TRON is, I say with no shame to speak of, one of my all-time favorite films (it’s so me and Al Gore will always have something to discuss). So when Walt Disney Studios decided to revive its viral campaign a second time (the first being San Diego Comic-Con’s reincarnation of Flynn’s Arcade) and combine it with my hometown, I was at the ready.
It all started when Flynn Lives, a grassroots campaign of members unknown, published what was almost immediately identified as a binary clock counting down to February 24 at 11 am ET. Apparently ENCOM CEO Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) had gone missing twenty years ago and hadn’t been heard of since, but the organization is certain Flynn is alive and is doing whatever it can to bring his cause to the nation’s attention.
As the countdown continued, a list of 25 cities worldwide appeared below the clock. Then at 11 AM ET on February 24, the cities were each listed alongside a numbered grid and — throughout the day — cities would become active, requesting than a volunteer operative go to a designated location revealed only when the city opened up (an arcade) and be the first to locate a contact in a FLYNN LIVES tshirt and pass along the secret phrase. In return, the operative received a nylon TRON wallet containing newspaper clippings about the campaign, three TRON trading cards (which then translated into the numbered mosaic of a new image from the film) and a Flynn’s Arcade token.
It was then revealed that a special IMAX event would be taking place earlier today with limited tickets simultaneously becoming available at 9 PM GMT for five cities: Los Angeles and New York in the United States, Toronto, London and Sydney. Based on the audience size, I suspect no more than 50-75 tickets were available (each being a +1), so I was fortunate enough to secure one.
Entering the IMAX theatre (the 8-story tall one in New York), we were handed our 3D Glasses and a free FLYNN LIVES tshirt and found our seats. Shortly after 10 am ET, the lights dimmed and the trailer unceremoniously began. And now, the review/spoilers:
Most of the trailer is a voiceover conversation between Kevin Flynn’s son, Sam (Garret Hedlund), and Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) who appears to be in some sort of power position at ENCOM.
As we see an aerial shot of the ENCOM headquarters (all we really see is the top of the building and the COM backwards), Bradley speaks (Note: Quotes may not and are probably not exact. They are a byproduct of my heavily fragmented memory):
I told you if I ever heard anything about what happened to your father, I would let you know.
Now we see inside the Bradley’s office, him standing with Sam sitting on a sofa. The immediate impression based on his tone is that Sam has simply been hounding the man for information all this time to no avail — or so we might think.
I received a text message last night from your father’s office at the arcade.
So… the number it originated from has been disconnected for years.
Creepy? Or just another movie cliche? You decide.
As the two continue talking, we see name entering what was once Flynn’s Arcade, now covered in dust with plastic covering the machines. He heads straight to the back and finds the TRON machine.
Slipping a quarter into the slot, it’s immediately returned and drops to the floor. Next thing we know, the back wall rotates, revealing a hidden, makeshift but very high-tech office with a familiar blue laser.
Yadda, yadda, yadda and welcome to TRON City, 2010. We know from the film’s creators that the city has thrived and evolved over the past couple of decades and not necessarily for the better.
Our first glimpse inside the city is that of a Recognizer, that time has obviously not forgotten. As awesome and intimidating as the Recognizers were in the first film, this one is just painfully beautiful, sleek and modern as it effortlessly hovers throughout space. Its cameo immediately invoked a round of applause from the audience. Seemingly not quite as menacing looking as the original, we must remember that nature tells us that the most beautiful creatures are often the most deadly.
We then see Sam rising up through the air in some enclosed circular device with windows, followed by a bunch of quick cuts if various characters we are sure to encounter such as a white-haired, mulleted individual (who looks more like a reject from the Rocky Horror Picture Show) strumming the air guitar on what appears to be an immense allen wrench.
We also catch a rather provocative look at a sexy program named Qora (Olivia Wilde) as she lays stretched across a couch in her skintight program attire. She is followed immediately by the recently released image of what appears to be the disc game, showing the back of a program with its identity disc in hand by its waist.
We also get a look at what appears to be several programs, but their glowing accents are no longer limited to blue and red. Now they come in a virtual rainbow of colors.
And we hear the following snippet of conversation:
‘it’s been a long time, Dad.’
‘You have NO idea.’
Enter the face of Kevin Flynn.
We are then shown the title treatment for the film (all in 3D of course) followed by our real first look at a few lightcycles (just a bit of a look though), followed by another title card showing the release date of December 17, 2010.
All in all, it really appeared to be more of a teaser trailer then a more traditional one and was void of any action, but I suspect there’s still quite a bit of post-production to be done so we should probably expect to see a bit more in the upcoming months. Action is going to be the key seller on this film, but it’s absolutely visually stunning from what the trailer does reveal.
The trailer is expected to be attached to Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland when it’s released next week.