You will really appreciate how ahead of its time the original Tron was, and how truly stunning Tron: Legacy is all in one package with this jam-packed five-disc set.
  • Feature
  • Picture
  • Sound
  • Extras
  • Replay Value
Astonishing visuals, wonderful performances by Jeff Bridges in both movies, and just an amazing digital landscape both directors have created.
There are some story and dialogue issues in both movies that bothered me, and some of the special features I wasn't terribly fond of.
This mammoth five-disc set contains Tron: Legacy Blu-ray, Tron: Legacy 3D Blu-ray, Tron: Legacy DVD, Tron: The Original Classic Blu-ray and a Digital Copy disc. To start, here's my review of Tron: the Original Classic.

Tron: The Original Classic

There was a story going around before Tron: Legacy came out, about how the original Tron, or Tron: The Original Classic as it's now called, was one of the hardest movies to find on DVD. Most studios release a big juicy Blu-ray or DVD set of the original movie before a remake or sequel is released in theaters, but Disney didn't do so with Tron. There was speculation that the studio didn't want viewers to be turned off by Tron's old-school effects since that might lead to moviegoers avoiding Tron: Legacy. While that rationale may or may not be true, Tron: The Original Classic has never looked better in this amazing new Blu-ray transformation.

I actually really wanted to see Tron before watching Tron: Legacy, but it just wasn't in the cards. I can say now, after watching them both, that this is the most preferable way to step into the Tron universe, especially with the GLORIOUS new high-def restoration of Tron: The Original Classic. Now, the effects are still old-school, the hairstyles and outfits are still fairly corny, but it all looks truly stunning.

Tron tells the tale of Kevin Flynn, a former employee of Encom who now owns and operates a popular arcade. He was swindled by a former co-worker, Ed Dillinger (David Warner), who stole Flynn's original ideas for what became some of Encom's most popular games. He spends his time trying to hack into Encom, looking for proof that his ideas were stolen, hacking around in Encom's supercomputer, the Master Control Program. With the help of Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) and Lora (Cindy Morgan), Flynn breaks into the Encom facility to shut down the MCP, but the supercomputer has had it with Flynn's shenanigans. Using Lora's matter transportation program (which we get a glimpse of earlier in the movie using an orange...), the MCP transports Flynn into the actual system, into an amazing cyberworld which the MCP controls. Each "person" in the system is actually a program, who is created in the likeness of the real-world "user" who created them. However, the MCP has intimidated most programs into believing that the users do not exist. However, Flynn is an actual "user" inside this world, and recruits the help of Yori, Lora's avatar, and the heroic Tron, Alan Bradley's avatar to destroy the MCP and release Flynn from this digital prison, so to speak and liberate these programs from the wrath of the MCP.

Tron is the watershed moment when it comes to the use of computer graphics in cinema. It literally revolutionized the way computers are used in movies and the industry was changed forever after its release, although it took several years after Tron for others to realize how to utilize computer technology properly. These were things that I have known for years, before watching Tron again for the first time in years, perhaps decades. Over the years, while I may have forgotten elements of Tron's story, those astounding visual elements remained engrained in my memory. I was in Hall H when that surprise Tron Legacy test footage was shown, and I knew right away that it had something to do with the original Tron, even before seeing Jeff Bridges show up. The visual stimuli I was exposed to in Tron oh so many years ago remained embedded in my head, even if I may have forgotten it was gone. Now, though, watching Tron for the first time in several years, it's not just the visuals that remain so impressive: it's the fact that Tron literally predicted the future. The internet and "hackers" certainly did not exist, at least in their current forms back in 1982. While there is no shortage of films or filmmakers that were influenced by Tron, although I wonder how many hackers were influenced by Tron as well. Still, it's amazing to watch Tron now in the 21st Century and see just how many things were foreshadowed by this sci-fi classic.

