgeous doesn’t begin to describe how well this film is looking. I’ve never seen such attention to detail on a film outside of Avatar. Visually, I think it stands up right next to it. When they’re ‘on the grid’ there are so many little things going on all over the screen that add to the overall feel of the movie. During the Disc War scene we were shown (which was so cool!) it seems like there were a million things going on. From the crowd to their suits, the discs themselves, the jumbo-tron type screen playing in the background, the floor as it gets derezzed, and even subtle pings of the disc bouncing off the walls. All these things were happening at the same time, in a very short scene. Far from detracting from anything, it only served to immerse us more into that world.
There were so many ways they could have cheaped out on the effects, but they didn’t. In that same Disc War scene, as they were battling it out, tiles of the floor are being constantly derezzed (which is deleted). So there’s this great digitization looking effect they use to pull it off as the floor crashes away. The thing the impressed me here though, was as a piece of the floor was shattered the attention was still on their fight. If you look past what they’re doing though, you’ll see in the background the little pieces of shattered floor falling away in the distance and each shard derezzing. It’s a detail that’s not even necessary because the main focus is elsewhere, but they put it in and it made the world that much more real.
The light cycles were cool looking, but we’ve seen those in the previews. The scene where Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is revealed to his son was interesting on the visuals as well, but in a far more subtle way. As they come into the scene, Flynn is meditating. All around him this aura (for lack of a better word) is floating up around him in little white lines, reminiscent of The Matrix code, going into the ceiling. When Quorra (Olivia Wilde) comes to talk to him, you can see the aura increase and become slightly more rapid. It’s a subtle move, but since Flynn himself doesn’t move a muscle it gives off the feeling that he perked up to listen as she approached. Then as he realizes that someone else is in the room we see the aura slow, and as he break himself fully from the meditation, disappear.
Subtle things like that, which help drive the emotion and characters of the story, can be even more impressive than the over the top visuals. It means they’re taking their time with it and not throwing in anything just to look cool. Every visual in this film has a clear cut purpose, whether it’s subtle or not. Oh, and the new Light-Jets…WOW!
Since this is part of the visuals let’s talk about the 3D next. You know I’m not big on the 3D craze. I still feel it’s too gimmicky. That being said, this was some of the best use of 3D I’ve seen. I’ll admit, I don’t watch that many 3D movies (I’ve seen plenty though), but these are better than any I’ve seen previously. It wasn’t so much in the over-the-top kind of way. It was how well they put it use. Again I find myself thinking of the word subtle.
Everything just seemed to…pop. The colors were a little more vibrant and the CG stuff just a little more textured. But those things aren’t what set it apart. It was the small things, like Sam Flynn looking confused through a window where digital numbers came up (think like an HUD screen) in front of him. The 3D gave those elements a greater sense of depth, and you felt like you were trapped right there with him.
So far I’m impressed with the 3D in a way I haven’t been before.
I bring this up last, because by far, this is what impressed me the most. Honestly, in a movie with absolutely stunning visuals, I could not stop marveling at the sound. TRON Legacy has some of the best sound design I’ve heard in a very long time. Every noise is thought out carefully and just feels natural. That and they spent a serious amount of time tweaking it. It’s not enough that the spinning Discs made an appropriate noise as it hit the wall and then faded away. No, that’s not enough. Instead what the sound designers did was have it make that initial noise, and then fade in, or out, depending on where the camera decided to go next. Oh, and if one of the characters moved, that noise would adjust as if you yourself had stepped away from it.
As the scene progresses you have all of these tiny sounds going on, that are constantly changing with the action and actors on screen. Much like things do in real life. It adds an extra layer of ambiance, that even more than the 3D, makes you feel like you are in the middle of this world with the characters. Even in the scenes they showed before Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) gets sucked into the grid featured great sound design. From the train near Sam’s ‘apartment’ to the noises at the arcade, it was all incredibly well designed.
Of course the musical score itself is very impressive and I found myself most times not even thinking of it. I mean that in a good way though. It blended in so well with the on screen action, that it seemed like another element of the world itself, rather than a soundtrack.
Amazing. It’s the little details from all aspects of this film that are making it so incredible. The filmmakers attention to detail on everything makes a huge difference and is a big reason why it’s so visually powerful. Nothing was shortchanged on this film and that’s what is going to set it apart and reset the bar for Sci-Fi films to come. The only thing left to be mentioned is the story. Problem is the footage we were shown didn’t really cover much of the story of the movie. Truly you’ll probably get more info on the story by watching the trailers. But even without that, the characters seemed solid, and looks to be a treat when it finally releases.
I left early from work and lo and behold…I was first in line (I left real early). Even as early as I got there, it wasn’t long before the line started forming up behind me. After about an hour in line the Disney Rep came up to us and started telling us about how things were going to go. There was a brief scary moment here, where they for some reason couldn’t find my name on the VIP list, and I had to stand in the dreaded standby line (which would mean little chance of getting in) for about ten minutes. Finally the guy checked his list again for me and found that he had misspelled my name. Whew!
So I took my place back in line and joined up with all of the nerdy conversation going around me. Most of the discussion centered around TRON of course, but we talked about films and Sci-Fi in general. It’s amazing to think about. All of us didn’t know each other, yet here we were talking to perfect strangers about the lines we’ve stood in before for a special movie, the lengths we’ve gone to as fans of certain films, and how understanding our wives are (for those of us who were married). We talked about games, work, Star Wars, movies, and how we came to be at TRON Night. Overall it was a cool experience that makes me believe in the power of filmmaking even more.
Then as we talked, some of the swag came out. A Limited Edition Poster and some cool little advertisements that featured good looking artwork on them (which I have plenty of extras to give away!). Before long we all got our wristbands and soon they were ushering us inside about half an hour before the start of the preview. These guys were definitely serious about making sure nothing could be pirated. Any cell phone or electronic device you had (iPods, Nintendo DS, laptops, etc.) were taken up and placed in a reserve bag for you to pick up later. Then you had to get by the metal detectors before actually taking your seat.
So, I’ve got my 3D glasses, have a good seat directly in the center of the screen a good distance away from the very front. We all shoot the breeze and do some trivia questions for the next half hour until the Disney Rep comes in. He starts off trying to boost our excitement even more, getting us yelling and hollering, then goes into a small presentation. I’ve been to these things before, and it’s all the same stuff. It comes direct from the studios and they’re little disclaimers he has to say. Once he’s out of the way the lights go out and the show begins.
The event and the footage left me wanting more, in the best possible way. December 17th seems like such a long way away now, but one thing is for sure. I’ll be there day one, even with a 3D ticket. I’ve been sold on it.