Disney's 'Tron: Legacy' and 'Tangled' event makes for some rather enjoyable whiplash

TRON-TANGLEDImage Credit: Douglas Curran; Disney EnterprisesWhen I say the words “a Disney movie,” I think we can agree that we all have a pretty clear vision of what I’m talking about: Family friendly, bright, adventurous, bold themes, big characters, obvious marketing tie-ins, etc. Well, last night I attended a special event showcasing two big Disney movies slated for the holiday season: Tangled (Nov. 24) and Tron: Legacy (Dec. 17). And while both films live up to all those aforementioned Disney movie traits, I am hard pressed to think of a more jarring double-feature I’ve experienced outside of a major film festival. The whiplash of going from a dark-and-glossy futuristic action adventure epic scored by Daft Punk to a storybook musical about a teenage girl with a lustrously magical mane of blonde hair is something I will not soon forget.

The evening started with footage from Tron: Legacy — first its 3-D trailer, and then about 20-or-so minutes of completed scenes in 2-D, all from what appear to be the film’s first and second acts. Many of these scenes fill in the missing bits already glimpsed in the movie’s gonzo trailers: Bruce Boxleitner’s character telling Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) that he got a page from the old arcade owned by his long-missing father Kevin (Jeff Bridges); Sam going to said arcade and getting sucked into the grid; Sam getting his black light suit and memory disc by a quartet of sleek, white-suited “sirens”; and Sam battling in a to-the-death disc game that he wins, but just barely. Just about all of this footage was also featured at the movie’s Comic-Con panel in July, but last night we were privy to two more tantalizing scenes: Sam escaping the games with the mysteriously chirpy Quorra (Olivia Wilde), and Sam’s emotional reunion with his now-monkish, vacant father.

Every time I get an extended look at this movie, I can feel myself pulled that much deeper into its dense cyber landscapes. First-time feature director Joseph Kosinski’s sleek, unhurried visual style doesn’t clutter the movie with showy camerawork and jumbled MTV editing, and for that I am endlessly grateful. That said, we got virtually (get it?) no new peeks at the film’s central villain, Kevin Flynn’s avatar Clu, so I can’t report how well Bridges’ digitally de-aged performance in the role holds up in a post-Avatar cinema landscape.

Five minutes or so after Tron: Legacy‘s footage concluded, I found myself witnessing a cute primer on the computer animation process set to what I believe was the score from Titanic, a preamble to a work-in-progress final cut of Disney’s Tangled designed to excuse its rougher edges. I’ll obviously leave a full analysis of the retelling of the fairy tale about Rapunzel (Mandy Moore) to our film critics closer to release — for one thing, they won’t see storyboards of the film’s climactic moment like I did. I will say that: (1) There were several visually elegant sequences that for once caused me to regret not being able to see a film in 3-D; (2) Zachary Levi, as the dashing thief/love interest Flynn Rider, has a remarkably strong singing voice; and (3) Several people afterwards told me the film made them cry, but I was not one of them.

What was your biggest double-feature whiplash, Popwatchers? Are you more keen to see Tron: Legacy, Tangled, or both?

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  • tracy bluth

    I’m so excited for both of these films. Disney is back on track!

  • Mr. Holloway

    Loving the idea of Trent Reznor competing against Daft Punk for the Best Original Score Oscar. (In a related story, it’ll probably never happen, but still…)

  • jes1

    Sounds like Tangled is actually promising. Neither my daughter or I were that impressed with the trailer which focused on the male lead instead of Rapunzel. My daughter even said she didn’t want to see it so we was actually planning on skipping it. But, if the reviews are positive we might just see it.

    • Rika

      @jes1, I noticed the same thing about the trailer. I thought, “How did the tale of Rapunzel get turned into a story about a guy?” Guess the Disney marketing people think they have the girls sewn up without effort and are trying to convince boys to see it.

      • KWo

        I read that because “The Princess and the Frog” (which was more marketed to girls) tanked, they switched up their marketing for Tangled to gear it more towards boys…they even changed the title! (the original name actually was “Rapunzel”)

  • chris

    Tangled reminds me too much of Shrek in the regards to the comedic tone. Tron on the other hand looks very promising in the trailers that I’ve viewed. I’m still interested in seeing some clips of Michael Sheen.

    • Nerwen Aldarion

      That is disney’s advertising. A lot of reviewers have blasted the trailers for their Shrek like tone but have actually said the film is more like A Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beats. Iconic Disney.

  • Dede

    I saw Mel Gibson’s Maverick and Brandon Lee’s The Crow as a double feature.

    • pastafarian

      That’s no match for Lake Placid and Wild Wild West at the Drive-In. Advantage: pastafarian

  • steph

    I can’t wait to see Tangled! Every thing I see about it makes it look better. :)

  • Laura

    I saw Nightmare on Elm Street 4 and Cocktail as a double feature. And they paired the sneak peek of Beauty and the Beast with The Hand that Rocks The Cradle.

    And I can’t wait to see Tron. I saw the panel and footage at Comic Con and it looks fantastic.

  • aps

    Everything I’ve heard about Tangled is saying that the trailers have not done justice to the tone of the movie. There is a bit of the modern comedic element to it, but it’s certainly not the core of the movie. I’m staying positive on it and hoping that the Disney marketing team just dropped the ball… it’s becoming a trend.
    Tron…looks just plain awesome. can’t wait.

  • Kim

    I can’t wait to see Tron Legacy!!! LOVE Garrett Hedlund!!!

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    The trailers for Tangled are misleading, the rock/pop music makes it seem like Shrek but there IS NO SUCH MUSIC in the film. The film score is by Alan Menken, the great composer of famous Disney films like Beauty and the Beast, The Little Mermaid and Aladdin.

    Every thing I have read by people who have seen the films says that it is back to the way Disney used to be. Beautiful storytelling, epic music and incredible effects (the scene with the lanterns is supposed be amazingly beautiful). I can’t wait to see it.

    • KWo

      I actually have tickets tonight to see Tangled as a sneak peek. I was going to blow it off..but maybe I should go!

  • Mike

    My biggest whiplash double feature was definitely Mama Mia! and the Dark Knight in the summer of 2008. Crazy fun singing to crazy fun butt-kicking. Ironically, everytime I see one of those I immediately want to see the other one right after it haha.

  • Jane

    I actually would not be surprised by Zachary Levi’s singing voice – he sang on “Less Than Perfect” and did a duet with Katherine McPhee on “Terrified.”

    • WhitneyD

      And he boasts a pretty major musical theater background- at least as major as you can get when it’s all in Southern California.

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