While it's humorous to look at the corny outfits with lit-up hockey helmets and padding, and bits of corny dialogue, it's hard not to give it a pass just because it's Tron. They serve as a reminder of when the movie was actually made, a time when the term "computer" still came off as a term only relegated to science-fiction novels or the halls of IBM. The irony of Tron is that the esteemed Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences would not nominate Tron for an Academy Award for special effects, because the Academy thought they were "cheating" by using computers. It's amazing how much has changed in 29 years.

However, Stephen Lisberger's story isn't incredibly tight and, much like its predecessor, the reasons Flynn is in this system don't really sit too well with me. While it could be that there are aspects of both Tron and Tron: Legacy that I still don't fully understand, there are story elements that just seem very convoluted to me. Still, much like Avatar, Tron and Tron Legacy are among the few films which has such sensational visuals that even I, who is normally a stickler for a strong story, will somewhat overlook writing matters because the visuals are so mind-blowing.

It still kind of amazes me, though, that director Stephen Lisberger has hardly worked since making Tron. He only directed two movies after that (Hot Pursuit and Slipstream). Given the limitations of technology that he had to deal with, I think Lisberger did an amazing job with Tron, although I'm not the biggest fan of some of his dialogue in the screenplay. Still, while Tron is not a perfect film by any means, it certainly is an incredibly important film.

With this new Blu-ray release, Tron should be required viewing for any movie fan because it shows how far we have come in visual effects, and where it all started. It's amazing how much they were able to achieve with extremely limited technology, and it's wonderful to see it in a wonderful new restoration on Blu-ray.

Tron: Legacy

(Reviewer's Note: Below is my full review of Tron: Legacy that I wrote before the movie's theatrical release. Although I did watch it again on Blu-ray, I feel pretty much the same way I did when I wrote this review. I will say, though, I wish I had a chance to watch the original Tron before watching Tron: Legacy. After watching both movies, back-to-back, there were little things that I picked up on, nods to the original, but it still didn't change much about my take on the movie, so here's my review from December below. Enjoy.)

I was a mere five years old when the first Tron came out and while I don't recall seeing it in theaters, I do recall seeing it on either VHS or cable a few years later, where my young friends and I would marvel at this weird video-game environment that people were actually in. That being said, I don't think I saw it too many more times after those first few viewings, but still, when I was in Hall H at Comic-Con 2008, as one of the lucky few to first see that surprise sizzle reel of Tron: Legacy, I was incredibly excited. I finally got to see the final product, the sum total of two and a half years worth of hype and buzz and, like most movies of our content-saturated age, it somewhat failed to live up to the hype.

Now, I can't completely trash the movie, because it truly is a visual masterpiece and Daft Punk's electrifying score will be a big Oscar snub when it's overlooked next month. As much as I go to see movies for sensory stimulation/overload, which Tron: Legacy delivers by the truckload, I'm drawn to a movie by its story, which was lacking more than I thought it would be. 

We start off way back in 1989, with Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) telling a tale to his young son Sam, a tale of a warrior named Tron set in a magical world Kevin can't fully describe to his son, pledging he will show him "the grid" one day soon. Unfortunately, Kevin Flynn never returns home after that night, a mystery that has plagued young Sam his entire life. When we catch up with the "adult" Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), we see him playing an elaborate prank on his father's company, Encom, as they prepare to launch their latest software design... which Sam steals and releases it on the Internet for free. (FYI, look for a nice cameo from Cillian Murphy, sporting a very weird haircut, in these early scenes). When Sam returns home to his modified garage/house, he finds Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), former Encom head and father figure to Sam in lieu of Kevin's disappearance. He tells Sam that he received a page from the Flynn Arcade, a number that has been disconnected for 25 years, which leads Sam to head back to that long lost arcade and snoop around, which leads Sam to be transported to "the grid," inside the computerized world his father first dazzled him with as a child through his stories. From there, the visuals are stepped up to astounding levels... and the story gets even more convoluted.

The main throughline here isn't all that complicated. Sam stumbles into this world, finds dear old dad, who was essentially trapped here against his will, and is determined to bring him back to reality. What's annoying is they make great pains to describe the rules of this world to us, even though, when it's all said and done, it either doesn't make much sense or it doesn't matter since they broke their own rules anyway. 

