Tron Legacy left critics divided (it currently sits at a 50% rating at aggregate site Rotten Tomatoes), but the casual viewer seemed more positive about the sequel to Disney’s 1982 cult classic, helping it rake in over $400 million dollars worldwide ($170 million plus of that domestic). That could mean we’ll all be taking another trip into the digitized Tron universe soon.
If that turns out to be the case, perhaps Disney should get in touch with Daniel Weissenberger and Anthony Burns – who’ve collaborated on a very cool Tron fan film entitled Tron: Destiny.
The four-minute short follows the exploits of two hackers who manage to get inside the Encom computer system. Their daring exploit has repercussions, though, when they release a trojan horse set up by the MCP – in the form of a light cycle. The two hackers take the futuristic bike for a spin through the streets of Toronto, but the audience soon learns their transgression has not gone unnoticed…
For a fan-made short, Destiny is really impressive – and it becomes even moreso when you realize that director and co-writer Anthony Burns did a ton of the work himself in a very short timeframe. Burns is like a modern-day renaissance man, taking the DIY aesthetic to dizzying heights – directing, casting, doing the digital post-production effects and other duties in the span of three short weeks.
Burns tells us that when he decided to create a short to use as a “calling card” to show producers and studios what he could do, crafting a new chapter in one of his favorite franchises seemed like the obvious way to go. “I chose Tron because I am a huge fan of the original, and the fans are die hards with a great sense of loyalty. The design of Tron is inspiring and I knew it would be a blast to elaborate upon the past work with hints to the newer stuff. I hadn't seen Legacy yet when I came up with the idea, but I knew the fans would love to see something come out of the grid so... I began asking my wife if she would divorce me if I invested some of our money into a film.”
Luckily for the director (and the rest of us…) his wife was agreeable to the proposition. “I took 3 weeks off from work to make this, so I didn't have a lot of time or money to bring it all together. Good friends, mandy.com, and Craigslist saved this production many times.”
It hasn’t all been smooth sailing, though. As producer Johnny Hockin points out, the trailer debuted to great fanfare earlier this month – and then earned the ire of Disney, who had it pulled on copyright grounds because Burns had used Daft Punk’s Tron Legacy score. Undaunted, the filmmaker then spent the night writing an entirely new soundtrack (which is very reminiscent of some of John Carpenter’s best work) for the film. With the new score added, Hockins says “Disney owns pretty well 0% of the project.
Of course, the real question here is was the film successful in getting Burns noticed by producers and studios? Burns says, “After the first leak, many producers have contacted me with films and concepts they want to make, so I think everybody won with this short. I had a great time making a love letter to Tron, fans got to enjoy a new micro-chapter of Tron, and producers/audiences got to see, yet again, that you don't need a ton of money to make good entertainment anymore.”
Check out the Tron: Destiny short film right here, and be sure to swing by Burn’s Vimeo page for more of the director’s work.