Tonight (really last night now that it's passed midnight) was Tron Night, a world-wide event where Disney was screening 23 minutes of mostly unseen Tron: Legacy footage, for free, in IMAX 3D theaters. I managed to register for tickets on October 12th (one ticket for myself and a guest) at the AMC on Broadway and W68th, in case you were wondering.
Before I get to talking about the footage though, I'm just curious if others at other theaters had the same issue that I did. It seemed like no one at the theater I went to knew what was going on regarding Tron Night, and I had to change the line I was in about four times. So I hope Disney or whoever was supposed to set this thing up did a better job where you were. Now for the part you came for, the footage!
Tron: Legacy is the first 3D film I've seen that really seems to use 3D for a purpose, which may bother some people, I'll explain. What we were shown were five (I think?) scenes, from different moments of the film's first half (or so we were told), and not all of them take place in the TRON world itself, obviously.
The first scene brings us to Sam Flynn's pad, a garage really, where he live's with his French Bulldog, and it's revealed that Alan Bradley has been Sam's surrogate father since Flynn's disappearance, and that the company (Encom presumably) would rather have Sam out of the picture. But Alan gives Sam word that he received a page the previous night (yes, PAGERS), and gives Sam the key to Flynn's Arcade, which has been seemingly shut down since the 80s. Sam enters, sets up the Tron arcade cabinet, and notices weird grooves on the floor, and somehow figures to move the cabinet, reveal a door, and then go down what seemed like endless flights of stares to find his father's secret workplace. Also, 80s pop music all around, it was pretty awesome.
Next we see Sam, in "The Grid," it seems like he's just entered the world, but the scene number was about 5 scene after, so, who knows. He's picked up by a Recognizer, and you see THIS IS 3D. Which is what I meant by Tron: Legacy uses 3D with a purpose, all the real world stuff is 2D, but when you get to the game world it's in spectacular 3D. It's here that we see other programs trapped on the grid, some more willing to fight than others, some with pixelated chunks taken out of their face. The next scene has Sam receiving his Tron-suit (is there an official name for the outfits? I don't remember...) and Data Disc from four emotionless women, and is then brought into the Game Grid, where he must face off in his first match of Disc Wars, which has changed a bit since his father played it in 1982.
The final, and longest scene we got to see was Sam and who is soon reveal to be Quorra, riding in a light-car being chased by 2 light-cycles, and they soon escape and go off-road through digital-blue mountains to a small place in the distance. It's here that we see Kevin Flynn, a much older Kevin Flynn who seems to be doing some sort of meditation and is nothing like the youthful Flynn we saw back in the old TRON, and I hope there's some explanation for that. Sam soon finally gets to speak with his father, and while their expressions and music were telling me the scene was sad, it was hard to get emotional when it was out of context. Finally, after all that, we were treated to a clip reel of both new and old clips and it was awesome.
Overall, I'm happy with what I saw. However, I don't know if I'm convinced on seeing the film in IMAX, because it might be too big, especially for a film like this where I really want to look at every little thing on screen. Also, and I'll blame this on my eyes, but some of the scenes looked out of focus, and when I saw the trailers in 3D at other non-IMAX theaters I didn't seem to have that issue. Some people in the crowd seemed upset when a disclaimer came up on screen before the footage saying the opening scenes would be 2D, but it makes a lot of sense in my mind, that's the effect that makes the game world seem so special and different. If the original Tron made using computer graphics to tell a story an accepted practice, then hopefully Tron: Legacy teaches people that 3D can work too when it's given a purpose. Of course, not everyone will be happy about paying the 3D premium for a film that only uses it 3/4 of the time, but I'd rather see a 3D film that uses it well 3/4 of the time than a film that uses really crappy 3D for all of the film.
Tron: Legacy releases in 3D, IMAX 3D, and 2D on December 17th.