All things TRON

Posted by under *like, Comics, Movies, Music, Video Games |

Throughout December I was inundated with all manner of media related to Disney’s TRON: Legacy, the sequel to the 1982 classic TRON. This is ok, I’m a fan, but there was so much TRON in my life all month it would be wrong not to mention it here. Seeing the movie was just the tip of the iceberg. There’s also music, comic books and video games of all kinds, which is appropriate since the original TRON Arcade game may have actually been more popular than the first movie.

TRON: Legacy

Let’s begin with the movie behind all of this other stuff. It’s a sequel that improves on the original in many ways, and I felt like a kid seeing Kevin Flynn’s story continue. I absolutely enjoyed it and I’m happy to have seen it in 3D. The special effects were well done, and I was particularly glad that the lighting effects remained dazzling even through those dark glasses. This is easy to do when most of the movie is high contrast with black and hard light.

My only complaint is that what I saw on the screen just wasn’t spectacular enough for me. It’s by no means bad, but with the original being a groundbreaking special effects movie, I just wanted something more visually stunning. After seeing things like The Matrix, wide shots of fight scenes just come off a little dull no matter how brilliantly choreographed. I guess I’ve just come to expect a different set of camera angles. Also, the threat of CLU was a bit too contained. Their world is a closed system and I would have liked to see the threat spread to the internet rather than the real world. Physical bodies moving back and forth between worlds will always be a weird hang-up for this series, but a lot was left open for a another installment down the line.

TRON: Evolution

TRON: Evolution is the video game companion to TRON: Legacy for Xbox360 and Playstation 3. The game plays out as prequel story spanning the time between the original movie and Legacy. As a new System Monitor in the city, you witness some of the flashback scenes from the film and expand on some of the details that are only briefly mentioned by Flynn about what has happened since the first movie. From what I’ve seen so far, it really fleshes that story out, but there hasn’t been anything critical to enjoying the new movie yet.

The gameplay switches fluidly from a 3rd person run and fight game to controlling the various vehicles of the TRON universe. The Parkour inspired controls and fighting style are a lot of fun, and the movie could have honestly used more of this. Some of the things I’m seeing (particular as I’m falling completely out of control) capture some of the visuals I was hoping to see on the big screen.

TRON: Evolution also features an impressive multiplayer Game Grid that really captures what’s at the heart of both films. I just wish I wasn’t the worst player on the board.

TRON for the iPhone

Two TRON video games are available from the iTunes App Store titled TRON and TRON: Legacy.

TRON is a free app that contains links to trailers and a user community called The Grid along with 2D Tank and Light Cycle games using tap controls. These have some similarity to the original arcade game complete with the 90˚ light cycle turns that I really missed in the new movie.

TRON: Legacy is a paid app that is styled more like its namesake. It also features Light Cycle racing but instead uses tilt controls along with tapping. You can also control flying Recognizers on bombing runs through the city. It’s a nice distraction for $.99 and highly recommended for fans of the series.

A search on the App Store for TRON also brought up a free app called TRON Music for Users that features themed electronica that I definitely had some fun listening to. The $.99 Tron Trivia wasn’t going on my phone though.

TRON: Legacy Sountrack

The TRON: Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk brings a dramatic electronic soundscape that really powered the movie and its advertising. I love it. It’s no Fight Club soundtrack, but it certainly makes my routine seem more important as I go about my day. I understand it was even getting some radio airplay and songs like The Game Has Changed, End of Line and Derezzed certainly hold their own in the right context. This was specially priced at $3.99 from Amazon Music as the movie premiered, but it appears to have since returned to $11.99. Not a bad price to take you into another world for an hour, but it’s not something I’d recommend if you’re not already into either the movie or the style of music. Daft Punk also make a fun guest appearance in the movie in a club scene playing their music.

TRON: Betrayal from Marvel Comics

This two part series is the first real example of any synergy between Disney and Marvel. TRON: Betrayal is a prequel bridging the gap between the the two movies, but telling a different story than the TRON: Evolution video game. The comic is written by Jai Nitz with art by Andie Tong, neither of whom I’m at all familiar with. I haven’t read this book as I’m waiting for the collected edition to arrive next week, but I’m looking forward to it.

Going along with this modern comic story, Marvel also produced a comic adaptation of the original TRON film. I’m not normally one to read this type of thing, but the adaptation is written by Peter David and that alone gives it some credibility. With the way Disney handles the distribution of titles from its “vault,” this might be the only way to get your hands on the original story for a long time as DVDs are hard to come by and come with a hefty price tag.

Marvel also capitalized on some cross promotion by adding TRON variant covers to a group of their titles throughout the month of December. As has become typical with Marvel variants, I didn’t see them on the shelves during any of my usual comic stops. What I’m really hoping to see at some point in this wave of TRON merchandise is the original arcade game. I’m sure it doesn’t hold up that well, but I have fond memories of dropping a lot of quarters on it.

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