New Years Eve brought the rare chance to get across to Bradford. The National Media Museum is in the centre of the city and houses an IMAX cinema, a 5 floor surround sound 3d capable venue. It is one of the most advanced cinemas in the world and the first IMAX to be opened in the UK. On at the IMAX at the moment is Tron Legacy (official site), the sequel to the 1982 cult Disney Film, Tron. This is a film I have been waiting many years to see and blogged about it way back in August 2009!
Don’t worry there will be no spoilers!
Tron (IMDB) isn’t really science fiction, it’s far more fantasy based with the whole idea being that what happens inside a computer is imagined into a way everyone can understand. So programs become people with a specific task. The story is separate from the first Tron film but follows on from where it left off with Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner returning as their roles in the first film. There are several nods to the original film and the premise of forcing imperfect programs to destroy each other on the ‘Game Grid’ remains central to the film.
Computer technology has moved on at an incredible rate since the early 80’s when Tron’s vision of a computer generated world was incredibly ambitious. It bent, if not broke the boundaries of what was possible at the time. The only way forward was to make Tron Legacy as convincingly real and complete a computer generated world as is possible. Surely 3D and IMAX was the best way to view the film?! I believe it is, forget standard cinemas, go 3D, go big, it is worth it. Creating a Jeff Bridges from 30 years ago all in CGI is quite incredible and graphics are getting so good that it will not be long before we will get fooled by them. (That wasn’t a spoiler, he is in the trailers!)
As for the story, critics say that the plot in Tron Legacy is a bit weak, this may be true but the first Tron plot wasn’t exactly a masterpiece of script writing. However, what is true is that it is the winter family blockbuster I hoped for when I heard it was being re-booted a few years ago. I enjoyed the film, I thought the graphics were incredible. I also thought the inclusion of Daft Punk as the writers of the soundtrack was a perfect choice and only adds to my respect and enjoyment of the electro duo from Paris.
As for the Media Museum itself, I have decided I need to go for a proper visit sometime soon. I’ve been a couple of times, but only for the IMAX cinema. There is a fantastic exhibition in the foyer demonstrating the history of computer games with playable examples. I remember spending hours on arcade games like Street Fighter 2, Time Crisis and many more. The arcade machines have all been converted to take new 10p pieces so you can play to your heart’s desire! The console based games are free to play and include Goldeneye for the N64, Mario Kart on the SNES as well as Sonic 2 on the Megadrive and Pong on the Atari amongst others. There are 8 floors of exhibits and features and 2 standard cinemas in addition to the IMAX. Easily worth an afternoon out especially as the main galleries are free to all!