The 28-year wait for TRON: Legacy is over

TRON fans have been eagerly awaiting the release of TRON: Legacy. The film's special effects, especially the age reversal of Jeff Bridges, are sure to dazzle audiences.

It's been 28 years since the original TRON showed us the future of motion pictures. Contemporary motion pictures such as Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn used miniatures, but TRON's special effects were digital. So, instead of using models, which dated back to the 19th century, the Light Cycles in TRON existed only within a computer, a unique idea in 1982.

Much of the action in the original film took place within a dystopian digital world in a computer that Kevin Flynn (a much younger Jeff Bridges) tries to escape. Flynn soon discovers that the only way back to the real world is by overthrowing the powers that be, in this instance known as the Master Control Program.

The graphics for the original TRON were created on a computer with 2 MB of RAM and 330 MB of disk storage. In addition, much of the software necessary needed to be created from scratch -- the open source and commercial graphics packages that are now available did not exist in 1982.

Things are different with TRON: Legacy, which opens December 17, 2010. Other than 3D graphics, perhaps the biggest change is that it is now possible to realistically erase the intervening 28 years from Jeff Bridges -- at least this is true in the second trailer, which unlike the first trailer, appears to have been filmed in the 1980s. In the first trailer, his face appears to be bloated and clearly CGI.

Credit: Walt Disney Pictures, screenshots by CNET

Like the original TRON, I bet TRON: Legacy's special effects (from what I can tell from the latest trailers) will amaze fans for at least the next several decades. Take a look at the third trailer for TRON: Legacy.

Will you see the film?

Do you plan to catch TRON: Legacy on the big screen, and if so, will you see it opening weekend? So far, the reviews have been mixed (Roger Ebert, Metacritic, Rotten Tomatoes), but I bet that any fan of the original will see the latest installment of the TRON franchise regardless of the early reviews. TRON guy (Jay Maynard) says he had to fight off tears. If you see (or have seen) the film, share your reaction with the TechRepublic community.

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