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TRON Academy Screening Report

By TronFAQ on Saturday, June 10, 2006 at 12:46 AM
Today, I have for you a report on the Academy screening of the film TRON that just occurred: on June 7th at the Samuel Goldwyn theater in Beverly Hills, California. It represents the average fan's view of what the event was like, that night.

This report was written by LDSO member Mor.Evil-1, and there are some additional comments from Load"*",8,1 at the end. You can read Mor's full, unedited report HERE.

Disappointingly, the Academy didn't allow anyone except their appointed representative to videotape or photograph the event. So it might be a while before many photos or videos are released.

Mor: After an hour of traffic, parking, and barely making it for the 7:30 PM start time: Load and I semi-rushed up the stairs, with the other late people.

Upon entering the theater, you were given a rather cool, double-sided program leaflet. As we found our seats, they started the Q&A (Question and Answer) session. (I use the Q in Q&A very loosely.)

The host was Bill Kroyer. For any of you who may not know, he was the computer image choreographer on TRON. Kroyer had put together a most excellent presentation: with old production stills, and very detailed descriptions of all the effects for TRON.

After his slide show, Steven Lisberger and Richard Taylor came up, and the three of them chatted a bit about TRON. Lisberger also shared a few brief stories, about the film. Taylor shared a story about when he first showed TRON to the Academy. He said he was the representative for the film, at that time. The screening was to see if the film would get nominated, for an Academy award. Taylor said when the film was over, he was asked two questions and that was it. All of the other films' Q&A's went for over 30 minutes, or so.

Basically he said that at the time, the Academy seemed to feel that they had cheated by making the film with computers. Taylor stated they felt the computers made everything for them, and that this new form of filmmaking was going to end many jobs.

You really have to laugh at that. After seeing all of Kroyer's pictures: they really worked their asses off on TRON. (FAQ: Too true. The majority of the film wasn't CGI, but instead used traditional animation and photographic techniques. CGI only made up a small part of the film. Does anyone else find it ironic that this latest screening was to praise the film's innovation for "forever changing the landscape for computer-generated imagery", yet at the time of release the Academy felt they cheated and denied the film an Oscar for it? I guess this screening was meant — in some small way — to make up for that.)

So they opened the floor to questions at that point, and one (one!) person got to ask a question . . . I even forget what it was about — they went off on another little story — and then the film started.

Yes you guessed it, we never got to ask if a sequel will be made. Or even a remake for that matter. (FAQ: Only one question? What kind of Q&A session is that?)

The print was the 70mm one used for the 20th Anniversary showing at the El Capitan event in 2004, and used for the 20th Anniversary DVD release.
(FAQ: You can read about what the El Capitan event was like, in the interview I did with Mor and Load.)

The Academy theater is way nice. And the sound system in there is fantastic. However . . . the few years since the 20th Anniversary restoration, have not been kind to the print!

It was green, somewhat grainy . . . and on all points, rather disappointing to see in this state. I feel confident to make this statement, based on the fact that this is the same print Load and I saw, just a few short years ago. When we saw this print for the Anniversary . . . man, the film was breathtaking! But on this night, I must say the visual quality was a big disappointment!

At one point I leaned across and asked Load if it was me, or was the film green? He agreed, the print was green!

Okay, so on to the largest disappointment of all . . . when the film started, the three guests of honor (Lisberger, Taylor, and Kroyer) headed back to their roped-off VIP seats. (Yes, Load and I sat across from them in the back of the theater, and they walked by us.) As the film went on, it finally got to the moment we were all waiting for: Jeff "Flynn/The Dude" Bridges was digitized into the TRON Universe.

That exact moment — and I mean exact moment — when Flynn's feet digitize on to the floor of the grid: the three got up and left the screening, never to be seen again for the rest of the night. What was sad, is pretty much no one noticed they had left. So when the credits began to roll, and their names came up on the screen: everyone cheered loudly thinking they were there to hear. Hah! Think again.
(FAQ: There's a report from DaveTRON on the main page of TRON-Sector, and a thread discussing this. Richard Taylor did come back, before the end.)

All in all though, I would say the event was a success. Apparently, many came from far and wide to see this screening. In fact, I would say a good portion of the seats were full. However, the event was not sold out.

I'm not sure who from TRON-Sector, was there. We looked for DaveTRON and Zook, but did not see them. Apparently a dude from G4 was supposed to be there, but alas we did not see him either. (FAQ: I'm guessing Mor means Tommy Tallarico, who was also supposed to have been there.)

The screening was fun. Five bucks to see TRON on the big screen? Can't go wrong, I guess. But you should be able to demand a high-quality print, regardless of what you're paying, when seeing any film!

Rating: 3 out of 5 Clusters

Load: I will have to say that DaveTRON's experience seemed a little more exciting, than what we all had. I felt bad for the crowd after the big guys left. People clapped and cheered during parts of the film, and well . . . they weren't there to appreciate it.

It was sad that there was only one question taken from the audience. And by the look of the audience, there were probably only a handful of people that might play TRON 2.0. A lot of Film Student/Academy Film Geeks were there.

The event as a whole . . . well, I agree with Mor. Pretty much we showed up, watched the movie, browsed around the lobby looking at the various behind the scenes movie pictures (some nice Alien ones!), and went home. I think the most fun I had was leaving the parking structure yelling "LDSO". Had to represent us, you know!

Overall, I had a good time and it was nice seeing TRON on the big screen again! It gave me the desire to go home, and hop on the game grid once more!
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