Disney held a special screening in Los Angeles today, giving us a sneak peek at the brand new Tron Legacy theatrical trailer, a brief return to the video game world of 1982 computer graphics landmark Tron. Then we saw it again.
While other cities held their own Tron Legacy events today, offering a painfully quick 2-minute trailer and a polite request to get the hell out, the one held in Southern California gave Tron fans a second glance. As an added bonus, the director of Tron Legacy, Joseph Kosinski, was on hand for a Q&A session between trailer viewings. Also in attendance was original Tron director Steven Lisberger, who is acting in a producer role for the sequel.
Let's talk about what we saw.
The trailer—well, portions of it anyway—were in IMAX 3D, as immediately evidenced by the Walt Disney Pictures logo, which transformed into a bluish, scanlined version for authentic video game effect. The trailer opens with Sam, the son of Jeff Bridges' character Kevin Flynn from the first Tron, receiving word from his father's old friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) that he believes his father may still be alive—offering no theories that Flynn is trapped within a computer program.
His evidence? A phone call from the old Flynn's Arcade, where son Sam travels—in extreme, reckless youth motorcycling fashion that should translate well to piloting a lightcycle—to seek out his father. After poking around the dusty abandoned arcade, full of still-functioning arcade cabinets, Sam stumbles upon the digitizer that sent the original Flynn into the virtual world where Programs fight for survival in familiar Tron arcade games.
The following sequences were all quick cuts, some of them in dazzling 3D, including a stunning shot of the massive bipedal Recognizers, looking far more detailed, and more than one Program arming himself with a deadly disc, ready to throw at another Program. Along the way, brief looks at actors Olivia Wilde and Garrett Hedlund in form-fitting illuminated outfits flashed across the screen, as did two Matrix-looking potential bad guys, one fierce looking female and one Space Oddity era David Bowie lookalike playing a little digital air guitar.
The trailer fake-ended with a voiced over interaction between father Flynn and son. "Long time," Sam says. "You have no idea," says Flynn. Then it kicked into a lightcycle race, the trailer ending with an explosion and a "Woah..." from Sam as a lightcyclist.
The design of the characters, costumes, vehicles—like the trademark lightcycle—all looked fantastic, including the surprisingly believable looking younger version of Jeff Bridges' Clu decked out in yellow, in contrast to his currently aged Flynn. We'll be seeing two versions of Bridges, Clu and Flynn, playing off each other, the film's director said, as teased in previous Tron Legacy trailers.
Oh, and Tron himself will be in it, Kosinski reminded the audience, somewhat sarcastically.
It was really gorgeous stuff, sleek, sexier and more natural looking than the 1982 original, the trailer offering little in the way of over-the-top 3D effects, some of those effects looking unfinished.
The Tron Legacy trailer gave Daft Punk fans in attendance—and there were plenty of them—a first genuine listen to some of their contributions. According to Tron Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, whatever leaks we'd heard from the soundtrack weren't authentic and that the trailer's score was specifically created for that purpose only.
Kosinski wouldn't confirm that Daft Punk would make cameo appearances in the film, but his avoidance of the question was confirmation enough for many of the screening's attendees. He said that the French electronic duo was heavily involved in the creation of the film, with a dozen or so creative meetings happening between Kosinski and Daft Punk.
Tron Legacy's director—also responsible for the "Starry Night" commercial for Halo 3—confirmed to one fan that the video game Tron 2.0 was not considered canon in the creation of Legacy. Original Tron director Steven Lisberger accurately described the look and feel of the sequel as having a minimalist aesthetic that drew more upon the viewer's memories of what Tron looked like in 1982, rather than to slavishly recreate its signature look or, worse, veer too close to mimicking The Matrix.
Kosinski was limited in what he would confirm about future Tron Legacy marketing events or whether Daft Punk would be supporting the film with shows or appearances, only saying that those things "may happen in the future."
We'd keep an eye out. It looks like Disney will be aggressively and creatively marketing Tron Legacy for the next ten months. As for the Tron Legacy trailer, it's reportedly attached to the upcoming Alice In Wonderland remake.