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Twenty Five Years of Tron

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the it's-all-about-the-light-bikes dept.

Movies 156

the_quiet_angeleno writes "I have an article in today's Summer Film Preview issue of Los Angeles CityBeat on Disney's sci-fi classic Tron, which is celebrating it's 25th anniversary this year. The piece includes a discussion with Richard Taylor, one of Tron's visual effects supervisors on the film's groundbreaking effects, as well as director Steven Lisberger, on how the narrative incorporates the Jungian concept of individuation. Here's a sample: 'Visual Effects Society member Gene Kozicki, of the L.A.-based visual effects house Rhythm & Hues, believes Tron's legacy was in moving computer-generated visuals into the realm of storytelling. "Research into this type of imagery had been going on for over 15 years, but it was more scientific in nature," Kozicki says, "Once artists began to share their ideas and treat the computer as a tool, it moved away from strict research and towards an art form."

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Tron! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277415)

That move changed my life! Up until then I wanted to be a stormtrooper. After seeing Tron I wanted to be a light cycle driver. I ended up being a shift manager at a flour mill. Wee. NoonooNOO noonooNOOnooNOO-nooo...

Re:Tron! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277513)

You should watch ANY James Bond movie. That will give you a new motivation a career change to a random henchman with a wrench for any high-tech ultravillain.

Re:Tron! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19279297)

"Trhaaaaaaaaan!"

- from "The Wrath of Tron"

Lest we forget, Star Trek II [imdb.com] came out a month before Tron [imdb.com] (June 4 and July 9, respectively in 1982).

Storytelling? (5, Insightful)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277453)

Tron's legacy was in moving computer-generated visuals into the realm of storytelling.

Sadly, there was not a lot of compelling storytelling in that movie. The script was pretty bad, as was much of the acting (my opinion of course)

Tron opened against ET, and it bombed at the box office. Some people say that Tron's failure at the box office set back CG animation by 10 years. Most studios back then saw the technology as expensive and not worth the investment. Only after CG got it's feet wet in commercials and broadcast in the 80's did the movie studios embrace it again.

Re:Storytelling? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277745)

Sadly, there was not a lot of compelling storytelling in that movie. The script was pretty bad, as was much of the acting

That didn't stop it from gaining a cult following, several computer games, and this article. You can criticize the movie all you want, but the people who made it are already more famous and influential than you will ever be. They must have done *something* right.

Re:Storytelling? (1)

deathy_epl+ccs (896747) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277773)

Not that Tron was CG.

Re:Storytelling? (4, Informative)

MS-06FZ (832329) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278121)

Not that Tron was CG.
No, it wasn't CG. A lot of it was live-action, filmed on physical sets, with rotoscoping techniques for the "glow" on characters and objects.

But it featured CG... The entire lightcycle sequence, for instance - well, not counting shots of the characters or the interiors of the vehicles...

Re:Storytelling? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19279409)

Matteing (sp?), rotoscoping, green screening, test footage, color balancing, timing and running footage through multi-head printers multiple times, and the hundred other things needed to pull all the elements together...

THAT was when moviemaking was WORK and the postproduction people EARNED their money with their art, as opposed to today's "let the computers render it".

(How many Slashdotters here have gone to repeat theater showings of the original Star Wars (since today is 30 years) when some house would show it, just to "see the edges" of the compositing?)

We had a local small theater that used to run it on its anniversary (July 9th) for about 10 years. One day, be it weekday or weekend, three showings, _always_ total sellouts (he used to run StarWars (New Hope) too with the same results). You could walk in there and _know_ you were among trufen. Nobody EVER went to work on those days.

Re:Tron's box office numbers (1)

Clockworkalien (1099495) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278095)

Sure, it had to compete with E.T, which destroyed it at the box office. However, "Tron" did not fail - it cost $17,000,000 to produce, and it made $33,000,000 domestically. Don't try to blame "Tron" on the reluctance of Hollywood to try new technology.

