Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Is TRON's 'futuristic' world outdated?

The original “TRON” movie came out in the 1980s, during the heyday of arcade video games like “Pac-Man” and “Space Invaders.” The ground-breaking technological movie, about a hacker actually entering a computer-generated universe, was a huge hit.

“When that film came out, it was considered beyond mind blowing,” says Emory physicist Sidney Perkowitz, who compares the impact of “TRON” to “2001: A Space Odyssey.”

“People really grabbed onto the idea of being sucked into a digital world, but now we take that a little more for granted,” Perkowitz says. “Many of us are in a digital world, not exactly in the form of bytes running through a computer, but we have social networking, we have game consoles that can almost read our minds.”

Jeff Bridges, the star of the original “TRON” returns in “TRON: Legacy,” opening this weekend. The special effects are better, but has the idea of entering a digital universe become old hat?

One of the most outdated aspects of the original “TRON” is the SHIVA laser, used to “disassemble” Bridges so that he could be projected into a computer. “That seems a little extreme now,” Perkowitz says. “We all now live in a digital world, and we all know how to recreate our personalities and upload them into a digital world.”

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