Starlog #59
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Submitted By: guygg

It's a Walt Disney film and nothing like it has ever been seen before. The film is called Tron and has been described by Disney officials as an electronic science fiction fantasy set in a futuristic electronic world inspired in part by the current mania for video games.

Tron is the story of a young computer genius who, in trying to short circuit a runaway program in a vast, computerized information system, is drawn into another world, a universe of electricity and light which parallels the real world. Tron's electronic world is being created at the Disney Studios by combining live action footage with state-of-the-art techniques in lighting and computer graphics. Characters are set in landscapes that could not physically exist in the real world. The film's computerized effects are being designed by Information International Inc. of Los Angeles and Magi Inc. of New York. Digital Effects in New York is also supplying some computer effects for the film.

Advance glimpses by STARLOG staffers at a few scenes of the film as it nears completion suggest that this story about a micro civilization existing within the circuitry of a computer has the potential to equal Fantasia as a milestone in futuristic filmmaking.

Tron is the brainchild of writer/director Steven Lisberger. He and producer Donald Kushner brought the project to Walt Disney in June 1980, after spending two years researching the computer and optical effects technology needed to bring the story to life.  Lisberger makes his feature directorial debut with this film.

Futuristic industrial designer Syd Mead, French comic artist Jean "Moebius" Giraud and high-tech commercial artist Peter Lloyd served as special visual consultants. Harrison Ellenshaw is associate producer. Special effects are supervised by Ellenshaw and Richard Taylor. Bruce Logan is director of photography. The film is being shot in 65mm, a first for Disney live action feature filming.

Tron will be released in July of this year and will be the first motion picture to make such extensive use of computer graphics. Computer-generated landscapes, buildings and vehicles provide settings for live-action characters in the film's electronic world.

Bally Manufacturing, the nation's largest maker of video arcade games, is creating a Tron video game. The game will be in Bally's 240 Alladin's Castle arcades across the United States and in theaters exhibiting Tron one month prior to the film's release.
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