Legacy Content

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 it’s 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 ‘sow’s ear’ into a ‘silk purse’, allowing us a little peek back in time, to the dawn of computer-aided moviemaking.


Disc One:
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 Disney’s 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 film’s release year) to 2003.

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Curious? Log on to your computer and go to that web address. I won’t 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 system’s use of the Lucasfilm THX features on the discs.

Audio Commentary:

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:

  1. Alan Bradley (a.k.a. Tron, played by Bruce Boxleitner) was named after Alan Kay, the creator of the PowerBook, the first personal computer.
  2. David Warner (Dillinger/Sark) also provided the voice of the MCP. It was electronically enhanced to add that right mix of computerized menace.
  3. 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.
  4. Video games were provided for the cast during off-times in filming. Jeff Bridges (Flynn/Clu) became quite the expert at them.
  5. Early casting attempts included the legendary Peter O’Toole as Dillinger/Sark (O’Toole actually wanted the role of Tron ... ) and Blondie front-woman Debbie Harry as Lora/Yori.
  6. Tron was the first film since 1970’s Ryan’s Daughter to be shot entirely in 65 mm.
  7. 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.
  8. The Kirk Douglas sandal epic Spartacus, with its slave rebellion plot, was a cinematic inspiration for director Lisberger for this film.
  9. Sark’s ‘brains’ that leek out of him after Tron chucks a Frisbee … sorry, disc into his head are actually parts of an alarm clock.
  10. The term ‘cyberspace’ was intentionally avoided by the filmmakers so as to not ‘date’ the film …