In addition to the films, Disney provides the usual behind-the-scenes features focusing on special effects and, wisely, the actors. There's no doubt that one of the reasons the concept has had such staying power across decades is the personalities of Bruce Boxleitner and Jeff Bridges. Maybe as programs they don't have a lot of character depth, but still… something keeps bringing us back.
Since they did after almost three decades, the set acknowledges the strange process of revisiting the legacy instead of just remaking it. Interviews with studio people, producers and the two masterminds – original visionary Steven Lisberger and new creator Joseph Kosinski – track the labyrinthine development of TRON: Legacy.
Disney offers an immersive look, either traditional via featurettes, or using your own computer or pad with their relatively new "Second Screen" app that takes you in and out of commentary and galleries. It can make your head spin, but the hardcore fans no doubt relish that. Take it a little slower if you're new to TRON and wondering what the fuss is about.
If you want, you can pretend you're at that first Comic-Con panel for Race to Witch Mountain, when suddenly a trailer for what was then TR2N played out. Watch it and imagine what the plot then was; though it's obviously changed between that "proof of concept" and the full-length film, kernels of cool ideas remain.
And kernels of cool ideas continue. With a cadre of writers, Lisberger has fleshed out the World of TRON. We ran the leaked footage of the "Flynn Lives" conspiracy; firmly planted in an alternate reality around "Center City" and a little self-important, it's still a fun glimpse of what's supposedly happened in the "user" world between movies, and sets up a little for the future.
Then the Blu-ray disc takes you to the TRON arcade game screen and reveals all kinds of pieces of the past and future. Unfortunately, there's nothing more on the time between on the grid, just the same teaser for the animated series TRON: Uprising that had been on the web for a couple of months.
For the past, there's an interesting though for some perhaps self-indulgent feature on Lisberger and his son sifting through production photos in the Disney vault, talking about their perspectives on the making of the original TRON. It's a stark reminder of the difference between then and now, not just in special effects. Once upon a time studios didn't obsessively film behind-the-scenes because no one could imagine one disc of extras, let alone a five-disc set.
All this and oh, yes, there are movies, too. On Blu-ray, the dazzle of TRON: Legacy looks even better than many local cinemas would have projected it. I can't speak for the 3D version; no one at the Fanboy Planet offices has done that upgrade yet, but even at the theaters, that was perhaps cool but felt a little superfluous.
However, the chance to have the original TRON on Blu-ray is great. Disney includes all the features from their original out of print DVD release, with a new transfer of the film. And it is beautiful. With all its forward vision in special effects, something about it has always looked like an otherworldly silent movie to me, and the re-master heightens that effect, sharp, familiar and yet alien.
To be honest, TRON is a concept that far outstrips what's actually been done with it. Both Lisberger and Kosinski have latched onto something their skills could only partially communicate. But what's there is fun, and worth having on the shelf.