Daft Punk Tron Tribute

Arnaud Faure has created this neat visual tribute to Daft Punk‘s Tron Legacy score.

Although last year’s Tron sequel may not have fully worked as a film, the score was extraordinary: a pulsing, epic feast of electronica blended with some monumental orchestral strings.

This animation to Derezzed neatly captures the spirit of the Tron series and the score:

> More on the Daft Punk score to Tron Legacy
> Find out more about Daft Punk at Wikipedia
> Arnaud Faure at Vimeo

Amusing Technology Viral Video

Tron Legacy 8-bit version

Animator Pierre Manry has re-imagined Tron: Legacy as an 8-bit videogame, complete with a converted Daft Punk score.

[via Gizmodo]

> Tron: Legacy review
> The Legacy of Tron
> 8 bit at Wikipedia

Lists music Soundtracks

The Best Film Music of 2010

My favourite film music of the year included albums by Trent Reznor, Hans Zimmer and Daft Punk, whilst tracks by various artists including Zack Hemsey and Grizzly Bear also stood out.


Tron Legacy (EMI): The sequel to Tron was a mixed bag (great visuals, mediocre script) but the score by Daft Punk was unbeliveably epic, fusing their trademark electronica with an orchestra. [Amazon / YouTube]

Inception (Reprise): Hans Zimmer’s score for Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi blockbuster mixed electronic elements, strings and the guitar of Johnny Marr to brilliant effect. [Amazon / YouTube]

The Social Network (Pid): Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross gave David Fincher’s film about the origins of Facebook a dazzling electronic flavour, at turns pulsating and atmospheric. [Official site / Amazon / YouTube]

The Kids Are Alright (Lakeshore Records): A traditional, but shrewdly assembled collection of traditional and modern songs (featuring the likes of MGMT and David Bowie) which fitted the themes of Lisa Colodenko’s film perfectly. [Amazon / YouTube / The Playlist]

Greenberg (Parlophone): A solid collection of songs from James Murphy alongside tracks by The Steve Miller Band, Duran Duran, Nite Jewel and Galaxie 500. [Amazon / YouTube]

127 Hours (Polydor): Danny Boyle films usually have a memorable soundtrack and this is no exception, featuring music from A.R. Rahman and tracks by various artists including Free Blood, Bill Withers and Sigur Ros. [Amazon / YouTube]

Black Swan (Sony): For Darren Aronofsky’s reworking of Swan Lake, Clint Mansell reworked elements of Tchaikovsky’s original music to spectacular effect. [Amazon / YouTube]

N.B. The soundtracks for Somewhere and Blue Valentine would have easily made the list if they were available to purchase in the UK.


The following tracks are not all directly from soundtracks, but may also have featured on trailers and TV spots for various films.

You can download most of these tracks as a Spotify playlist here or just click on the relevant links to listen to them.

If you have any pieces of film related music you want to share, leave a comment below.

> The Best Films of 2010
> The Best DVD & Blu-ray releases of 2010


UK Cinema Releases: Friday 17th December 2010


Tron: Legacy (Walt Disney): The original Tron was about a brilliant software engineer, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who enters into a virtual world whilst this sequel picks up many years later as his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) tries to solve the disappearance of his father.

Responding to a mysterious message he finds himself pulled into the world where Kevin has been trapped. Aided by a female warrior Quorra (Olivia Wilde), father and son have to escape the new digital universe and the clutches of those who now rule it.

Disney’s decision to reboot Tron for a new generation, seems to be an attempt to engage audiences who remember it and to adapt the technology driven story for the current digital age, utilising cutting edge 3D and digital effects.

Visually, it looks amazing with director Joseph Kosinski upgrading the look of the first film and making good use of 3D cameras.

The dark, neon lit landscape is a dazzling upgrade from the original and the stylised costumes, light cycles, discs and various vehicles all provide a feast for the eyes in both the action sequences and calmer moments.

However, the script by Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis is much more problematic and feels clunky and episodic, playing out like levels on a computer game that are just there to be completed.

This leads to an inherent lack of drama and consequence to the material, despite the visual pyrotechnics that make it so captivating to look at. It also means the performances suffer, as the characters are often just cogs in a wheel.

Disney will be nervous as the film cost a lot of money (reportedly $200 million) and early reports suggest that audience awareness isn’t what it could be, which along with mixed reviews could dent its box office potential over the Christmas period. [Empire Leicester Square & Nationwide / PG]

* Read our full review of Tron: Legacy here *

Burlesque (Sony Pictures): A drama about a small-town girl (Christina Aguilera) who ventures to Los Angeles and finds her place in a neo-burlesque club run by a former dancer (Cher).