Re:Tron's box office numbers (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279103)

Speaking of Hollywood reluctance, I wonder what ever happened to the Tron sequel? A few years ago, Disney was in a buzz about how the new Tron movie was coming out soon. They even made the Tron 2.0 game to ride the promotion wave. Yet nothing ever appeared, and the very idea of a sequel seems to have vanished into the ether.

To be blunt: What happened?

Re:Tron's box office numbers (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279109)

Sadly, I contributed to E.T. doing so much better than Tron. My paper route income didn't leave me with enough funds after paying for my D&D/Traveler/RuneQuest habit to see both, and I hadn't really discovered computers yet, so I decided to see the movie by the guy who had done CE3K. I was very disappointed; there wasn't enough science or violence to hold my interest. I should have seen Tron, where at least there was violence. :-)

Re:Storytelling? (1)

befletch (42204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278385)

Speaking of Tron and ET... John Williams was the composer for ET, Star Wars, Jaws, Indiana Jones, and just about every other movie I can remember the theme song to. I've often wondered how things would have turned out if he composed the theme for Tron and someone else did Star Wars. Seriously, check out his movie credits:

John Williams [imdb.com]

Nuts to storytelling. Would it have been so easy to accept that terrible Star Wars dialog without the awesome theme music to carry things along?

Re:Storytelling? (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280001)

Walter/Wendy Carlos did the music for Tron. Same person that did the Beethoven electronica for Clockwork Orange. Definitely not a John Williams, But excellent in in his/her/it's own right.

Last Starfighter (4, Informative)

Tony (765) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278899)

There were other movies with tons of CG not long after, like The Last Starfighter. Most of them had poor scripts as well. TRON didn't set the CG industry back 10 years; it was 10 years ahead of its time.

And, it *was* expensive. Unless you were after the CG look of the time, there was no reason to use CG.

Re:Last Starfighter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19279627)

"like The Last Starfighter. Most of them had poor scripts as well."

The Last Starfighter was a fucking terrible movie, plot-wise. One of the worst movies I've seen.

Re:Last Starfighter (2, Funny)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280213)

The Last Starfighter was a fucking terrible movie, plot-wise. One of the worst movies I've seen.
Anonymous Coward go back to sleep or I'm telling mom about your Playboys

Re:Last Starfighter (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19280239)

Ignore previous comment about The Last Starfighter being terrible. I had that mixed up with Silent Running. Sorry.

Re:Storytelling? (1)

smchris (464899) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279785)

Thank God you said it first.

To be kind, I think maybe it's a generational thing. It was Disney after all. It really is a kid's movie and I was too old at the release to connect with it. Nothing inherently bad about that either way.

Re:Storytelling? (1)

a2n3d7y (1058404) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280077)

Thats lame. You must work in marketing.

Misread (2, Funny)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277455)

I first thought it said 25 years of pron

Honour it! (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277471)

With some ARMAGETRON! http://armagetronad.net/ [armagetronad.net] (linux pkgs and sourcecode incl)

Re:Honour it! (1)

Slyfoot (1020559) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280041)

Armagetron is truly awesome. It bodes well for open source gaming!

Bring in the logic probe! (4, Funny)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277481)

For a long time, I carried around a logic probe in my tool kit. I didn't need one for my work...I just liked grabbing it and shouting in my best David Warner voice, "Bring in the logic probe!". ^_^

I also said "Greetings, programs!" way more often than I should have...

Re:Bring in the logic probe! (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277541)

A little off topic, but if you're bored or interested you can make your own Lightcycle out of paper:
http://aliens.humlak.cz/aliens/aliens_papirove_mod ely/bonus-tron-cycle_gb.html [humlak.cz]
It looks really neat and should be on any Geek's desk.

Re:Bring in the logic probe! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278233)

Still looking for the "maximize" button when your Mac has "zoom" [apple.com] instead? Take the hint, switcheurs: If you can't cope with multiple windows, GTFO of our platform. The Mac wasn't designed for one-track minds.

