Tron may not have understood what’s going on inside your computer but that’s taking it a bit seriously. Just have fun with the concept of a man being dragged inside their computer and you have a fun science fiction adventure. Oddly, while two arcade games (which did have home console ports) did come out of it, the movie didn’t become much of a franchise until recently. Two Tron 2.0 games (one being a DS exclusive called Killer App) came out in 2003 and I need to finish playing that. (I have the original PC game.) Then we finally got a sequel movie, Tron: Legacy, and a prematurely ended animated series (if you ask the show’s fans), Tron: Uprising. Oddly the series had a boost when we learned MORE about computers than we did in the 1980s. The movie also inspired shows like Reboot and Captain N: The Game Master (try to convince me I’m wrong) and episodes of kids shows where they go into the computer or even into the internet. Tron really does have a legacy.
In the first of two videos below the VFX artists at Corridor Digital looks at the computer effects of the original movie (though some of the effects were actually hand-animated due to computer limitations at the time, but the two compliment each other well) as well as the sequel movie to see what was good for the time and what still holds up. And what doesn’t. In the second Niko and Peter break out Blender to attempt to recreate the “light cycle” grid scene from the original movie with more modern technology. Enjoy!
Too bad they didn’t go over the Uprising cartoon as they’ve reviewed computer animated shows before. You have to respect just how much effort went into these effects, especially the original film where they ironically didn’t have the computer animation to recreate a virtual computer world. Our modern technology makes it look easy but they didn’t have that back then. For example, watch as they use the free program Blender (which I’ve been trying to find time to learn for video intros) to recreate the light cycle battle from the original movie.
“TRON” was the name of a Unix debugging command, used in the 70s. It stands for “TRace ON”, and printed line numbers as a program ran. There was also “TROFF”, which turned it off. In my circles, it was widely understood that this was the root of the character name. (The Tron character is–ultimately–a debugging program designed to figure out what was wrong with the Master Control Program.)
If that was their inspiration, neat. If that’s a coincidence…also neat actually.