I was skeptical about Tron: Legacy. In part six of the epic Speculative Cinema in 2010 feature that ran in throughout late January and early February, which you can read in full here, I wrote: "It's easy to forget that Tron was deemed a massive flop upon its initial release, and whatever the appetite for a sequel amongst fans who've picked up on the original in the decades since, I don't honestly expect Tron: Legacy will appeal widely enough to the greater public that it will be judged any more of a success. It could be good; it could even be great."
That said, the trailer released a few days ago really got my blood pumping. Dark, stylish, and atmospheric, Tron: Legacy, our first real look at why the studio seems to have such faith in first-time feature-film director Joseph Kosinskui that they're already talking two sequels and a potential CG spin-off series for TV wowed me on all counts. In case you haven't seen it already, take a look:
But that's not really why I'm posting. I'm posting because yesterday, Dark Horizons - Garth Franklin's excellent Aussie film news and reviews resource - ran a screengrab comparison from the trailer above and the original Tron that brings to light what an astounding job of de-aging Jeff Bridges the special effects gurus behind the sequel have done:
I mean, differing lighting conditions aside, isn't that amazing? Perhaps they can't yet physically immortalise us in our youths, but with the help of a little green screen, a graphics package and some quad-core processing power, it seems like we're finally getting to a point where nearly anything is possible.
They've tried this sort of this in the past, with uniformly uncanny results - as with Tom Hanks in The Polar Express, for instance - and of course as the tech gets better and the techniques becomes ever more practiced, the end product will of course improve. But come on. Young Jeff Bridges has never looked so good.
Oh, do me next, effects people!