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How emacs got into Tron: Legacy

Here's a great account of the good, nerdy thoughtfulness that went into generating the command-line screenshots for Tron: Legacy; JT Nimoy decided that he'd go for a mix of l33t and realistic, and landed on emacs eshell and posix kill:
In addition to visual effects, I was asked to record myself using a unix terminal doing technologically feasible things. I took extra care in babysitting the elements through to final composite to ensure that the content would not be artistically altered beyond that feasibility. I take representing digital culture in film very seriously in lieu of having grown up in a world of very badly researched user interface greeble. I cringed during the part in Hackers (1995) when a screen saver with extruded "equations" is used to signify that the hacker has reached some sort of neural flow or ambiguous destination. I cringed for Swordfish and Jurassic Park as well. I cheered when Trinity in The Matrix used nmap and ssh (and so did you). Then I cringed again when I saw that inevitably, Hollywood had decided that nmap was the thing to use for all its hacker scenes (see Bourne Ultimatum, Die Hard 4, Girl with Dragon Tattoo, The Listening, 13: Game of Death, Battle Royale, Broken Saints, and on and on). In Tron, the hacker was not supposed to be snooping around on a network; he was supposed to kill a process. So we went with posix kill and also had him pipe ps into grep. I also ended up using emacs eshell to make the terminal more l33t. The team was delighted to see my emacs performance -- splitting the editor into nested panes and running different modes. I was tickled that I got emacs into a block buster movie. I actually do use emacs irl, and although I do not subscribe to alt.religion.emacs, I think that's all incredibly relevant to the world of Tron.
jtnimoy - Tron Legacy (2010) (via JWZ)

Tron: Ancestry T-Shirt

Ancestry.jpeg This lovely T-shirt design by Spiritgreen is on sale today at Woot. [via Laughing Squid]

They're made out of data

Rob Beschizza saw Tron: Legacy, the sequel to 1982's virtual-reality classic. With apologies to Terry Bisson. Read the rest

HOWTO tronify your outfit

Limor "Lady Ada" Fried and Becky "Lady Becky" Stern show you how to solder and sew electroluminescent wire borders to your favorite fabric accouterments and create exciting, tronesque glows: "Tote your Thinkpad and port your Apple in style with our custom TRON-inspired laptop bag tutorial. With a little soldering and sewing skills you can have your own light up satchel, sure to impress geeky friends. So grab your sewing needle and soldering iron and follow along."

Make A TRON Bag - How to use EL (Electro Luminescent) Wire (via Neatorama)

TRON Guy on open source, DIY ethos, & plans for a suit sequel

tron-guy-legacy.jpg Jay Maynard, aka TRON Guy, was kind enough to do an interview in honor of this weekend's #1 film, TRON: Legacy. He's seen the film again since his Wired review, and I asked him about his favorite surprises that were a nod to the original (hearing Journey's "Separate Ways" at high volume). He also liked a lot of the repurposed lines, but he didn't want to drop any spoilers. He wanted to see MOAR of the fastest thing on the grid: Sam with Flynn's lightcycle. Outside of his TRON fame, Jay is project manager on the open source Hercules project, so we talked a bit about the film's take on open source and cracking, etc. Jay also has some excellent advice for makers and cosplayers alike after the break.

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Tron: Reloaded, come for the action, stay for the aesthetics

Last week, I attended a press-preview for Tron: Legacy at the London IMAX, where the film was screened in 3D. It's an extremely fun bit of entertainment, with some surprises, loads of nostalgic pandering to the sort of person who saw the original Tron as a kid (such as me), and some interesting commercial notes.

As you'd expect from an effects-heavy action-thriller, there's not much by way of plot. Through an incoherent process, the feckless, alienated son of the long-lost founder of the largest video-game and software company in the world is transported into a magical computerland in which his father has been stranded for 20 years. There, he finds an oppressive force oppressing madly and plotting something awful. He discovers that time is running out, and he has to get very quickly from A to B (with stops for brilliantly choreographed fight scenes in a variety of beautifully rendered environments) or all is lost. On the way, he reconciles his fecklessness with the wisdom of his father, much selfless sacrifice takes place, betrayers betray, redemption happens, etc etc (anyone so sensitive as to claim that the foregoing is a spoiler should probably abstain from reading anything written about movies, period).

Of course, the primary artistic effect of T:R comes from its action and its aesthetics (which are closely entwined). It's a beautiful movie, even in 3D (I find 3D hard to converge, overly dark, and hard on my eyes). The visual design, from the rendered panoramas of the inside of computerland (which look like the Matrix, as resdesigned by Dubai's urban planners) to the meticulous set-dressing and costumes (more of a 2001-meets-Rollerball thing) works in improbable and even moving ways. Rubbing the glassy noir brutalism of the landscape up against the utopian, curvilinear, techno-chic clothes and sets produces something that's much more striking and more moving than the mere storyline.

But no one wants to stare at nice clothes for 96 minutes. Luckily, there is a triple-helping of action sequences involving all the best combat stuff from the first movie and the games that followed it: acrobatic discus-tossing, light-cycle racing, bullet-time martial arts sequences, and some tasty aerial combat for good measure. What's most striking about these sequences is how much like a game they are: every time the actors unveil a new complex wrinkle on the rules -- shifts in gravity, new weapons, super-bad-ass bad-guys -- it feels just like watching someone confronting a level-boss or levelling up in a console or arcade game. I wouldn't be surprised in the least if the production team collaborated with the game designers who'll be producing the inevitable console tie-ins to create these scenes; they look like they'd be incredibly fun to play.

More distracting and less effective was the film's obnoxious use of product placement, which is confined to the first act (not much room for product placement in computerland, thankfully -- it would have really shattered the look-and-feel to have these software agents racing Ducati lightcycles, carefully holding their soda-pop cans with the label out and sporting Nokia logos on the napes of their necks). I got the feeling that the film's creators were under pressure to cram a full movie's worth of placements into the first few minutes, since most of the movie didn't lend itself to this treatment. I kept hoping for the computerland people to go shopping for clothes at a techno-goth superstore like London's Cyberdog -- though, of course, Cyberdog's clothes are essentially fetishwear versions of the original Tron costumes, so it's only fitting that they'd be taken to the next level by Tron's successor.

This is clearly a movie whose intended audience is people in their late 30s and early 40s with their children in tow. The script is peppered with sly references to War Games, the original Star Wars, and has a davidbowieite androga-villain that is a charming homage to a dozen comparable characters from my boyhood.

What follows is a very mild spoiler. If this bugs you, look away now.

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New Tron Legacy Trailer