Or, okay, maybe Christmas Eve for Tron nerds. Last night's "Tron Night" at Bridgeport Village was essentially a retread of last year's Avatar Day, with 20 minutes of footage showed in an IMAX theater that was only like a quarter full. (Seriously, are they just flat-out lying about these things "selling out"?) I will say this: The people who were there really, really liked Tron. One adorable couple had matching Tron hoodies; a guy in front of me had not only a Tron hoodie but also a FLYNN'S ARCADE t-shirt; throughout, there were giddy squeals whenever there were callbacks to the original film. (Of which there were a lot. This thing's gonna be loaded with shameless fan service.) True, these sizzle-reel presentations are nothing more than an elaborate marketing scheme ("Feel free to go onto Facebook and tell people what you saw!" one of the people running the screening read off a script after the footage ended), but at least the people who were at last night's event were having fun.
"BLAH BLAH BLAH BUT HOW WAS THE TRON-TACULAR FOOTAGE!?!?!", you ask? Pretty awesome, I answer. I'm not sold that Tron: Legacy's story will be any good (though anything's gonna be an improvement over the original's), and I'm not sure the digitally de-aged Jeff Bridges will work (somewhat ominously, last night's footage only included one very brief shot of him saying a single line). But everything else? Impressive.
Clearly welcoming any Avatar comparisons, Disney wants Tron: Legacy to be seen big—like, IMAX big—and in 3D, and after last night, it's clear why: While the scenes in Legacy that take place in the "normal" world are in 2D, once the film goes into the Tron world, shit gets big and grandiose and loud and 3D, with bass that rumbled the theater and giant, all-encompassing neon flying things everywhere. It wasn't stunning on an Avatar level—the visuals here are less dense, less organic, less revolutionary—but was a hell of a sensory experience all the same. Just about every frame of footage shown last night was gorgeous—picture-perfect examples of super-slick, sci-fi ulta-modernism, with some of it looking like the original Tron on steroids, and some of it looking cooly quiet and confident (there were some 2001-style, Kubrickian touches to some of the set designs, which made me clap my hands like a hyperactive little girl). The action sequences—including a duel with laser frisbees and a visceral light car chase—were cool, the effects were impressive, the production design was phenomenal, and Daft Punk's score, blasted over the theater's speakers, tied it all together.
I can't speak for the rest of the film, and—even after the very selective footage Disney deigned to show off last night—I'm particularly nonplussed about movie's character- and story-based elements. But c'mon: No one's going to see Tron: Legacy for that stuff. People are gonna go see Tron: Legacy to be visually and aurally overwhelmed by some really pretty stuff, and if last night's extended preview was any indication, that's exactly what they'll get.