Stars Jeff Bridges, Olivia Wilde, debutant director Joseph Kosinki and vehicle designer Daniel Simon were among the luminaries on display at the Leicester Square premiere of TRON: Legacy, the long awaited follow up to 1982’s TRON, a film that had the misfortune to be released within a month of Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner and Stephen Spielberg’s E.T. (And, for what it’s worth, Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan).
TRON is seen by many (notably including the great Roger Ebert) as an overlooked gem, and it is certainly true that its themes of the simulacra, the “grid” and the general dystopian suspicion of computers overtaking the world have proved fertile fodder for science fiction movies ever since.
Disney, not known as the greatest Science Fiction studio, at long last revisits the 1982 minor cult classic, and has given it the full Hollywood blockbuster treatment. Flickfeast spoke to Daniel Simon, the Ducati motorcycle designer who was brought in to update Syd Mead’s famous Light-cycles for the 21st century.
Flickfeast: Can we see in TRON a reflexive warning to the movie industry: Could the machines take over?
Daniel Simon: I think the machines have taken over already. We felt that during the film making; we certainly feel this right now: everything goes live all over the world. Look: you have apps on your phone that talk to you and know exactly what you want – It’s here: that’s the thing you’re talking about.
Jeff Bridges, who starred in the original movie and reprises his role as Kevin Flynn, and with the aid of digital magic, also appears as his thirty year-old former self in the character of Clu.
Flickfeast: Jeff, do you feel your pension is safe, now you can be digitised and brought back – will you get any more work?
Jeff Bridges: I don’t know man; but there’s no question about the threat from that. It’s amazing what they can do these days. But I still had to act all of Clu’s parts: They just made me look prettier.
Flickfeast: The original TRON anticipated Blade Runner, it anticipated the Matrix, and maybe even Terminator. Where’s this one going to take us?
Jeff Bridges: Well you just don’t know and with this new technology and these digital cameras, the boundaries are endless: they can take us anywhere.
Flickfeast: Is TRON: Legacy a sign that the thinking sci-fi is coming back into the mainstream?
Jeff Bridges: I sure hope so – when we came into this that was certainly something I was concerned about: I didn’t want to just make another film full of eye candy – I wanted to make something for the head for sure and I think we achieved that here.
TRON: Legacy is released in cinemas nationwide on December 17th.