Just returned from today’s exclusive TRON LEGACY IMAX 3D screening of the film’s new teaser trailer, hosted by two surprise guests! Director Joseph Kosinski took the mic after the trailer ended and invited original TRON creator Steven Lisberger to join him. [This article has now been updated and expanded on FilmEdge.net]
Best quote #1 of the event: “I’m not leaving until I see this trailer again!” proclaimed by Kosinski himself. Cheers from the attending fans which packed every seat at The Bridge IMAX theater in Los Angeles. Question time ensued with Kosinski and Lisberger while the booth rewound the film, but descriptions of what we saw first:
High atop the skyscraper roof of the ENCOM building at night, a voiceover from Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) saying he promised he’d tell Sam if he heard any news about his missing father, Kevin Flynn. Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is seen in what appears to be a garage, a Ducati logo visible in the background — save this detail for later. Alan reveals he received a call from the office line at Flynn’s Arcade, which doesn’t impress Sam until Alan says that number’s been disconnected for 20 years. The plot thickens. Intercut through this conversation are shots of Sam racing through traffic along a bridge or overpass, ending with a jump off the ramp onto a lower road — clearly Sam is a skilled motorcyclist on his Ducati, which bodes well for his LightCycle adventures to come.
Sam remains dubious about this lead, grumbling words to the effect of “It’s not like I’m going to find him there saying ‘Sorry, I was working and time got away from me.'” Alan throws him the keys to Flynn’s Arcade and smiles, “Wouldn’t that be something?”
Cut to Sam arriving outside the dilapidated shell of Flynn’s Arcade, its iconic neon sign dimmed and dusty from years of neglect. Sam’s inside, wiping away cobwebs to flip the circuit breakers, illuminated the plastic shrouds covering the classic arcade games. Alan’s voice alerts Sam that his last talk with Kevin Flynn indicated the genius had made a discovery that would change ‘society, religion, the entire world.’ Sam approaches the classic ENCOM-branded Tron video game and drops a quarter in the coin slot. The coin falls out onto the floor, landing on dusty grooves in the floor circumscribing an arc around the game cabinet.
Sam pushes against the console which hinges to open a space behind the wall: Kevin’s private office in the arcade. Sam wipes years of dust off a desktop, illuminated the next-gen computer interface far beyond what Dillinger used in TRON. As Sam sits and the desk reviewing the monitor data, the laser machine rises behind him, aimed directly at the back of the desk chair Sam occupies. The laser lens flashes bright…
And we’re transported to the evolved world of Tron, a next-gen Recognizer hovers silently over a walkway with three glowing Tron figures standing below it. This jolted fans with enthusiasm, applause and hoots of approval, and indeed the Recognizer towers menacingly on a huge IMAX screen. A bit sleeker in design, a little shinier with energy lines glowing in a couple different hues, but largely the same iconic, intimidating ship! This was a brilliant shot to open with in the Tron world because the visual explains everything conceptually in an instant: the world of Tron has evolved on this new server, as evident from cloudy skies and lightning flashing in the distance as well as the next-gen look of the Recognizer. This isn’t remake, this is advancement.
What follows happens quickly and I may report memories out of order — wait for the trailer to debut online for exactitude but here are main impressions:
Olivia Wilde looks stunning and gorgeous in her black bob-cut hair and skin-tight program suit as she lounges on a white couch. Several shots of Sam at the controls of a Recognizer or some such vehicle which appears to be rising upward toward rotating concentric circles. The odd shot of a white-haired man jamming away on a Tron-ified electric guitar is actually actor Michael Sheen in his role as ‘Castor’ (or a similar name), a wild-looking nightclub owner in Tron city. Sheen is unrecognizable in the shot itself seen at this pace, but Kosinski confirmed his role and said the actor truly transformed him look in the part.
On the gaming grid, Sam is visible through the open data disc of a contestant which flickers menacingly in a circle framing the shot. Then Clu2.0 rises up into the gaming arena like a gladiator — a younger-looking Jeff Bridges/Kevin Flynn which, according to director Kosinski as he told us today, is an exact copy of Kevin Flynn he made back in 1986. Thus Clu2.0 looks like Flynn minus 24 years in age, his hair style even reminiscent of a late 1980s look. Clu2.0 looks like a true badass warrior in attitude and expression, which sets up the stunning prospect of Sam battling against a younger version of his own father on the Tron gaming grid!
The new photo released this week is indeed of Sam walking up to the gaming grid, and a shot from the scene plays out as voicovers between father and son are heard: Sam saying, “Father, it’s been a long time” to which Kevin replies, “You have no idea.”
A title treatment as seen in the effects test reel assembles in midair with Tron city in the background, implying the trailer is ending. A pause. Then it cuts directly into a burst of fast-paced LightCycle racing action on the grid, numerous cycles darting around and a shot of Sam cutting a sharp, sweeping turn as another LightCycle hits his wall trail and explodes.
The end title card wraps up with the 12.17.10 release date and staggered depths of the Disney Digital 3D and IMAX 3D logo screens.
Some fans expressed disappointment with the lack of big reveals in the trailer, or the perceived weakness of the 3D effects in it. FilmEdge says this: this is truly a teaser trailer, as intelligent fans and moviegoers would expect from a film nine months out from release, and thus with nine months left of post-production effects shots to complete. I’ve seen far more “cheated” teaser trailers which show no actual footage from the upcoming film — this teaser for TRON LEGACY is all-new footage from the film.
As for the 3D effects not constantly poking you in the eyes for two minutes, hooray! This isn’t designed as a gimmicky 3D exploitation flick splattering, punching and jolting you in your seat — this is a virtual digital universe unlike anything seen before outside of the original film. It’s very hard to perceive 3D effect depth in such a fast moving trailer because your viewing perspective is constantly shifting, and 3D visual rely on context to suggest the illusion of depth, volume and space. If the opening shot of that towering Recognizer didn’t sell fans on how well TRON LEGACY will employ 3D cinematography, then some people just like to complain… they’re certainly overlooking facts for opinion.
Kosinski and Lisberger fielded questions from fans during the 15-20 minute wait for replay, giving out signed TRON LEGACY posters to chosen fans — we missed out getting FilmEdge’s question asked. The questions ranged from thoughtful to I-just-want-a-t-shirt in relevance, but most fans posed useful queries. When asked directly if Cindy Morgan would appear in the film, the directors’ reply was, “Cindy Morgan’s character Lora does not appear in our story, but that doesn’t rule out anything else.” The latest interviews with Cindy indicate she’s not been contacted to appear in the film, for which production has rapped. But reshoots are quite common (as Cameron recruited Linda Hamilton to record voiceovers for TERMINATOR:SALVATION long after production wrapped), so the door remains slightly ajar for some participation by Morgan.
Second best question of the day: Joseph Kosinski scans the hands-raises audience questioners, his hand blocking the glare of lights and asking, “Are there any girls in here?” Laughs ensued as the 85% male audience looked around. Indeed, a good number of female fans attended and asked questions as well.
After turning in our 3D glasses, fans received a Flynn Lives t-shirt — no code detected so far! More to follow later.
[UPDATE] FilmEdge has expanded and updated our TRON LEGACY trailer recap article with more plot/character revelations from the directors, in-depth review and viral campaign code suggestion.