3D Blu-ray Review THE HTF 3D ADDICT: Tron Legacy

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Ronald Epstein, Mar 23, 2011.

  1. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    What can I say?  I love 3D!  From the moment I began watching 3D content in my home I quickly discovered that I needed more content.  I suspect that those of you just purchasing your first 3D hardware will acquire the same ferocious appetite.  That's why I became the HTF 3D ADDICT.  I personally love images that pop off the screen and come inches away from your face without becoming overly gimmicky.  However, I certainly appreciate the nature documentaries that offer beautiful depth and separation.  These are not necessarily reviews of the film themselves.  I am not going to concentrate on story or supplements -- you can find the 2D reviews elsewhere on this forum.  My job is to let you know exactly what kind of 3D experience to expect from the titles that are being released.   As I will be receiving a handful of new product from the studios expect to see more title coverage.






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    TRON LEGACY



    Studio: Walt Disney

    Product Release: April 5, 2011

    Ratio: 2.35:1 & 1.78:1

    Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French & Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital

    Running Time: 125 Minutes

    Rating: G


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    ON A SCALE 0-5

    Overall 3D Presentation Rating: 3

    3D Separation: 3

    3D In Yo' Face Factor: 0




    As I begin this review I think it fair to warn everyone 

    that I was never a fan of 1982's Tron.  True, the film

    was revolutionary for its computer animated graphics.  

    However, within this fantasy world created by Disney

    animators was a total lack of intelligent dialogue and

    overall emotion supported by thinly-veiled storytelling.  

    While I was immediately captured by the visuals that

    were groundbreaking for its time, I felt it a struggle to

    watch.  The film was all all glitz and no substance. It

    never captured me emotionally and for those reasons

    Tron has always ranked as one of the most boring films

    I have ever seen.


    With that, one would expect that I didn't have the

    highest hopes for Tron Legacy.  While the rest of the

    world was overhyping the film prior to the release, I

    already decided I would skip the sequel entirely.  With

    the film about to make its debut on 3D Blu-ray, my 

    curiosity was raised enough to ask the studio to 

    send over a screener copy. So, with a bit of hesitation, 

    I finally sat and gave this film a look.


    tron2.jpg


    As the film opens we find ourselves sitting through a rather 

    laborious 20 minute storyline featuring Kevin Flynn

    (Jeff Bridges) bidding his son goodnight and then suddenly

    disappearing for the next 20 years.  Now at the age

    of 27, Flynn's son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is playing pranks

    upon his father's company.  He receives what he believes 

    is a text page from his father and embarks on a search 

    that takes him to the basement below Flynn's Arcade where

    he is sucked into "The Grid," a digital land of his father's creation.


    As the film shifts from 2D to 3D, we now find ourselves

    in this digital landscape of bright neon-enriched colors.

    This world is ruled by CLU, a hacking program who has

    taken on the form of Kevin Flynn but through a mutiny,

    has trapped the creator in his own digital grid for the

    last 20 years.   Father and son are eventually reunited

    with the assistance of a program named Quorra (Olivia

    Wilde).  Together the trio must travel across the cyber

    plains to find a way to stop CLU from executing his evil

    plans to invade the outer world.


    tron3.jpg


    In very much the same effect as Dorothy opening

    her front door and discovering Oz, audiences will

    be hurled from a 2D world into a 3D filled with 

    dazzling colors and computer effects that include

    a multi-level lightcycle track.  However, though 

    the effect work seems mostly fresh, it somehow

    doesn't achieve that groundbreaking feel of the

    original film.  Perhaps the best piece of CGI work

    done in this film was the de-aging of Bridges for

    the role of his nemesis, Clu.  The effect of making

    the actor look 20 years younger is somewhat 

    convincing though the facial features sometimes

    lack expression.


    The film's eye candy quickly fades as it has little

    support from the film's thin storyline, one-dimensional

    characters and third-rate dialogue.  The film is unevenly

    paced with action scenes sandwiched between long

    stretches of dull dialogue.  As with the original film,

    there seems to be a lack of any human emotion here.  


    tron4.jpg


    I am going to do things a little backwards by first

    talking about the disc's DTS-HD audio track which

    I found to be actively engaging.  The first thing you

    will notice is the pounding techno-rock track courtesy

    of the musician duo Daft Punk, which carries an

    amazing amount of bass.  I was very surprised that

    their symphonic arrangement in this film sounds

    remarkably similar to Hanz Zimmer's Inception score.  

