Tag Archives: Disney

Tron Legacy (Film review)

First Published 03/06/2011

Summary: Sci-fi retro classic Tron gets an upgrade in its 2010 sequel Tron Legacy, but is far less contemporary than it’s 1982 original.
 

Tron: Legacy

Disney in 1982 intended for their Tron movie to be the cutting-edge special effects laden film that would take immediate advantage of the burgeoning video games arcade culture. They barely succeeded with a so-so showing at the box office. Still, for all its faults, Tron is fondly remembered.

 

In Tron: Legacy both Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner reprise their roles as Kevin Flynn (and also alter ego CLU) and Alan Bradley (also Tron) respectively.

 

Sam, Tron Legacy’s New Hero

The story starts with Sam (Garrett Hedlund), Kevin’s son – now grown, and a rebellious youth – attacking his father’s company ENCOM, which he owns a controlling stake in, in light of Bridge’s disappearance 20 years ago. He sashays past security and into the mainframe room where he stops the launch of a new Operating System, a program which he feels should have been released free of charge to the public in keeping with his missing father’s mantra of freely distributed software.

 

Sam manages to escape ENCOM’s building in a way that would make Batman proud, and it’s while back in his bachelor’s hovel that his father’s old friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) meets him. Alan’s just received a mysterious page from Sam’s father and suggests the son go investigate. And so the story starts to pick up when he gets to an old, abandoned arcade where his father set up his office all those years ago. Sam finds a hidden room and in there sees a computer that’s attached to some sort of machine. A few keystrokes on the keyboard and the machine comes alive and he’s suddenly transported to The Grid, a virtual reality world created by his father Kevin.

 

Rinzler and CLU – The Bad Guys

He immediately encounters trouble when he’s captured for supposedly being a rogue program, and is taken to a gladiator-style game arena where he’s pitted against Rinzler, the arena’s champion. Rinzler stops short of killing him when he’s identified not as a program but a “User”. He takes Sam before CLU, the Grid’s Führer-like dictator, and a program his father Kevin created in his likeness.
 

Quorra – The Girl

CLU challenges Sam to a duel on the Grid, hoping to kill him, but Quorra (Olivia Wilde), an ally of his father’s, rescues him. She takes him to Kevin who’s now grown old and sits apart from everything, meditating, and keeping Quorra (who it turns out is a program that carries answers to mankind’s problems) from his doppelganger CLU, who has destroyed all of her race in genocidal attacks. Bridges here is a peculiar if not sometimes incongruous mix of part Jedi, part Buddhist monk, and part The Dude from The Big Lebowski – you can’t help but smile at his The Dude-like “biodigital jazz, man” comment.

He explains to his son that CLU has held him captive in the Grid all this time but that Sam’s arrival’s reopened the portal to our world. They now have to journey back with all CLU’s might and resources against them. This inevitably leads to more light-based special effects action set pieces with the Daft Punk soundtrack – which received an Oscar nomination – playing in the background.

 

Box-office

The movie won’t be remembered for its convoluted story, but manages to impress in the visual department. It’s supposedly raked in over $400 million worldwide (boxofficemojo.com) and so one can only expect that Disney will be angling for more sequels to be made.
 

DVD and Blu-ray Release

Both DVD and Blu-ray releases have a sneak peak at Disney Channel’s new animated series, Tron: Uprising, as well as a documentary on Visualising Tron. The Blu-ray release has more documentaries and a Daft Punk music video, Derezzed.
 

Who Should Buy This?

Without a question fans of the original won’t miss this new instalment. Kids just entering teenage years may also find it entertaining. For everyone else Tron Legacy may only just be worth a night from your video club, with impressive visuals and a great beat from Daft Punk.

 

Sources: Tron Legacy (DVD), Production Year: 2010, Disney, Tron Legacy (boxofficemojo.com)

Star Wars 1313 – Death of a Franchise


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By Uzor Chinukwue

Seems those boys at Disney are determined to bury what might have been a promising franchise. In an era of gaming that focused on rehashing well-worn stories and gaming mechanics Star Wars 1313 looked to be a potential gem that may just have revived sci-fi shooters.

But alas any dreams of having a post Mass Affect 3 resurgence of action-adventure gaming were blown out the water when the Walt Disney Company, after having acquired Lucasfilm in a deal said to be worth over $4 billion, went on to close down LucasArts, the studio behind the Star Wars 1313 game.

What this means is Star Wars games like the 1313 title are no longer in development, though there may be a slight glimmer of hope with Lucas Arts retaining licensing powers.

Conceivably, they could sell the rights to a third party to develop, but Disney has announced it will be concentrating on Star Wars movies. And while this may be welcome news for JJ Abrams it should be treated with a generous degree of cynicism by everyone else.

Why you may ask? Well for years while the Lucas team have been mostly known for all things Star Wars they’ve also been involved in some of the most technologically impressive breakthroughs in recent film history. Why Pixar was one such success. And remember the liquid metal Terminator from Terminator 2, which still manages to catch the eye even after all these years? Well that groundbreaking marvel was down to them as well.

And while stopping production of a video game is not the same as closing down the special effects arm of the Lucas companies, namely Industrial Light and Magic the point was for Star Wars 1313 all 3 companies were involved: ILM, Lucasfilm Animation and Skywalker Sound.

This move would undoubtedly have created advancements in video gaming, which history tells us would probably translate well into technology used in film. In short Disney’s shortsightedness may earn the big bucks at the box office but may stunt the progress of both the video gaming and film industry.

Don’t agree with me? OK. I hope I’m wrong, but it seems they are going the way of Microsoft: rather than admitting to themselves they are anti innovation they’ll instead shell out ridiculous sums of money to buy competitors and true innovators only to go right ahead and strip anything that looks like innovation from acquired companies until they’re just clones of the Parent company, which will only lead observers to ask, what was the point in buying said companies anyway? Was it to inject much needed creativity in a  stagnant bureaucracy or  was it just to kill Moses before he grows muscles enough to challenge Pharaoh? I guess only time will tell on this one guys.