Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday Reading: Tron’s Return

tron-2-20090204042313831I saw Tron once.  I was young.  I don’t think I quite understood what was going on, but all the characters looked straight out of Mega Man so I was on board instantly.

Almost thirty years later, I can barely recall what occurred in Tron.  Some dude got sucked into a computer.  Programs started fighting.  People got hit in the face with Frisbees laser discs.  Jeff Bridges was there.

My fuzzy digital memories aside, I’m excited for Tron: Legacy.  I’m not expecting the story to break any new ground, but it sure as hell looks cool.

In a recent issue of Wired, Adam Rogers broke down the creation of the original cult classic as well as the genesis of the upcoming sequel.  What blew my mind the most – aside from the fact that they’ve created a digital Jeff Bridges to play opposite the aging, marble-mouthed Jeff Bridges – were Rogers’ reminders of how far technology has come in the interim.  Here’s what he writes on the film’s look:

“So Tron: Legacy doesn’t look like Tron. Nobody would really want it to, frankly, and anyway, technology has moved on. What counted as cinema-quality for [director of the original Steven] Lisberger back in the 1970s looks like what [director Joseph] Kosinski’s team sketches with today. “Our pre-viz looks like the original film,” Kosinski says. “I wanted this to feel like we took cameras into the world of Tron and shot from the inside.” This echoes what Peter Jackson once said about Middle-earth. But nobody had ever been to the Shire to say whether the vision was accurate. Today people think they’ve been to cyberspace. Whether it’s Facebook or Azeroth or the virtual Afghanistan of Modern Warfare 2, everyone has already lived inside the Troniverse.”

How do you make a fantastical version of the digital world we live in everyday?  Use technology similar to that found in the original Tron, writes Rogers:

“Jeff Bridges had to get a full-body laser scan during preproduction, an eerie hearkening to his digitization in the first movie. When he shot his scenes as Clu, the motion-capture rig he wore to translate his facial movements to Rev 4 included a visor that looked uncannily like the helmet he wore in the original. And the prospect of an unimpeachable, photorealistic avatar for Bridges ought to make the Screen Actors Guild freak out.”

Regardless of SAG’s reaction, I’m already freaking out.  Thanks, Wired, for whetting for my already ravenous Tron appetite.