    Be it as it may, the soundtrack is quite enveloping

    and the rear channels do a worthy job of delivering

    the films effects that include a lot of cool directional

    panning during the film's action sequences such as

    the light cycle race.


    Disney has done a superb job with providing a

    transfer that is highly detailed and artifact free. The

    digital landscape that is comprised of "The Grid" is

    filled with vibrant orange and yellow neon colors set

    across a dark backdrop.  This creates a sense of

    "eye candy" that is stunningly conveyed here.


    tron7.jpg


    The biggest disappointment I had with this film

    was the 3D itself.  Going into this film I had 

    anticipated that Tron Legacy would provide some

    amazing 3D effects, but sadly, it's not very impressive.

    Director Joseph Kosinski keeps the 3D effects squarely

    planted within the confines of the screen.  However, 

    because the film is mostly dark, you get very little

    sense of depth.  From experience, I don't find the

    problem to be exclusive to a title like this.  It seems

    anytime you diminish lighting you lose 3D definition.  

    It's really a shame because this is such an incredibly

    hi-tech visual film and there is no sense of a 3D window

    atmosphere where you can just reach out and touch

    the characters.  Sadly, "The Grid" landscape generally 

    looks more flat than three dimensional.  Nothing pops

    out at the audience, which is fine as it seems to be

    the director's intent, but some great effect enhancements

    have been thrown to the side such as light cycle

    explosions that one would expect to hurdle debris at

    the audience but instead is executed with the most 

    minimal of impact.  There were a few quick overhead

    shots that looked rather neat, and I would say that the

    last 20 minutes of the film which involved a light jet

    chase looked probably better in 3D than anything else. 


    tron5.jpg


    The film switches from a mixed aspect ratio of 2.40:1

    in both 2D and 3D sequences to IMAX 1.78:1 during the

    film's climatic action moments.  The switching of aspect

    ratios mostly goes unnoticed except that one feels more

    enveloped with the film when shown in IMAX mode.  The

    overall quality of the 3D is not affected by these changes.

     

    What really has me scratching my head is that when

    considering how dimly lit this film is, there should 

    be a wealth of noticeable ghosting.  I was quite amazed

    to find no ghosting whatsoever during the entire length

    of the film.  Big round of applause to the folks at Disney

    for accomplishing this.


    Tron Legacy arrives in a 2-Movie Collection alongside 

    the classic original film, Tron.  You get Legacy in 3D 

    and 2D Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Copy.  You get Tron

    in 2D Blu-ray.   There are also other combinations of

    these films sold individually or in a deluxe set.




    CONCLUSION


    tron8.jpg


    Tron Legacy does very little to improve itself upon the

    original film other than modernized CGI and a bigger

    cast.  However, the more interesting talents of Olivia

    Wilde and Michael Sheen (as the flamboyant Zuse) are

    terribly wasted here with the small amount of screen

    time they are given.  In fact, everyone in this film

    gets upstaged by the effects which seem more 

    important than delivering a well-connected story

    that viewers can retain interested in.


    The 3D itself is mostly effective, though somewhat

    minimized.  This doesn't look close to what we have

    seen in Avatar nor would I place it in any top 10 list

    of the best 3D titles I have seen to date.


    With all that being said, I actually liked Tron Legacy

    better than the original film, though once the credits

    rolled I considered it already "forgotten." 



    Images are for illustrative purpose only not representative of the picture quality of this disc. 


    Equipment


    LG 60PX950 THX Certified 3D display

    Oppo BDP-93 3D Blu-ray Player

    Denon 3808CI Receiver

    Atlantic Technology H-PAS AT-1 fronts, 4400 center; 4200 rear speakers

    SV Sound Subwoofer

     
     
  2. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I wonder if there will be similar complaints about the aspect ratio changes as there were for the Dark Knight.

     
  3. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    I had an interview last night with the film's director who was very enthusiastic about the IMAX sequences and their inclusion onto the Blu-ray release. That interview will be forthcoming as will my review of the set, the latter likely tomorrow night.
     
  4. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    Why does everyone keep referring to the opened up sequences as being in IMAX? They weren't shot in IMAX.
     