Is that a logic probe in your pocket... (1)

NeuroManson (214835) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278461)

Or are you just glad to see me?

More than just movies (5, Funny)

bobo mahoney (1098593) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277497)

Tron's special effects have influenced in more than just movies. Just take a look at case mods and riced out cars sporting neon to see just how much people liked Tron.

Re:More than just movies (5, Funny)

vurg (639307) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277523)

Yea, the only thing that's missing is a DIY Tron outfit. If someone comes up with that, it would rule. It would be a challenge to anyone regardless of skill or physical fitness.

Re:More than just movies (4, Funny)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277929)

Um you mean like this Tron Guy [tronguy.net] ?

Re:More than just movies (1)

ashitaka (27544) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279141)

You really shouldn't have done that. A whole new set of people will need eye bleach.

Actually I've got a lot of respect for Jay. He made the effort to create something and did a good job of it. Must be kickass at costume parties and halloween.

Just remember to wear a cup next time Jay, m'kay?

Re:More than just movies (1)

localman (111171) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279253)

I've also got a lot of respect for him because he reminds me of those funky middle aged guys you always see in amateur porn getting it on with astonishingly attractive ladies. Go Jay!

Re:More than just movies (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280245)

Tron & Pr0n... a perfect combination

Obligatory (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277579)

Obligatory tron guy repost.

TRON was just the (0, Troll)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277651)

beta of the Matrix..

Re:TRON was just the (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277695)

If Tron is the beta of the Matrix, then what would that make Automan?

Re:TRON was just the (2, Funny)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277863)

Craptastic. Honestly, Automan was just barely better than Manimal.

Re:TRON was just the (2, Informative)

naoursla (99850) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277979)

Ah... Manimal and Automan... brings back memories of my terribly misspent youth.

I think that was around the same time as "Otherworld" and "V: The Series".

Re:TRON was just the (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278217)

I have been trying to think of that shows name for months, but the few times I tried looking it up online, I didn't find anything. "Cursor" just brings up too many hits.

Re:TRON was just the (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278039)

If Tron was The Matrix's beta, then Matrix Revolutions was like SWG's NGE.

Too many festivities (1)

Tatisimo (1061320) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277653)

We're getting tons of festivities, all together: towel day, Star Wars tuned 30, now tron. I say we declare may Nerd Pride Month.

Re:Too many festivities (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278019)

....just had to add: They lost and found Scotty!

Homeland security risk? (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277663)

I remember seeing this [kuro5hin.org] at the /. firehose a while ago but it never made the front page.

Was it a joke or something?

Re:Homeland security risk? (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277721)

Um..yes. The story you mention was posted the day before April 1st and if you read the article you'll see the agent in question is named Lirpa Sloof.

Re:Homeland security risk? (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277765)

Was it a joke or something?

Thu Mar 29, 2007 at 11:29:57 AM EST

Probably aiming for April 1 and missed.

Re:Homeland security risk? (1)

Contrabandwidth (873647) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277915)

Check the date. Seems to be an early april fools joke to me :)

thanks for the story about Tron (0, Flamebait)

Adult film producer (866485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277711)

Need some balance here. I'm sick & tired of the coverage that the overrated Star Wars franchise has been getting lately. It's like Al Gore, just give it a rest, we heard your story now move on. Same thing goes to you Lucas, you've had your five minutes of fame now ge the hell out. The original trilogy wasn't all that good and the natalie portman/jar-jar shitfest was an embarrassment to the silverscreen.

Great sci-fi, like Tron, is totally underappreciated in favor of mass-marketed starwars'ish puke.

Re:thanks for the story about Tron (0, Offtopic)

tinrobot (314936) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277753)

Not to hijack the thread, but I love Al Gore's stories.

So there.

Re:thanks for the story about Tron (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278443)

.... It's like Al Gore, just give it a rest, we heard your story now move on. Same thing goes to you Lucas... Great sci-fi, like Tron, is totally underappreciated in favor of mass-marketed starwars'ish puke.
Your post has given me a rare opportunity to quote Dennis Miller, something I never realized I'd be doing when I woke up this morning.

