Salvaging the Legacy of TRON
My wife and I watched the original TRON movie the other night. I borrowed it from the library. I hadn’t seen the movie since I was teenager. Back then I loved the movie. I loved the visual effects, the action, and the idea of being inside a computer. I think the latter was the most appealing to the 13-year-old me: that being inside a computer was just like playing a video game. In that respect the movie was made for the first generation of kids to come of age with video games.
I also fed many quarters into the original TRON game at several arcades.
As a teenager I also owned what my friends and I called a “TRON mirror.” It wasn’t a mirror. It was a glass part of the video game cabinet. It was cool. It had been salvaged from the Bally Midway manufacturing plant that was in my town. My friends and I would salvage materials from the dumpster at night. Materials were thrown away if they had even slight blemish. Bad for arcades but cool for us geeks. I once got a Wizard of Wor sign that was used for the top part of the arcade cabinet.
The TRON panel I had was from the large cabinet for the Discs of TRON game. You can see it here.
It’s the portion with TRON’s arms held up over his head. It was fairly large. This I did not salvage myself. Someone else did and I traded cash and few other things (I think 5 1/4 inch floppy discs). Oddly enough, I don’t ever remember playing Discs of TRON.
I had that glass panel for many years and then it was sold at a garage sale when my parents cleaned out my old bedroom.
My future wife wouldn’t let me bring the TRON panel into our apartment when we moved in together.
Which is just as well, I suppose. TRON is not as good as I remember it being to my teenage self. The movie has little to almost no character development and a plot that is quite thin. Though still much better than TRON: Legacy. That was a horrible movie with great special effects and an even better soundtrack by Daft Punk (which I still listen to quite frequently). Whereas the first movie could have told a more complete and interesting story, but didn’t, the sequel tried to cram too much story into a short period of time leaving numerous plot holes.
This is a shame because with time and hindsight, and a better budget, the sequel could have been an improvement to the original TRON. As it stands now, TRON: Legacy looks more like a missed opportunity for making what could have been a compelling piece of science fiction.
P.S. I also learned, thanks to the DVD extras, that the original TRON was not nominated for an Oscar for Best Special Effects. The reason given was that because they relied on computers to generate the special effects that it was somehow “cheating.”
P.P.S. My wife hated TRON: Legacy and I think still holds it against me for wasting two hours of her time.