Screenwriters Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, both longtime underlings of J.J. Abrams on both Lost and Felicity, do a great job in keeping us both interested and puzzled throughout the entire 127-minute runtime. For all the explaining they do about how things work in this cyberworld, they seem to sidestep how Kevin Flynn was trapped here, away from his family for over 25 years and the explanation we're given on why Kevin couldn't return, is flimsy, at best. Kevin tells us tales about how he, Tron and Clu, who Kevin created in his own image (an image that never ages), set out to create the ultimate system, although Clu got greedy and struck down Tron, as Flynn retreated to the outskirts of this world so that Clu could not get a hold of his "disc," which holds the key to not only the dominance of this world, but the key to bring these characters out of the grid and into real life. Oh yeah, the disc. Since practically everyone/everything on the grid is a program, they have an identity disc on their back, which contains all of their knowledge/data they have obtained throughout their "life." It's also used as a weapon in the human air hockey/disc wars game they have. Basically, Clu wants Kevin's disc for grid dominance, but Kevin isn't having it, hiding in the outskirts of this world with Quorra (Olivia Wilde), an "isopod" who... ah crap. I have to explain that too. See, isopods were these original anomalies in the system, who were actually somewhat sentient beings, that had their own will and wouldn't conform to the structure of the system that Clu had created. Kevin embraced the isopods but Clu hated them, since they were "imperfect" and had them all destroyed... except for, of course, Quorra, who now lives with Kevin as he tries to educate her on humanity... while living in a computer world. So, essentially, Kevin stayed in this world to avoid Clu, so Clu wouldn't take his disc and use it to get into the outside real world... even if that means living in a prison he helped create. Confused yet? Me too... and I saw the damn thing. 

Still, all of this jabbering aside, director Joseph Kosinski has indeed created a visual marvel that is nearly unprecedented by today's standards, which, by today's standards, is saying a lot. OK, I did hate the "disc game" thing, but not because it wasn't visually arresting, because it was, very much so. I hated it because it was literally a human version of air hockey, with one dude/program/whatever throwing the disc at the opponent or off the walls, trying to slice the disc through said program/dude/whatever. When I saw these crazy discs flying around in promos and trailers, I assumed there would be more to it than what actually happens, but that's not really the case. The lightcycle sequence is so absolutely f*&%ing stunning and just that one sequence is worth the price of admission alone. It's literally the only scene in the entire movie that follows the age-old movie maxim of "show don't tell." They set up the rules of this grid-racing scene by SHOWING you what happens, instead of the talky-talk we get throughout most of the movie. This scene is truly the crowning achievement of Tron: Legacy (although I was impressed with the Benjamin Button techniques they used to de-age Bridges as Clu), and I only wish they could use the tactics they did here throughout the whole movie. I'll be honest, though, I don't have the foggiest idea how they could cut down on the verbal explanations, as the movie exists now, but maybe they could've started by not making it so unnecessarily complicated in the first place. 

As negative as this review does sound, I actually did end up liking Tron: Legacy. The acting is sound, with fine performances from Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, although I DESPERATELY wanted a bigger role for the glorious Michael Sheen as Castor, for his irreplaceable irreverence, and Beau Garrett as Gem, for her demure gorgeousness. Director Joseph Kosinski more than proved his greatness as far as visuals go, with a highly-kinetic style, when needed, and a subtely subdued style, when needed. Daft Punk's score is simply transcendent, in perfect harmony with Kosinski's eye-popping visuals, and, yes, Daft Punk SHOULD be nominated for an Oscar... not only because of their brilliance, but because I wonder if they'd actually, literally, show their faces (they go to great lengths to never show their faces for photos/videos) at the Oscars if they were nominated... Anyway, when you get past the overwhelming semantics of this visual world, Tron: Legacy is really just a story about a young man who wants his dad back, with Kevin Flynn proving to be a prodigal dad, or sorts, which seems to get lost in everything that surrounds the story.