"Al Gore... This guys a real visionary. His favorite movie is Tron for Christsake!" -- Dennis Miller

If you say so. (0)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277713)

We just had an article on 30 years of Star Wars, a movie saga that started with some of the most sophisticated computer generated effects ever seen in its time. And it didn't rely on them like a crutch like this.. other movie.

Now, a movie that came 5 years later is being touted as one that opened the doors to computer generated effects as art and a compelling storytelling platform. Someone's not blowing their own horn I hope?

And, seriously, a movie that sucked hard compared to A New Hope.

Mod me down, but the premise behind Tron was no more believable (less, to me) than a mysterious "force" that permeates the universe that can be bent to human will with enough effort and skill -- and definitely not as cool.

TLF

Re:If you say so. (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278055)

the premise behind Tron was no more believable (less, to me) than a mysterious "force" that permeates the universe that can be bent to human will with enough effort and skill -- and definitely not as cool.

Two words: Midichlorians.

Re:If you say so. (1)

Nephilium (684559) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278483)

Two words: Midichlorians.

Wouldn't that be one word? :)

Nephilium

Re:If you say so. (2, Insightful)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278505)

Hey, until Phantom Menace, it wasn't even one word.

Re:If you say so. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278243)

The effects in the (original) Star Wars movies weren't done with computers, as hard as you might find that to believe these days. Effects like lasers and exploding Death Stars were done with the magic of matte painting, detailed model work, fancy pyrotechnics, and most importantly, the optical printer, which is a fancy term for a souped-up mechanical movie camera hooked up to a mechanical movie projector.

Re:If you say so. (2, Informative)

vrmlguy (120854) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278691)

Unfortunately, Star Wars didn't use any computer generated effects. The original version was done the old fashioned way, with models and latex. A few years later, Lucas decided that CGI was the way of the future, so he took a hunk of his profits and started a little company to design and manufacture CGI hardware. They did a lot of the effects for Wrath of Khan, among other things, but they never did as well as Lucas had hoped so he sold them to a recently fired billionaire looking for a new business to run. You may have heard of them; their name is Pixar.

Re:If you say so. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19279411)

> We just had an article on 30 years of Star Wars, a movie saga that started with some of the most sophisticated computer generated effects ever seen in its time.

That is true only in the trivial sense of "Star Wars didn't have any computer generated effects, but neither did anything else in 1977, so it was nominally 'some of the most sophisticated of its time'"

Sheesh. Kids these days.

so what about star wars? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277729)

if crap script and crap acting (brought about mainly through the lack of a tangible set) put CG films back 10 years, how come it didnt take 10 years from the creation of Star Wars Ep1 (The Phantom Annoying Kid With Over Long Pod Race And Buildup That Only Is Included So Games Can Be Sold) didnt put SW back 10 years?

BTW, watch the Adult Swim preview "Fat Guy Stuck In Internet" - looks like a gay version of Tron.

The book of the film was damn good if i remember...

Tron vs. Star Wars (0, Redundant)

igny (716218) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277731)

I can't believe that /. forgot about Star Wars Anniversary [msn.com]

The DVD commentary is about the effects (4, Interesting)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277755)

It's telling when the DVD commentary focuses almost entirely on the special effects, and only rarely even mentions the acting or the story. Don't get me wrong, I love the movie, my kids love it, I loved the "Tron 2.0" game they made, but... well... Shakespeare it wasn't.

The funny thing was it didn't win an Oscar for special effects that year because the Academy felt they had "cheated" by using computers. (Of course, the computers were so slow they had to plan every shot out in detail because 'rerendering' would have taken too much time. And they communicated the data over the phone... by reading the numbers out loud.) Interesting to see how attitudes have changed.

Tron's Real Legacy (2, Insightful)

LOTHAR, of the Hill (14645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277777)

Is being the first movie to be ruined by relying on CGI special effects to carry a movie.

