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Toon Talk: Tron: 20th Anniversary Collector's Edition
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So, why all this attention paid to a mediocre film, two decades after its box office failure?
Regardless of its shortcomings, Tron is still recognized as an important film in the history of animation. (As John Lasseter states in the making of documentary included in this set, without Tron, there would be no Toy Story.) The creators of this DVD apparently had that in mind, turning this sows ear into a silk purse, allowing us a little peek back in time, to the dawn of computer-aided moviemaking.
DVD BONUS FEATURES:
The goodies start right off the block with this one. When you first load disc one, the typical previews start with New from the Secret Lab. (Which in itself is interesting if they are referring to Disneys digital animation unit the Secret Lab, creators of Dinosaur, because that Secret Lab is now defunct.) A computer screen is shown with the web address www.tronkillerapp.com, which upon being clicked sends you into the cyber world of Tron, progressing from 1982 (the films release year) to 2003.
Curious? Log on to your computer and go to that web address. I wont give anything away here but, according to the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com), there is a film in production for release in 2003 titled Tron Killer App. Could this be the long-rumored sequel to Tron, also known as Tron 2.0?
Also of note are the nicely animated menus, which substitute computer lingo for the usual section headings, such as Run Program for Play Movie and Sector Access for Chapters. The icon used to navigate is a computer disc, like the ones thrown like a Frisbee in the film.
There is also a section that will help you optimize your home theater systems use of the Lucasfilm THX features on the discs.
Provided by director/screenwriter Steven Lisberger, producer Donald Kushner, associate producer Harrison Ellenshaw and visual effects supervisor Richard Taylor, this commentary can at times by as dry as a computer manual, albeit just as informative in the end, as revealed in:
The Top Ten Things We Learn in this Commentary:
- Alan Bradley (a.k.a. Tron, played by Bruce Boxleitner) was named after Alan Kay, the creator of the PowerBook, the first personal computer.
- David Warner (Dillinger/Sark) also provided the voice of the MCP. It was electronically enhanced to add that right mix of computerized menace.
- The name Tron was derived from electron, not trace on/trace off as has been assumed. There is actually a Japanese educational software named Tron which has been in use since 1985.
- Video games were provided for the cast during off-times in filming. Jeff Bridges (Flynn/Clu) became quite the expert at them.
- Early casting attempts included the legendary Peter OToole as Dillinger/Sark (OToole actually wanted the role of Tron ... ) and Blondie front-woman Debbie Harry as Lora/Yori.
- Tron was the first film since 1970s Ryans Daughter to be shot entirely in 65 mm.
- Those funny-looking computer discs the programs wore on their backs were actually Frisbees. They even had a Frisbee expert on staff to train the cast.
- The Kirk Douglas sandal epic Spartacus, with its slave rebellion plot, was a cinematic inspiration for director Lisberger for this film.
- Sarks brains that leek out of him after Tron chucks a Frisbee sorry, disc into his head are actually parts of an alarm clock.
- The term cyberspace was intentionally avoided by the filmmakers so as to not date the film