Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Things Man Was Not Meant To Know

I recently picked up the 20th anniversary edition of TRON on DVD.  Excellent stuff.  I learned a lot of stuff about my favorite movie via the healthy dose of extras. 

The guys that made TRON were cartoonists.  They made some of the weirder sequences that appeared on Sesame Street and The Electric Company.  Their big score came when they were signed on to make a whole slew of cartoons for the 1980 Olympics– an entire “Animal Olympics” to run concurrently with the real thing.  Of course, the US ended up boycotting the Olympics that year, so the cartoons never ran…. 

TRON’s the first movie to use computer animation.  There were no software tools to do this stuff back then… and everything had to be done from scratch.  It took four different companies to do all the graphics– each company had a jury-rigged software/hardware system that could do a slightly different thing.  In spite of their groundbreaking and cutting edge achievements, TRON did not receive any awards for animation: the judges felt that the fact that they used a computer was cheating! 

TRON was inspired by… PONG.  Yeah….  PONG.  Somehow the director had seen the game… and immediately he thought of gladiator games in the coliseum.  He must have been a really creative guy.  I played one of those in the late seventies and it mostly made me think of hockey….

Probably my favorite part of TRON was the music, but alas there was not much on the DVD about that part beyond just a couple of tunes from the lightcycle sequence and closing credits that failed to make the final cut.  I’d hoped to see an interview with the composer– a certain Wendy Carlos– who had his/her gender surgically altered.  Ah well, perhaps some things are better left to the imagination.

There was one scene in the movie that the creators labored over excessively.  It was beautifully crafted and each frame took about twice as long to construct.  They got it just the way they wanted it and then… at the very end… it all hit the cutting room floor.

It was an electronic sex scene.

I couldn’t believe this.  I’d always thought of the program entities as being asexual automatons… and that maybe Flynn had shaken things up a bit by introducing the whole concept of kissing to them.  But no… the programs were… uh… well….  I guess you just have to see it to believe it.  Yes, I know this was a Disney movie!  But they even included an equally bizarre “morning after scene.”

Okay, okay.  It is “G rated,” but it will still blow your mind.


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