So here’s a heads up for those of you who can’t wait to line up outside the movie theater this week to toss ten bucks at Tron: Legacy (sequel to Disney’s 1982 cult flick). Did you know that this isn’t the first time the light cycle filled universe has been revisited? Yep, the franchise has also flirted around in a couple of other mediums. Of course there were the 2 arcade classics that Midway cranked out to soak up kid’s quarters back in the early eighties: Tron and Discs of Tron (which combined ended up earning more money than the movie on which they were based!). But there was also a first person shooter released back in 2003 for the PC and Mac. In Tron 2.0, players manipulated the role of a new character named Jet Bradley as he traversed the neon lit cyberworld. However despite generally favorable reviews, the game failed to achieve any sort of commercial success and the Tron license went back into hibernation.
It wouldn’t be until a few years later when after an aborted comic book series, Slave Labor Graphics managed to nab the publishing rights and the franchise saw new life on the printed page. Tron: The Ghost in the Machine (quite the original title) was a six issue series that hit store shelves in 2006 and continued the adventures of Bradley. The book was collected as a trade paperback in 2009 and shouldn’t be too hard to find, unlike a copy of the original movie on DVD. The special edition goes for quite the hefty sum on online auction sites and is subsequently M.I.A. at Netflix, which is too bad for anyone who wants to refresh their memory or even catch it for the first time before venturing out to the cinema.
Still, there are other options out there for anyone who just can’t get enough of this stuff. Tron:Evolution and Tron: Battlegrids are the most recent video game incarnations and were released this month across all major platforms (Wii, Xbox360, etc.). Essentially loose tie ins with the new movie, these games have players running around as an unnamed character who’s trying to solve some sort of mystery or something. I haven’t found any reviews outside of a few for the PS3 version and those were mixed at best so it sounds like giving these a rent before committing to a full purchase would be the way to go.
Anyway, I have to admit something here. Personally I’ve never really been that into Tron and am nowhere near any sort of expert. While I do plan on catching this new one eventually, it won’t be at a midnight screening and I won’t be misting up during the opening credits (like I am guilty of doing during the opening crawl of a certain prequel). Hell, I haven’t even seen the first entry in more than 15 years and even with that one I can clearly remember wanting to like it a lot more than I actually did. But despite the fact that I’ve never slept under Tron bed sheets there’s still no way I’ve ever been able to deny the extreme “cool” factor of the design work on display. The overall style is one that I’ve always found appealing and it’s that same look and overall aesthetic that has me genuinely excited to see Legacy (well, that and the smoking hot Daft Punk soundtrack). So here’s hoping: Come on, Tron…make me a fan.