Being a sucker for spoilers, I was quite happy to travel to a different city for a free 23 minute preview of the new Tron movie. Even friends scoffing at me couldn’t dampen my mood. Upon arrival at screening we went straight for the VIP seats - what the hell, it was a free screening and we were going to take advantage!
We start with a very Eighties-style text introduction along with a short premise; Kevin Flynn has turned his experiences inside the Grid into a popular videogame – Tron. But at the height of his fame and power as head of Encom, he disappears which leaves his son Sam to grow up all alone.
Our first scene starts with Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) visiting Sam to inform him of a page which seemed to originate from Flynn's Arcade. This leads Sam curiously back to the place where his father used to reside.
The arcade has a nostalgic feel - anyone who has a love of classic arcade games will be delighted when Sam restores the power and all the machines jump to life, filling the room with their sound effects. Upon further exploration Sam discovers a secret room which is hiding some very strange looking equipment.
Sam is then digitised into the world of Tron where he is captured and provided with his own in game suit and data disc. The new black suits with bright coloured lines, definitely feel respectful of the original but at the same time futuristically updated.
Next we are treated to an updated disc battle. No longer are the players standing on giant rings, instead they’re within a glass room where sections vanish when hit. The 3D is spectacular, especially the derezzed opponent exploding into a mass of multi-coloured cubes.
We get a glimpse of the brilliant new Lightcycles, now fatter and open-topped, reminding me of the Batpod from The Dark Knight. A rebel program Quorra (Olivia Wilde) helps Sam get off-grid and leads him to an older, wiser-looking Kevin Flynn. He seems to be living in an iPod-styled mountain hideout which allows him to watch over the world he created.
There are large hints towards Clu 2.0 (the program version of Flynn) being the movie's main antagonist. I did find the CGI manifestation of Bridge's face somewhat creepy, but I imagine that will add to my dislike of the character.
As things draw to a close, the pace is amplified and we see shots of the silver-haired and flamboyant Michael Sheen, new vehicles and an upside down disc battle! This is brought together perfectly by the synthetic sounds of Daft Punk (along with a nice cameo).
I enjoyed the composure of the preview because they selected five scenes which are in order but not sequential. This gave a feel for the story without giving too much of it away. December 17th cannot come soon enough.
Stefan Harkins still hopes that sitting on a computer scanner will transport him into the digital world. So far, all he has is photocopies of his own bottom.