As I think back to that first time I set my eyes on the Comic-Con 2008 sizzle reel, I honestly wonder what I would've thought about Tron: Legacy if there hadn't been two and a half years of hype surrounding it. Right now, there are over 17 minutes of trailers and clips from the movie right here on MovieWeb as well as over an hour of behind-the-scenes featurettes. That's not even counting the music videos and the incredible amount of photo galleries we have for the movie. Up until I saw the actual movie, I practically had a five-star review just waiting to be typed up, because everything I had seen from the movie was very impressive, and because that amount of material was so substantially large, I figured there was no way I wouldn't think this would be utterly amazing. As the Rolling Stones once said, though, you can't always get what you want, and that's about the best way I can sum up Tron: Legacy. As negative as this review does sound, I actually did end up liking Tron: Legacy... but I was expecting to like it a whole lot more.
Tron The Original Classic

The bonus feautres for the original starts off with The Tron Phenomenon, which features a number of cast members and filmmakers from both the original Tron and Tron: Legacy, all professing their love for Tron: The Original Classic. We hear from Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, director Steven Lisberger, Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski, writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis and many more. I was intrigued to learn that Bruce Boxleitner originally turned down the role of Alan Bradley, because he just didn't understand the concept of Tron. You really get a glimpse at how ahead of its time this original Tron was, which actually foreshadowed technology we use today, 25 years before it existed. I was also amazed that Stephen Lisberger revealed the Academy did not nominate Tron for a Special Effects Oscar because they thought the filmmakers were "cheating" by using computers. We also hear from Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde and many more and this is a great way to kick off the bonus features on this Original Classic.

Photo Tronology is next, which features director Steven Lisberger visiting the Disney archives of Tron with his son, Carl Lisberger. It's more of a father-son thing, with both of them taking a look at old production stills and whatever else they have in the archives. There is a lot of fairly dull father-son stuff here, but Steven Lisberger did reveal they used actual frisbees for the identity discs. Lisberger also said that Jeff Bridges was one of the few actors who got the movie right from the beginning, with most actors hanging up the phone after hearing this far out concept. Another interesting tidbit is that they actually blew out the power for the entire city of Burbank because of all the power they were running on the Disney lot. There are some intriguing details revealed in this 16-minute feature, which is well worth watching, but I could do without the whole father-son thing, since Lisberger's kid really didn't have anything to do with the movie.

The rest of the features were those that were included on the original DVD release. There's a five-part feature entitled Development, which includes Early Development of Tron, Early Lisberger Studios Animation, which is a logo for director Stephen Lisberger's company that features the first incarnation of the Tron Character, a "Computers Are People Too" TV special, Early Video Tests and a Gallery. Next is a five-part Digital Imagery feature, which includes Backlight Animation, Digital Imagery in Tron, Beyond Tron, Role of Triple I, and Triple I Demo. There is also The Making of Tron featurette, a two-part Music featurette, Publicity which includes a NATO demo reel, Work in Progress, four trailers, and a gallery. There is also three Deleted Scenes with an intro by Steven Lisberger, a Design featurette with early concepts on the lightcycles and the recognizers. Lastly, there is a Storyboarding feature and more Galleries.

Tron: Legacy Special Features

The features start out with the short The Next Day, which gives us some background on Encom and the disappearance of Kevin Flynn, which spans from 1989 to present, with a mysterious hacker named Zack Attack. It's set up like a fictional TV special, with interview segments and footage from actual viral events, like Garrett Hedlund parachuting into an Encom event at WonderCon in San Diego last year. It's a rather intriguing video that gives us more background and provides fodder for the sequel. It's definitely worth a look and a fantastic way to start off the special features.

First Look at Tron: Uprising: The Disney XD Animated Series is next, which gives us a sneak peek into this new show. This animated series will take place in between Tron and Tron: Legacy. It's only a minute long, but it looks like a gorgeous new show with a rather impressive voice cast including Elijah Wood, Mandy Moore, Emanuelle Chirqui, Paul Reubens, Lance Henriksen and, of coruse, Bruce Boxleitner as Tron. They still don't have a premiere date for Tron: Uprising, but I can't wait to see it.

