Thursday, October 28, 2010

TRON Night

Adopting the strategy that 20th Century Fox did with the tooting of the horn for James Cameron's Avatar with a 15 minute preview in 3D, Walt Disney Studios released a 23 minute, 7 scene preview of the upcoming TRON: Legacy worldwide, and Singapore is lucky enough to be one of the cities to organize this preview for free (i.e. lucky patrons only), albeit not in the IMAX format since we're one of the cities left in the world not to boast an IMAX Screen, at least not until next year when Shaw Lido reopens.

Every week for the next 10 week countdown, keep an eye out for Walt Disney's rolling out of various film content, events, products and announcements in preparation for the worldwide film launch, which will premiere a day earlier in Singapore on 16 Dec 2010 barring any last minute schedule changes.

I have to admit though I was only a kid when I saw the original TRON movie, and wasn't too taken by it. Boasting some eye popping graphics for its time, the film garnered a cult following, and yes, it took that long to actually come up with a sequel, though it's quite apt since its presentation rides on a new wave of 3D films, and the narrative structure allows for this 3D presentation to be pushing the right boundaries. What's my opinion of the 3D visuals from the preview? Stunningly beautiful.

A total of 7 scenes were presented that last about 23 minutes in total, mostly centered around the first half of the film and in some ways tells of the basic premise and what to expect. Two scenes were in 2D though - those set in the "real world", although the entire film is designed for the audience to put on those glasses from the get go. In any case I'll launch into the specific scenes shown tonight, and for those who are spoiler tolerant, read on then:

- A conversation piece in the "real world" (2D presentation) between Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) and Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) which touches upon the disappearance of Sam's dad Kevin (Jeff Bridges), ENCOM board's pleasure in knowing that Sam has no interest in taking over the running of the business, and the mysterious page Alan receives which was touched on in the theatrical trailer. It's also established from the start that Sam's quite competent in handling the Ducarti motorbike, which of course will serve him well later on...

- Still in the real world, where Sam heeds Alan's advice to check out his father's old Arcade, and we get a trip down 80s nostalgia with tunes such as Sweet Dreams by the Eurythmics, and the video game Tron, before Sam discovers his father's underground lab, and also as seen in the trailer, his meddling meant having to zap himself into the electronic world...

- Continuing still from some scenes from the trailer where Sam first lands into the Grid, and gets picked up and transported aerially, which provides for some vertigo inducing scenes, hundreds of feet up high in a transporter that tests the sound system of the cinema hall. Welcome to TRON City! And things aren't looking too well with Sam being selected for the Games...

- But being a program within the city means having to look the part. Sam's human world clothing get ripped apart and reconstructed by four pretty program chicks known as Sirens, all dressed in skin tight white and who operate the Grid Game armoury, equipping Sam with the iconic TRON costume and an Identity Disc that doubles as both a tagging, memory device, as well as a weapon. Here's where you hear Beau Garrett's Jem tell Sam that the objective is to "survive".

- Disc Wars! Sam takes on another program and we got to see the entire battle wholesale. Some clips from this battle were included in the theatrical trailer.

- The warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde) rescues Sam from the Grid Games in a mean looking dragster buggy. An extended drive follows where they drive off the Grid and Quorra reveals herself to be of a female form, from the deep male voice hiding her feminine features behind a full-faced helmet. The sequence here is nothing more than perfunctory, and something I thought was vaguely similar to that of 1989's Batman where Batman rescues Vicki Vale and they go on this long drive in the Batmobile back to the Batcave...

- But the cave itself reveals to be the abode of Sam's father Kevin Flynn, where father and son awkwardly reunites, having not seen each other for more than 20 years.

Michael Sheen as Castor then comes on to wrap up the preview with a montage, which included glimpses of the TRON light cycle battles, as well as a sneak peek into the various vehicles utilized, including those involving flight as well, before the TRON: Legacy logo comes on with the premiere date and boasting the various formats this film will be screened in.

To be honest, Daft Punk's soundtrack was more of the appeal to me, although watching this preview had more or less convinced me that I'll be in for a good ride, especially in a 3D cinema hall with a proper sound system set up, where you can actually feel some sonic boom going around when it comes to the big action sequences. I'm ready to buckle down for the ride in December!

Can't Wait!

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