I recently watched the new Tron movie and was truly blown away by the awesome effects and the awe-inspiring visual feast. Like with the movie Avatar, I came away wondering how the filmmakers managed to do the things they did.
Of course there is plenty of obvious CGI (Computer-generated imagery) in the movie and while it is all done to perfection, you always know that it is CGI. The light-cycles are particularly well done and I now have the same feeling I had when I saw the original Tron movie: where can I get a bike that looks like that?
And on a completely different level of technical achievement, we have the young Jeff Bridges. In fact, so good is this particular CGI that I had to check the Internet just to be sure that it wasn’t in fact something other than CGI. I kept thinking: “Wow, that make-up is good!” Of course, as I found out, it was not make-up at all. It was a completely new (and improved) Jeff Bridges thanks to the miracle of CGI. There was no “uncanny valley” feeling at all – it was done to perfection and it quite simply felt like there was another actor in the movie who looked exactly like a 35 year old Jeff Bridges.
The perfection of this execution made me wonder: where is it headed?
There is already speculation as to whether aging actors may again be considered for young romantic lead roles. Are we going to see a young Harrison Ford playing opposite Miley Cyrus in a romantic teen comedy? Perhaps Elizabeth Taylor and Zac Efron?
In fact we shouldn’t limit our thinking to the living. There is a very real possibility that we will soon see a new movie starring long lost Bruce Lee. With that in mind we can then start considering all sorts of eventualities. It would certainly be interesting to see the literal revival of James Dean and Marilyn Monroe for starters. There was a recent rumour in Hollywood that George Lucas had been buying the rights of dead stars so that he could make a movie with no living actors in it. Apparently the rumour is untrue, but I can’t help thinking that this is definitely where it’s all going.
And of course, we eventually end up with a totally new creation: the perfect actor. One that’ll be specifically tailored to match our taste and who will always be the perfect role model. One that won’t demand a high salary (or any salary) and who will live forever. And if an award is won by Mr or Mrs Perfect, then who would get the award I wonder. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see.
Read more about how Tron: Legacy pays tribute to the past while stretching current movie tech to its limits in the February 2011 issue of Popular Mechanics – on sale on 24 January.