  5. frankfarmer

    frankfarmer Stunt Coordinator

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  6. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Producer

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    Apparently, opening the mattes in selected sections of a film is now considered to be IMAXing a film. Opening the mattes on selected scenes of this film is a waste of time because, as you pointed out, they weren't shot in IMAX unlike the The Dark Knight, where opening the mattes supposedly made some sort of sense. Of course Disney couldn't be bothered to put the version that played in a majority of theatres in this release: only a non-IMAX version that happened to play in IMAX theatres. Outstanding job Disney. Keep up the good work.


    Regarding the "3D" effects of this film, I can't comment on the BD, but it was plenty apparent to me when the film switched to "3D" in the theatrical version that I saw. The "3D", as it was shot, worked okay for me, because I generally find all of the "poke out" effects in 3D movies to be mostly cheesy, tossed in nonsense. The tossed in nature of such effects becomes abundantly apparent when the same film is viewed in "2D".
     
  7. TravisR

    TravisR Studio Mogul

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    Same here. I didn't like the movie much but I still thought it was one of the best uses of 3-D that I've seen because it was used to immerse you in the Tron world rather than going for the more gaudy stuff-flying-out-of-the-screen 3-D effects.
     
  8. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    It's true these were not "shot" in IMAX. But given these select segments were only "opened up" in IMAX showings, I can somewhat understand the generic usage in this case.


    Given the director (gimmick or not) planned to have these scenes opened up for IMAX presentations, I wonder if they were rendered out natively at a higher resolution? ..Given hardly any of it was "shot" at all?
     
  9. Brian Borst

    Brian Borst Screenwriter

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    If I remember correctly from reading the American Cinematographer, the director did it to make the 3D seem more immersive. I don't know if the movie screens in America are constant width, because otherwise I don't see the point of it at all, apart from watching it on a television screen at home.
     
  10. GregK

    GregK Screenwriter

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    Yes- Typical North American movie screens are indeed constant height oriented, with the exception of IMAX screens. With IMAX, it's time to fit a 2.35 or 1.85 image as big as possible onto a (typical) 1.43 IMAX screen. Even if slight side cropping is incurred, the end result is a somewhat letterboxed image on the IMAX screen, with empty space at the top and bottom. This is why only the IMAX presentations of TRON LEGACY had the switching aspect ratios.


    (On a quick sidenote: Some years back, Jim Cameron had looked into using different aspect ratios for STRANGE DAYS, with the VR sequences being in 1.85, but the idea was abandoned because typical 35mm screens are constant height. ..I suppose if Mr. Cameron had planned an IMAX release.....)


    I watched a portion of TRON LEGACY late last night, and the switching aspect ratio shifts of the first part of the grid didn't bother me. Given I have a 16x9 screen, the 3-D and aspect ratio shift did help to provide a slightly more immersed feel. Personally, I would have opened up to 16x9 whenever in "the grid", which would also have it coincide with the shift from 2-D to 3-D. But I'm not the director, so it's just my two cents worth.





     
  11. BillyGil

    BillyGil Insider
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    ‘Tron’ Directors Greet Fans, Answer Questions Via Twitter 6 Apr, 2011 By: Billy Gil

    [​IMG]
    Steven Lisberger and Joe Kosinski

    WEST HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Fans lined up at a Best Buy in West Hollywood in hopes of getting their copies of Tron and Tron: Legacy signed by the directors of those films, who gathered April 5 for the films’ home video releases from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment and for an online Q&A via Twitter.

    Tron: Legacy director Joe Kosinski said he was particularly impressed with the Blu-ray’s “Second Screen” feature, which syncs a device such as a tablet or laptop with the Blu-ray as it plays and allows users to access such material as art and storyboards, while the Blu-ray is playing. He also likes that side stories from the film were able to be fleshed out in the short film “The Next Day: Flynn Lives Revealed,” which also is included on the Blu-ray.


    Read more at http://www.homemediamagazine.com/blu-ray-disc/tron-directors-greet-fans-answer-questions-via-twitter-23578
     
  12. Neil Middlemiss

    Neil Middlemiss Producer
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    Thanks for the link. I particularly enjoyed this line about Lisberger's feelings on the original TRON coming to Blu:


    "Of the original Tron, Lisberger said going back to digitally remaster the film was like he had “died and gone to movie heaven.”"


    My TRON/TRON: Legacy 5-disc ser arrived from Amazon yesterday (along with the TRON: Reconfigured score), so my weekend is already planned out for me!