The script was dull, and acting was horrible. That was the first time I ever walked out of a movie theater wanting my money back.

Re:Tron's Real Legacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19277977)

Star Trek: TMP was 3 years earlier and worse.

Re:Tron's Real Legacy (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278373)

Agreed. It's been 25 years, and I've probably slept through it that many times.

I still couldn't summarize the plot for you.

Like, I don't really know who Tron is and who Jeff Daniels was, etc.

As a life-long geek, I always felt like I *should* be able to like it, but never could.

Like he goes in the computer... to... do... huh?

Re:Tron's Real Legacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278687)

CGI didn't ruin the movie by carrying it, it was just a bad movie. If anything, the CGI was its one redeeming factor.

Re:Tron's Real Legacy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19279977)

The script was dull, and acting was horrible. That was the first time I ever walked out of a movie theater wanting my money back.


Two other things I distinctly remember when I saw the movie in the theater (oh, so many years ago):
1) The music sucks. It sounds cheapy.
2) Too much blue and too much dark started making me dizzy and nauseous.

The Big Tron-bowski (1)

stopbit (444789) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277821)

Two of the greatest IT quotes to live by come from Tron:

"On the other side of the screen, it all looks so easy."

"I shouldn't have written all of those tank programs."

I'll see your IT-related quotes and raise you one (2, Interesting)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278099)

Gibbs: User requests are what computers are for.
Dillinger: Doing our business is what computers are for!

Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (5, Funny)

EWAdams (953502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277831)

Tron included the first inter... inter... inter-I-can't-even-decide-what-to-call it kiss between a man and a computer program. OK, she looked like a woman in a goofy blue suit, and the man was Bruce Boxleitner, I believe, but I was stumped for a reason why HE should want to kiss software, and even more stumped for a reason why IT would want to kiss him back. In all my years programmer, I never once kissed my code, whether on-screen, printout, or punched cards. And if I had, I think Jung would have suggested I be locked up for failing to conform to any known archetype.

As for which is the dumber movie about computers, I'd say it's a toss-up between Tron and The Matrix. At least Tron had attractive special effects and wasn't so goddamned pretentious.

Re:Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277955)

Huh? The human in the computer is Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges. Bruce Boxleitner plays two different characters: Alan Bradley, a computer programmer, and Tron, a program he wrote. They're not the same; part of the idea of the movie is that programs bear a resemblance to their creators. Also I suppose it made it convenient in that they could get several of the actors (Boxleitner, Cindy Morgan, David Warner, Barnard Hughes) to double up on roles.

Re:Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (1)

Dachannien (617929) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278119)

Well, Yori did put the moves on Tron at the end of the movie.

Re:Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278699)

Then there's that love scene with Tron and Yori that was cut from the film but which is on the 20th Anniversary DVD. That took place slightly after Tron found her to begin with, though.

Re:Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (1)

An ominous Cow art (320322) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279065)

part of the idea of the movie is that programs bear a resemblance to their creators.
That explains a lot about Perl programmers.

:-) for the humor-impaired.

Re:Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (1)

SoulGrind (1103673) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278397)

Kind of like Riker kissing a hologram that was generated by software on ST:TNG? Oh but what nice holograms she has!

Re:Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278621)

but I was stumped for a reason why HE should want to kiss software ... In all my years programmer, I never once kissed my code, whether on-screen, printout, or punched cards.

Yeah, like we never jizz on our porn ;-P
     

Re:Did Jung suggest we kiss our code? (1)

Walt Dismal (534799) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279171)

I often ponder deeply how the narrative incorporates the Jungian concept of individuation.

I think it all stems from my secret desire for my motherboard.

Tron Remake? (1)

jomama717 (779243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19277925)

Seems like every other movie that comes out these days is a remake or spin off of an old idea, I'd think Tron would fall right in line. It would be very similar to the most recent "King Kong" remake, as the original was considered a revolution in special effects for its time much as Tron was in its time.

It would probably be complete slop if they did it, but I would go see it out of curiosity.