Directed by Steven Antin, it co-stars Cam Gigandet, Stanley Tucci, Alan Cumming, Kristen Bell and Eric Dane. The script was originally written by Diablo Cody and later revised by Susannah Grant. This appears to be a tamer version of Showgirls and the critical reaction is likely to be mixed. [Nationwide / 12A]

Animals United (Entertainment): An animated film with an eco-message about a group of animals, including a meerkat and a lion, who team up to protest at the UN about climate change. Directed by Reinhard Klooss and Holger Tappe, it features the voices of Ralf Schmitz, Thomas Fritsch, Christoph Maria Herbst and Vanessa Redgrave. [Nationwide / U]


Catfish (Momentum Pictures): One of the most talked about films of the year is this intriguing documentary about a group of New York filmmakers who go on a road trip to find out more about a woman one of them has befriended online.

Even though there has been much controversy about the ‘truth’ depicted in the film, it is a gripping experience that has been put together with considerable taste and skill. (Warning: you should know as little as possible before seeing it). [Curzon Soho, Screen on the Green / Various VOD outlets including Lovefilm and iTunes / 12A]

* Read our full review of Catfish here *

Boudu Saved From Drowning (Park Circus): A re-issue of Jean Renoir’s 1932 comedy about a Parisian bookseller (Charles Granval) who rescues a drowning tramp named Boudu (Michel Simon), which leads to considerable complications when he invites him to stay at his home. [Curzon Renoir, Curzon Richmond & Key Cities / PG]

Cuckoo (Verve Pictures): British thriller starring about an academic (Richard E Grant) and his troubled research student (Laura Fraser). [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Clapham Picturehouse & Key Cities]

Fred: The Movie (Lionsgate UK): The feature film version of a YouTube phenomenon about a teenager named Fred with a speeded-up voice. [West End Vue & Key Cities / 12A]

Loose Cannons (Peccadillo Pictures): Italian romantic comedy about what happens when two scions of a family are reluctant to take over a pasta business. [Apollo Piccadilly Circus, Cine Lumiere, Odeon Covent Garden, Shepherds Bush Vue & Key Cities]

> Find out what films are showing in your area with Google Movies or Find Any Film
> UK DVD and Blu-ray Releases for Monday 13th December 2010


The Legacy of Tron

A New York Times article from 1982 shows the legacy of Tron and the interesting parallels with its sequel.

Tron: Legacy opens in cinemas tomorrow and utilises the latest filmmaking technology, but how was the first film viewed 28 years ago?

At the time Disney’s film division were scrambling for a hit and saw Tron as way of tapping in to the videogame boom of the early 1980s and the success of Star Wars.

One startling fact the New York Times revealed back in 1982 was just how profitable video games were at the time.

…games currently gross between $8 billion and $9 billion a year, compared with about $3 billion a year for all the movies shown in theaters.

Last year, in fact, the most popular video game, Pac-Man, grossed about $1.2 billion – three times as much as ”Star Wars,” history’s most popular movie, has earned in the five years since its initial release.

Think about that for a second: Pac-Man out grossed the first Star Wars film.

Obviously this trend has continued over the years, with The Observer reporting last year that combined software and hardware sales grossed over £4bn.

This was more than DVD and music sales combined, and over four times what films made at cinemas.

However, the original Tron was a relative commercial disappointment, even though it became an influential cult film that spawned the current sequel.

But the 1982 article brings up interesting parallels with the present day.

It talks of the visual effects revolution ushered in by Star Wars:

When ”Star Wars,” with its futuristic setting, androids and computerized space warfare, became the first film in history to make $100 million in 1977 (it has now grossed four times that), Hollywood decided that what the public wanted was more and better special effects. In the next five years, armed with huge budgets and increasingly sophisticated technology, filmmakers rewrote the book on creating illusions of reality.

Now in 2010, Tron: Legacy is part of a new wave of 3D movies ushered in by the enormous success of Avatar.

But let’s go back to 1982 and the films that were then pushing at the limits of technology:

Special-effects pictures now dominate the nation’s screens. The first month of summer witnessed the release not only of ”E.T.” but ”Poltergeist,” ”Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan,” ”Blade Runner,” ”Firefox,” and ”The Thing.”

There is no doubt that visual effects have come a long way since these films, with landmarks being Terminator 2 (1991), Jurassic Park (1993), Titanic (1997) and The Lord of The Rings trilogy (2001-03).

But with the advent of digital camera systems and 3D are we at a similar point of change?

Films such as The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Avatar (2009) and Inception (2010) have all pushed the envelope in different ways and even a film like The Social Network (shot entirely on the RED camera) seemed to show that digital cameras have truly arrived in the mainstream.

Another interesting aspect of the article is how perceptions of films can change over time.

“…critics have praised the special effects in such films as ”Blade Runner” and ”The Thing,” while damning the quality of the storytelling.”

