Tron vs. Tron Legacy

While the new Tron Legacy movie has had mixed reviews, I wanted to share some great things about the new movie as compared to the original.  Some may say Tron Legacy is all visual and lacking story, while others think it is more for the original diehard fans.  Either way, here are some illustrated comparisons that show how similar the two movies really are and the attention that was paid to the original.  BEWARE SPOILERS!


POSTER
The original Tron poster shows Tron and Yori in the famous pose using the identity disc to communicate with the outside world.  In the original it was only Tron who did this, to communicate with his User, Alan1.  In the new poster, it shows Sam Flynn and Quorra in a similar pose, but this time it’s not to communicate to the outside world, but to enter it.


ACTORS
Ok, so the new movie is a sequel from the original that was released 28 years ago.  No problem.  But wait, you’re using the same actors?  Problem?  Nah!  Both Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner are reprising their roles of Kevin Flynn and Alan Bradley.  The sequel is taking place 28 years later, so they will look fine.  But what about their programs?  A User’s program takes on his appearance in the digital world when it was created.  How would Tron (Alan) and Clu (Flynn) look like they did back in the 1980′s?  It’s amazing how they can digitally scan the movements of an actor’s face and replicate them on a digital, CGI model that looks younger (see Clu comparison below).  The Clu head was one of the most fascinating (and probably most challenging) aspect of Tron Legacy and I personally think they pulled it off beautifully!  Kudos!


OUTFITS
While filing the original Tron, the actors wore white outfits with black detailed lines.  Later they would use optical effects to reverse the look of the suits to black with glowing lines.  I think it was the only way they knew how to do it successfully!  But in the new movie, the actors were in actual suits with lighted detail lines that would be turned on and off when shooting.


IDENTITY DISC
A Program’s Identity Disc is essential.  “Everything you do or learn will be imprinted onto this disc.  If you lose your disc you will be subject to immediate deresolution.”  I added this quote of the disc instructions because I was pleased to hear that the exact word-for-word quote was used in both movies.  Sure, the new movie featured a hot-sounding, echoing female voice, but it was still great.  The Identity Disc connects to the program’s back, but is used for disc battle games, connecting to the outside world, general self defense, and more!


LIGHTCYCLES
Yeah baby!  These are easily my favorite part.  In the original movie, after Flynn survived his disc battle, he was immedately transported to the lightcycle grid where he was part of a team going up against another team.  The lightcycle starts from a baton and materializes around the program as they begin to drive.  The lightcycle leaves a trail that is a wall made of light and the object of the game is to run your opponents into these walls.  This was an amazing scene from the 1982 movie and would have high expectations in the sequel.  The original test footage that was shown at Comic-Con for Tron Legacy primarily featured a lightcycle race and it blew the fans away!  The new lightcycles are different from the originals, but the game remains the same.  Players merge with the lightcycle (still starting from a baton) and battle with their light walls.  I have to admit I had tears in my eyes while watching this scene in Tron Legacy because it was something that I had grown up with and was so impressed.  So thank you for that, as it was worth the price of several admissions.


RECOGNIZER
The Recognizer is one of the best improvements in Tron Legacy.  The original Tron featured this sentry vehicle as a grouping of polygons that acted as the guards of the grid and could be blown apart.  The new updated version featured an amazing artistic design and increased functionality.  Used as a transport for rogue programs, the Recognizer is a beautiful and intimidating piece of machinery.


CLU
Any program in the computer that was written by a person in the real world (User) has the striking resembelence of that User in the digital world.  Alan wrote the program Tron, Kevin Flynn wrote the program Clu.  When Flynn gets zapped into the computer as a user, theoretically there should be two “beings” in that digital world that look alike.  Alas, Clu was derezzed in the first movie before Flynn entered, so they never met face to face.  But that all changed in Tron Legacy.  Clu was originally created to infiltrate the Master Control Program (MCP) and find evidence that Kevin Flynn was the designer behind Encom’s hugely successful string of video games.  When the MCP found Clu, he was destroyed.  It took Flynn himself and Tron to defeat the MCP.  Since then, Flynn has re-created Clu and has put him in charge of his own digital world (The Grid).  Flynn goes in and out at will, and still with the help of Tron, the three of them create The Grid as we know it today.  When Clu tries to take over, they meet face-to-face like never before!  The update Clu program presented a challenge to the movie makers of Tron Legacy because the program is supposed to look like the user when it’s created.  Flynn created this new Clu years ago, so while Flynn looks older, Clu must look like a younger version.


DISC WARS
One of the games that is played in the digital world is Disc Battles.  Using their Identity Discs as a type of boomerang, they are hurled at an opponent in hopes of a direct hit and a deresolution.  The players have to agile and avoid their opponent’s discs while throwing and catching their own.  The arena that they play in is also unique as the discs bounce off some walls and can destroy other walls.  In the original movie, the combatants played a version of Hi-Li where they hurled a ball of light at each other, bouncing off the ceiling, and the combatants would have to catch it.  If they missed a catch, the ball would hit the floor and eliminate that part of the floor, possible causing the player to fall.  In the new movie, the disc battles took place in an arena that had these walls that would bounce or eliminate when hit.


DEREZZED
Derezing or Deresolution is made out to be a fate worse than death.  It seems there is no afterlife for programs, and when they are derezzed, they are permanently deleted.  Programs may be derezzed as punishment, or can be derezzed while playing games.


TANKS
The Tanks on the grid played a larger role in the first movie.  The tanks are part of one of the games that Kevin Flynn created, but in The Grid they were controlled by the MCP and attacked Flynn, Tron, and Ram as they tried to escape.  Unfortunatley, the new-look tank only makes a brief cameo in the new movie.


COMPUTER DESK
Showing off how advanced Encom really is, we see Edward Dillinger using a computer desk that is a huge touch-screen computer.  While it seemed amazing at the time, nowadays it seems very doable.  After Flynn defeated the MCP and took over Encom, he must have adopted the same technology as his personal desk in his secret lab was very similar.  When Sam found it he realized what it was and actived the laser which sucked him into The Grid.


LOVE AFFAIR
Every good movie has to have a love affair, or a love triangle, and the Tron saga is no exception.  In the original movie, before we get into the digital world, we learn that Alan is involved with Lora, but she used to date Kevin Flynn.  Once in the digital world, Alan’s program Tron and Lora’s program Yori are involved, even though the User Flynn runs into Yori.  In Tron Legacy, Sam, the user in the digital world, meets Quorra, an ISO who lives with his father, Kevin Flynn.  Sam and Quorra hit it off and it seems to be all part of Kevin’s plans.

So there’s a lot of comparison information so suck up.  There are obviously more similarities in the movie, but it’s a start.  If you haven’t seen the movie, GO SEE IT!  If you have, you may have missed a lot of the good stuff that pays homage to the original.  I hope this helps make your second viewing better!

OTHER RESOURCES:

UGO – Best Moments of Fan Service in Tron Legacy

io9 – 15 Easter Eggs to Watch Out For in Tron Legacy

The Ultimate Tron Recap

Tron and Facebook featured on South Park

Walter Cronkite’s 1982 Investigation of TRON

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