They did a remake (2, Funny)

geekoid (135745) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278015)

it was called "The Matrix"!

Re:They did a remake (1)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280177)

The Matrix yes and Spy Kids (I and II).

Oops not funny anymore :)

Troff (2, Interesting)

Ep0xi (1093943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278057)

Dad used to love that movie, it were our common motor to computing.

Pompous Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278129)

"25 Years of Tron", as if 0.00001% of the Earths population has even thought of Tron in the last 24 years, 11 months.

The most memorable thing about it to me was the arcade game, and it wasn't even that good.

Let us remember the TV Show: Automan (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278191)

Let us not forget the TV "spinoff" of Tron ... Automan [wikipedia.org] .
Where Glen A. Larson (what show didn't he make during the 70s/80s?) took the idea of Tron and ran with it for 12 episodes.
Where every episode involved a car chase in which Automan eluded the bad guys because he could make 90* turns and they couldn't.

Let us remember the TV Show: Streethawk. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278725)

"Where every episode involved a car chase in which Automan eluded the bad guys because he could make 90* turns and they couldn't."

Nothing new. Streethawk could go fast and do ninety degree turns as well. Why he never ended up as a bug on a windshield was amazing too.

Twenty five years of Tron? (2, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278329)

Twenty-five years? I'm a dyed-in-the-wool science-fiction fan, have a substantial collection of sci-fi-books, have watched thousands of science fiction movies ... but twenty-five minutes of Tron was too much. Not that Tron even vaguely resembled science-fiction, any more than Star Wars did.

Twenty-five years of using IT IS as a possessive! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278485)

Seriously, how hard is it to grasp that the contraction of IT IS is IT'S, and the possessive is ITS? All possessives are ALREADY possessive, so they don't need an apostrophe.

Only 23 years of TRON (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278529)

I looked at the headline and thought you meant 25 years of *this* TRON: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRON_Project [wikipedia.org] But that project began only 23 years ago.

Gary Demos, John Whitney, james Blinn, TRON, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19278623)

I was a classmate of Gary Demos at Caltech. Through him I met John Whitney Jr.,and John Whitney, Sr. I've got to point out that Demos and Whitney, Jr., played a key role in the history of CGI, including on TRON. John Whitney, Sr. is the father of computers in film animation, going back to analog computers in the 1950s; he also invented the credit crawl technique from the opening of Star Wars (30 years old today).

To excerpt from

http://accad.osu.edu/~waynec/history/timeline.html [osu.edu]

While at CalTech, Gary Demos was made aware of the work of John Whitney, Sr. who was teaching classes there, experimenting with early CG images. Whitney's work, and that of the University of Utah, prompted Demos in 1972 to go to work for Evans and Sutherland. E&S used DEC PDP-11 computers along with custom E&S hardware, including the Picture System and a variation of the UofU frame buffer. At E&S, Demos began discussions about filmmaking with Ivan Sutherland, and together they started a company in LA called the Picture/Design Group. Demos met John Whitney Jr. at P/DG, and they started to work on some joint projects with Information International, Inc. Founded in 1962, III was in the business of creating digital scanners and other image processing equipment. Jim Blinn developed software (TRANEW) for III, which ran on a modified DEC 10, called the Foonly F1, which came out of the Stanford Research group and was originally used for OCR.

The III graphics effort was founded as Motion Pictures Product Group by Whitney and Demos (with Art Durinski, Tom McMahon, and Karol Brandt) in 1974. Early software was written by Blinn, Frank Crow, Craig Reynolds, and Larry Malone.They did some early film tests and broadcast graphics work for the European market. Motion picture work included TRON, Futureworld, Westworld, and Looker. They also produced Adam Powers, the Juggler as a demo of their capabilities. They marketed their services as "Digital Scene Simulation", and did several spots for Mercedes ABC and KCET. III hired Richard Taylor, an art director at Robert Abel, to handle the creative director efforts there. He brought a sense of film production to III, which in his words were lacking. He directed "Adam Powers" and was assigned as the effects supervisor for TRON (III produced the MCP, the Solar Sailor, and Sark's Carrier). Other projects included tests for Close Encounters, Star Wars, The Black Hole and the Empire Strikes Back, a stereo production called Magic Journeys, and many groundbreaking television promotion sequences.