Launching The Legacy is next, and we go through the process of how this came to be, including the full short film that Disney surprised audiences with at Comic-Con in 2008. We hear from Jeff Bridges, director Joseph Kosinski, writers Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis, and many more. They even have videos of some early conceptual meetings when they were trying to figure out how to tackle the story. It's a slick little 10-minute featurette that doesn't give you a ton of information, but is a nice little glimpse at the production.

Installing the Cast is next, and we hear from Michael Sheen, Olivia Wilde, Garrett Hedlund, and many others all with glowing things to say about Jeff Bridges. We also hear from Bruce Boxleitner, director Joseph Kosinski, original director Stephen Lisberger, and Jeff Bridges. Producer Sean Bailey also talks about the wide net they cast to find this cast and Garrett Hedlund discusses the stunt work and the physicality of this role and Olivia Wilde talks about her character as well. There are some nice glimpses at the production here, but we don't really learn much new material about the movie. There are some great bits with Michael Sheen, who was a huge Tron fan and desperate to play a part in Tron: Legacy. This 12-minute featurette is also worth a look-see.

Disc Roars is next, which shows a part from the Tron: Legacy panel at Comic-Con 2010. I didn't go to this panel last year, but apparently they actually used the crowd in Hall H for some crowd chants in the games portion of the movie, and it seems they actually did use that audio from the crowd.

Music Video: Derezzed by Daft Punk is up next, and, although I've seen this video a number of times, it's such a slick video that I never mind watching this again. I'm normally not a big techno guy, but this is a damn good song from Daft Punk, and a very cool video which fits right into this cyberworld created in the movie.

The only other things we get here are two informative Disney videos about Blu-ray 3D, which is done with the animated characters Timon and Pumba from The Lion King, and another one about how use your DisneyFile Digital Copy.
The picture on Tron: Legacy is displayed in glorious 1080p high definition on the Blu-ray, with an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. The original Tron is displayed in 1080p as well, with an aspect ratio of 2.20:1. I have to say, this new digital restoration of the original Tron is simply stunning. The movie has NEVER looked better, and you can even compare this new restoration to how the movie originally looked on some of the special features. Major kudos to whoever is responsible for the digital restoration of Tron: The Original Classic. As annoyed as I was that they didn't release the original Tron on Blu-ray before Tron: Legacy, if the reason is because of the amazing restoration, then I guess I don't mind as much.
The audio is handled through the 7.1 DTS-HD format on the Blu-ray, and the DVS 2.0 Dolby Digital on the DVD. The sound is quite amazing on both movies.
This five-disc set is crammed into a normal BD keep case, which also comes with a nifty slipcover. They also do a nice job of listing the extensive special features on the back, along with brief synopses of both movies, tech specs and a little infographic on what you need to watch the 3D Blu-ray version of Tron: Legacy. Like all Disney releases, there are also some goodies inside the package. There is a collectible lithograph featuring an image from the original Tron, a little pamphlet about Disney 3D, another pamphlet on the Disney Movie Rewards program and another little ad pamphlet. All in all, another fantastic job by the Disney folks!
All in all, this set is the perfect way to delve into the full Tron experience. You can watch both feature films, Tron: The Next Day short and even a glimpse at the Tron: Uprising animated series. However, while watching both movies back-to-back didn't really rectify my problems with Tron: Legacy, I did appreciate it a little bit more. You will really appreciate how ahead of its time the original Tron was, and how truly stunning Tron: Legacy is all in one package with this jam-packed five-disc set.

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Comments (5)

  1. Brian Gallagher

    @corey@brian Thanks guys! Much obliged!

    4 years agoby @gallagherFlag

  2. Corey W.

    An awesome review, dude! AWESOME!

    4 years agoby @coreyFlag

  3. Brian

    Wow. Nice work.

    4 years agoby @brianFlag

  4. Brian Gallagher

    @dan1 Thanks man!

    4 years agoby @gallagherFlag

  5. Dan

    Hardcore review, man. Very good :)

    4 years agoby @dan1Flag