No-one could dispute that storytelling is important in a visual effects movie, but to time has been much kinder to both Blade Runner and The Thing.

Ridley Scott’s film underwent a gradual re-appraisal and is now considered a landmark whilst John Carpenter’s horror (which repulsed critics at the time) is also more highly regarded.

Nicholas Meyer, who directed Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, is quoted on the effect of television on audiences expectations for a movie:

“…television has eroded the audience’s patience with exposition and the groundwork that narrative requires, so that now you have movies and television shows where there’s no plot at all, just stunts or star turns.

Could there be a parallel made with the rise of the Internet and its possible effect on cinema audiences today?

But what about TRON?

It is described as:

…a $20-million cinematic journey through the mind of a computer, frequently looks like the ultimate video game, played by – and with -human beings on a screen 70 feet wide and 30 feet high.

These words could describe the current sequel, even though it is reported to have cost $200 million and, if you see it on IMAX, will play on screens 85 feet wide and 65 feet high.

The article also quotes Thomas L. Wilhite, Disney’s then head of production:

‘We invested $20 million in our belief that the characters in this computer world, invented by man in his own image, would appeal to people,”

Obviously it didn’t work out that way but it is similar to how the studio now feels about the sequel, although they’ll be hoping for a better return on their money.

But what was the landscape like for digital effects back in 1982?

Tron director Steven Lisberger was prescient in predicting the future:

Mr. Lisberger is among those who believe that computer-generated imagery will eventually replace all forms of optical effects – but he concedes that ”it’s still very expensive to lay all the information describing a setting into the computer.”

Steven Spielberg, who was basking in the box office glory of E.T. that summer, is quoted as saying:

”there will be a day …when it will be possible to create an entire civilization at the cost of two days’ shooting.”

Films such as Lord of the Rings and Avatar seem to have proved his general point right, although the cost of effects has risen in line with their quality.

The existence of the new film also speaks volumes about the current studio obsession with Comic-Con, the annual geekfest in San Diego where films are announced or unveiled to expectant crowds.

When Disney were pondering whether to make Tron: Legacy, director Joseph Kosinski made a short test film featuring Jeff Bridges that demonstrated what the sequel would look like and the crowd went predictably nuts:

(You can watch a higher quality version here)

Disney will be banking that the Comic-Con demographic, who grew up watching the original on video, will help make the sequel a success.

But going back to the 1982 article, perhaps the most fascinating part is when it mentions a young animator named John Lasseter:

Disney is taking the next step in computer technology. Two young animators, John Lasseter and Glenn Keane, are planning a 30-second scene from Maurice Sendak’s modern children’s classic, ”Where the Wild Things Are,” in which the little boy called Max chases his dog out of his room and through the upstairs hall and down the stairs.

Max and his dog are being animated conventionally, like the characters in all the other cartoons made by Disney – or by Mr. Bluth. But Max is being colored by computer, eliminating the need for those who now paint each individual animation cel. Even more revolutionary, Max’s room, the hallway and the stairway are being planned to be executed by MAGI as Computer Generated Environments.

This was the test footage from that test:

Of course Lasseter’s vision for Where the Wild Things Are never made it to the big screen and it wasn’t until 2009 that a version directed by Spike Jonze came out.

But Lasseter was inspired by Tron when he was at Disney and felt that the visuals represented the future:

“It absolutely blew me away! A little door in my mind opened up. I looked at it and said, `This is it! This is the future!'”

Lasseter was soon to leave Disney and join Lucasfilm Computer Graphics, which would later be bought by Steve Jobs and renamed Pixar in 1986.

Over the next twenty years he oversaw their ground breaking and enormously successful film output, directing Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), and Cars (2006).

In 2006 Disney purchased Pixar and Lasseter became chief creative officer of both Pixar and Disney animation studios.

Earlier this year it was reported that Tron: Legacy was shown to a team at Pixar that included …John Lasseter.

Sean Bailey, Disney’s president of production said:

“Tron is very much Joe Kosinski’s vision, a vision which is thrilling to me and I hope is thrilling to the fans. What I give Joe and the filmmaking team immense credit for, is this was all born out of how do we give the fans the best movie we can. We were very fortunate that Pixar wanted to play a part in it.”

Let’s go back to the final paragraph of the New York Times article:

In the final analysis, however, it isn’t the special effects techniques that make an ”E.T.” or ”Bambi” endure. The creature made of rubber and steel, the deer made of pencil marks on paper, all participate in narratives that compel belief. As Walt Disney never tired of saying, ”First get the story right.”

If Tron: Legacy doesn’t live up to expectations, will Walt’s old saying come back to haunt the current studio?

> NYT article on Tron in 1982
> More on Tron and Tron Legacy at Wikipedia
> Tron: Legacy review