Although they defined much of the early commercial perception of CGI, disputes regarding the computing power necessary to continue in the business prompted Whitney and Demos to leave to establish Digital Productions in 1982. They departed before TRON was completed, so much of the III contract was taken up by MAGI. Richard Taylor continued to handle the effects supervision, and was hired by MAGI when the film wrapped.

Gary Demos and John Whitney, Jr. went on to Digital Productions and then Whitney/Demos, and Demos more recently founded DemoGraFX (which was acquired by Dolby Laboratories in 2003), where he worked with digital TV, HDTV standards, digital compositing, and other high technology graphics related projects. Whitney founded USAnimation, which later became Virtual Magic Animation, in 1992. Demos and Whitney received the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Scientific and Engineering Award for the Photo Realistic Simulation Of Motion Picture Photography By Means of Computer Generated Images in 1984 for work on the movies "The Last Starfighter" and on "2010" using the Cray XMP. Demos also received an Academy Scientific and Engineering Award in 1995 for Pioneering Work In Digital Film Scanning", and an Academy Technical Achievement Award in 1996 for Pioneering Work In Digital Film Compositing Systems.

Equipment included PDP-10s, the famed Foonley F1 (a modified DEC 10), a proprietary 1000 line frame buffer, and a proprietary PFR-80 film recorder. Software included the TRANEW rendering package, developed by Jim Blinn, Frank Crow, et al, which ran on the Foonley. Animation was described using ASAS (Actor/Scriptor Animation System) developed by Craig Reynolds. Modeling was done on the Tektronix 4014 display using software developed by Larry Malone.

[Professor Jonathan Vos Post]

It's Ironic (1)

DreamMaster (175517) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278819)

It's ironic that for all that it was a milestone in the development of CGI in movies, the way things are getting more and more screwed up in America, years from now no-one will be able to watch it anymore.

I read an article recently at http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2007/3/28/132751/380 [kuro5hin.org] - the department of Homeland Security has classified Tron as "sensitive" because some locations were filmed at a nuclear research facility, and they're worried about 25 year old nuclear secrets being revealed. They're apparently currently trying to seize all of the footage from Disney and get all copies of the movie pulled from stores.

Re:It's Ironic (2, Funny)

CelticLo (575344) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279545)

Look very carefully at the name of the FBI agent in that piece....

Tron Sucks (1)

skeptictank (841287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19278871)

It has a little CG in it; but a classic - it 'tis not.

Re:Tron Sucks (3, Funny)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279025)

I really don't know how to say this without being flamebait, but Tron is a classic and burn in hell. :)

Re:Tron Sucks (1)

killerkoi (120943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279621)

I have a problem with the comment "little CG". I was one of the first films with that much. It also broke ground in the area of CG rendering. They used a fuzzing effect to make things in the distance look far away when done is CG...This was a first.

The CG effect look crude now, but were the best at the time. Just imagine if it was done in 1987, 1992, 1997 or 2002, how different it would look.

It is a classic of the arcade era, and still is for those who lived through that era.

LONG LIVE TRON!!!!!!!

Tron Rulez! (1)

mrshowtime (562809) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279147)

Tron is my favourite movie of all time. It is mistakingly labeled sci-fi, but really it's total fantasy. Sure the actors are stiff, the plot is by the numbers and downright silly, but the world created by Steven Lisburger and company really has not been equaled in 25 years. Tron is by far the most labor intensive special effects movie EVER made (pre-digital). Every frame in the computer world had to be processed at least five separate times, with all of the elements. Tron did not set back computer animation by several years as others have incorrectly stated. The truth of the matter was that computer animation was simply too costly, and the technology, including software, to make realistic computer animation simply did not exist till the late 80's. The pinnacle of realistic computer animation was used in the movie "The Last Starfighter," and it simply was cheaper, and more realistic to use models than computer animation. It was not until Terminator 2 that computer graphics were used in a movie realistically and that had nothing to do with the failure of Tron. To me, Tron is one of the "feel good" movies of the 80's and accomplished so many things on so many levels that I really can't criticize it.