     
  13. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    They probably are referring to the IMAX presentation of the film rather than how the film was being shot. In all non-IMAX theaters, be it Digital 3D or 35mm, the film was shown strictly as a 2.35:1 presentation. On IMAX screens, both 2.35:1 and 1.78:1 aspect ratios were used. For lack of a better description, I think that's where the terminology has come from. It's not entirely accurate (as you point out, the film wasn't shot in IMAX) but I think that that wording is probably the least confusing was to describe it to the average viewer.


    -------


    In other, random, 3-D related thoughts:


    I liked the 3-D effects in the film, although the 3-D probably won't blow anyone's mind the way something like Avatar did; but I think that's OK. I think the filmmaker's intent here was to create a completely immersive experience, and 3-D was only one of many tools they used to do so. I actually found myself more wow-ed by the 1.78:1 footage than the 3-D effects overall; when Sam enters the grid, we get a little 3-D and it looks cool, and it's different enough to suggest a different kind of world -- but when he looks up and sees that Recognizer for the first time and the frame opens up, that was the "wow" moment for me.


    The more objective, rational part of me understands that Tron Legacy is probably not a great film, but the part of me that just straight-up loves movies and the whole movie-going experience loved, loved, loved this movie. It's for that reason it was my favorite movie of 2010 - not because it was smart, intellectual film like The Social Network (which I loved) or an inspiring story like The King's Speech (which I also really liked), but because it showed me a world I had never seen before, and for the two hours it ran, really made me feel like I was in that world. I can't remember the last time I had this much fun going to a movie. And the former film school kid in me was absolutely blown away by the low-light design of the whole film. There are a lot of scenes where most of the light comes from either just the costumes or from the floors of the sets, just up against the edge of what you can shoot and still make sense out of visually, and they did that beautifully. The Daft Punk score, and how the music and effects were often seemlessly integrated, was also a major factor for the immersive quality. I don't know that I've ever seen a film that was so immersive overall, where 3-D was used and yet wasn't the primary means of achieving that immersion. (Although, as far as 3-D effects go... has the Disney logo ever looked cooler than it did on this movie?)


    I was a little worried about how it would look in 2-D on Blu-ray (I don't have a 3-D TV yet...hopefully I'll win the lottery one of these years...) but I'm surprised at how well this holds up minus the 3-D. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait until the day I can watch it in 3-D at home, but this 2-D version is surprisingly satisfying. That the IMAX framing was kept for the Blu-ray was the biggest surprise to me, and I think losing those shots would have taken more away than losing the 3-D. I can't believe I, a 3-D junkie, who is calling Tron Legacy his favorite movie of the year, is actually saying the 3-D may have had so little to do with that.
     
  14. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    Josh, that's a perfect description of what I loved about Tron: Legacy. It was immersive, fun, and interesting to look at & listen to.
     
  15. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    I saw it in regular 3D, not at an IMAX, and I had no knowledge of this dual aspect ratio business until reading about it here, long after the fact. It sounds to me like they did the right thing in giving us that version on the BD. Now I can't wait to watch it this weekend, both in 3D and 2D.


    Add me to the list of those lamenting the dearth of extra features on Legacy. Seriously, what's up with that?
     
  16. Ron-P

    Ron-P Producer

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    I saw this film in 3D in the theater. After watching it on Blu last night (2D) I will say that I enjoyed the 2D version much better and will add that it seems the 2D version had better depth of field over it's 3D version. The sound field on this disc is one of the best I've ever heard, absolutely stunning and enveloping.


    As for the shifting AR, it's does one thing, distracts from the viewing experience. Every time it changed it caught my eye and took away from being immersed in the film. I really wish directors would stop doing this and if they must, please, give us both versions so I can watch the film in the 2.35:1 AR, the format that I saw in the theater.
     
  17. Charles Smith

    Charles Smith Extremely Talented Member
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    You're right, though -- both should have been included in the package.

    You said you watched the Blu-ray in 2D, so I'm wondering if the shifting AR makes more sense in 3D. Well, I'll be finding out soon enough.
     
  18. dmiller68

    dmiller68 Supporting Actor

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    I thought the 3D presentation was very well done. I do agree the 3D effects don't add a ton but in general give the movie some pop and depth. More I watch 3D movies more I enjoy the format!!
     
  19. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Producer
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    Thanks man, I really appreciate that. I can't explain exactly why but the movie has really stuck with me, and I'm thinking about putting together a blog post or an essay or something along those lines to try to figure out why. I can't remember if HTF allows links to be posted or not, but if so, when it's done I'd be glad to put it up here.
     

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