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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Chris sort-of reviews TRON: LEGACY 5-Disc Blu-ray Collector's Set (which also includes original TRON on Blu-ray!)

Tron: Legacy came out on DVD and Blu-ray yesterday. I've been eager to own this ever since catching the movie this past New Year's Eve (click here for my initial review of the movie), not only 'cuz I thought it was a great film and worthy follow-up to the 1982 original Tron, but because I was seriously giddy to see how this flick would look on my high-def home entertainment rig. Tron: Legacy was the prettiest pushing of pixels that I've seen in the history of anything: say what one might of some of the film's weaknesses (I've read some say that it could have been a bit leaner, but we'll get to that), visually it was gorgeous.

And oh yeah: Disney announced a few months ago that the original Tron would be released on Blu-ray along with Tron: Legacy. Another reason to look forward to this release!

Well folks, I got Tron: Legacy 5-Disc Blu-ray Collector's Set yesterday and I've spun both of these movies twice in my player, along with the extras. And in spite of being unable to turn in a complete review of this package, I must heartily suggest it for your own personal library.

So why can't I review it all?

Simple enough reason: Disc 1 is Tron: Legacy on 3-D Blu-ray... and I don't have a 3-D Blu-ray player! And you ain't likely to see me own one anytime soon either. At least, not until 3-D high-def sets come out that don't require those funky glasses. And if there's any merit to what some are saying about glassless 3-D right now, that might be awhile longer yet. So for now Disc 1 of this collection is gonna remain a virgin.

Disc 2 however is positivalutely stunning, I can happily report! In fact, this might be the best picture quality of any Blu-ray that's currently in my collection. The details are crisp and sharp as a razor, and the colors of the digital realm - even the pitch black parts of it - pop out magnificently. The Blu-ray of Tron: Legacy maintains the aspect ratios of the IMAX 3-D release, so sometimes it fills up the entire 16:9 screen and others it doesn't. The sound quality is also superb: I don't have a Surround Sound setup, but despite that I was consumed by the audio, especially during the lightcycle sequences.

Disc 2 also contains the extras, including "The Next Day", a mini-feature about the underground "Flynn Lives" movement that has quite a few surprises for fans of the original movie (and is said to dovetail into the third Tron movie allegedly in pre-production). Incidentally, when you get to the end of it, feel free to play around with the arcade game screen that pops up. Especially with that high score (that's all I'm gonna say). Disc 2 also includes other stuff like the "De-Rezzed" Daft Punk music video, and a vignette featuring Tron: Legacy director Joseph Kosinski and how he implemented a crowd cheering at Comic-Con into the arena fight scene. All in all, the bonus features that come with Tron: Legacy are pretty solid stuff.

Disc 3 is Tron: Legacy on standard DVD. Which I also played for a bit out of curiosity about its image quality. It's great DVD, but hey if you got a Blu-ray player you know what disc you're gonna reach for. Still, since I don't have a Blu-ray drive in my computer just yet, I'll no doubt be using this disc to rip Tron: Legacy for my iPod and iPad.

Disc 4 is the digital copy. Which every major DVD/Blu-ray release is including these days and I haven't used a single one. 'Cuz I make my own digital copies (only for personal use 'course) from the primary discs. 'Cuz that's just how I roll :-)

Awright, now we come to Disc 5: the original 1982 movie Tron, finally on Blu-ray! Not only that but beautifully cleaned-up and digitally remastered.

Okay, I gotta say this: it's the best that I've ever seen Tron (which was the first movie that I ever watched on a VCR, all the way back in 1983). Tron on Blu-ray looks like it was filmed just yesterday. However the Blu-ray presentation and restoration also makes obvious some things that have probably gone unnoticed for the most part of the past thirty years. Especially the matted elements, like when Sark's carrier is about to chase after the solar sailer (you can see the carrier right through the hangar building!). But rather than deflect from enjoying Tron on Blu-ray, I actually found it added a charming quality to the movie: artifacts of its time, when the use of computers in filmmaking was just then becoming a reality. So nothing really to get in a tiff about there. What I did want more out of this disc however were some more additional features. There are the original DVD features from the 2002 release, and some photos... but not much more than that (although there is a very welcome audio commentary with Tron director Steven Lisberger and others involved in making the film). Perhaps someday Disney will give the original Tron some more respect and laud it with the Blu-ray release it deserves (you can also buy Tron alone as a Blu-ray disc, something I've already had words about its lousy cover art). But until then, I'll be happy to have Tron itself looking the best it's looked since the summer of 1982.

Tron: Legacy 5-Disc Blu-ray Collector's Set is available in a regular box, or in a special "identity disc" package. Unless you wanna fork over some extra coin for what looks like a glorified coaster, you'll probably just want to get the standard box like I bought. It's quite a nice set, and I'm looking forward to watching it again this weekend (my filmmaking partner "Weird" Ed asked me to bring it when I go to his place for ActionFest in Asheville). Highly recommended!