"Since Tron", not "Of Tron" (3, Funny)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279173)

25 years "Of" Tron? No, "since" Tron.

It's not like Tron has been in your face, except for the odd past-pop-cultural reference over the decades.

OB Simpsons Ref:

Homer: Uh... it's like... did anyone see the movie 'Tron'?

Hibbert: No.

Lisa: No.

Marge: No.

Wiggum: No.

Bart: No.

Patty: No.

Wiggum: No.

Ned: No.

Selma: No.

Frink: No.

Lovejoy: No.

Wiggum: Yes. I mean... um, I mean, no. No, heh.

Tron did not suck... (5, Insightful)

awfar (211405) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279227)

So many here say so, but I cannot see their point, as well as how anyone can compare it with anything else at the time; what has Star Wars to do with it, at all?

As many, I was there and it was clearly groundbreaking. I distinctly remember that I had not been moved by imagery like that since I was little and saw my first Harryhausen or later 2001. Not from the script, which was Disney, but the imagery and immense scale, especially the light cycle race and the tank chase.

Sitting in a theater on opening weekend, huge screen and high quality audio, its few minutes of CGI and music, it was clearly a demonstration of things to come.

I can't help but think... (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279375)

If you compare Tron's computer graphics with the computer graphics we have in movies today, they seem crude, yes, but surely if the designers back then had wanted to, they could have made all the shots as complex and slick as what you can do today.

The problem is that if they had tried that with the hardware they had then, the movie would still be rendering today and would probably not appear in cinemas until all of its actors were retired.

See, software HASN'T changed that much in the intervening time; you still make compromises to get the product out the door today, but on different criteria...

Re:I can't help but think... (2, Informative)

mshurpik (198339) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280155)

Tron was layered about 20 times per shot; it wasn't so much digital as the ultimate analog movie.

Remember the hot babe in Caddyshack?!?! (2, Interesting)

ed1park (100777) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279473)

I was watching Caddy Shack in HDDVD, and found out that Cindy Morgan, the hot babe, was also the girl in TRON. And she's a regular geek!

"I wanted to go to Illinois Institute of Technology and become an Engineer, but when I went to open house it was all guys. I kind of got scared. I was a little freaked out. I got over that obviously. I was a geek."
http://www.retrocrush.com/archive2005/cindymorgan/ [retrocrush.com]

*sigh* :)

Wireframes and grid planes (1)

Circlotron (764156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19279695)

It's ironic that movies like that made use of wireframe images and the ubiquitous green grid perspective plane to look really hi tech, and now that we have enough computing power that we don't need to do those kind of things, natural looking objects look low tech!

17 Hours of Tron (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280097)

Does it really count as "25 years of Tron" when you forget about Tron entirely for 5, 10 years at a time, then think of Tron for about 5-7 minutes, then forget for another 5, 10 years or so, until the next 90 seconds, and so on, over 25 years? Kinda like spending months rendering 30 seconds of CGI.

One of my favorite bad movies of all time (4, Insightful)

Torodung (31985) | more than 7 years ago | (#19280175)

Tron was not a good movie. Not even close. But man was it groundbreaking. It's up there on my list of favorites with "Dark Star," John Carpenter and Dan O'Bannon's collaboration that is a clear precursor to O'Bannon's "Alien."

I heartily recommend that all Slashdot nerds get copies of *both* (VCI released Dark Star on DVD, both original and theatrical versions). They're both like watching a long, slow inside shaggy dog joke.

What memories. "Computers are for USERS." Was that concept prophetic or what?

--
Toro
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