Disney banks on sequels to bring Christmas cheer

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The Independent Culture

Disney has given a glimpse of its upcoming pre-Christmas offerings - a sequel to a cult 1980s sci-fi flick, and a more traditional reprise of the stock princess-meets-prince-charming crowd-pleaser.

The animated movie giant's boss Rich Ross presented the two films - "Tron: Legacy" and "Tangled" - at work-in-progress screenings at its sprawling Burbank studios north of Los Angeles.

"Tron: Legacy" comes nearly 30 years after 1982's "Tron," which received a mixed reception initially but went on to garner a cult following, partly for its early special effects.

"We had to live up to the legacy of the first film," said debut director Joseph Kosinski. "It's been an incredible journey. Basically, without a great story, the visual effects and the technology don't mean anything."

"I think the film is compelling, even for non science-fiction fans," he added.

The original movie told the story of how video game maker Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges) was teleported into one of his creations by a super-computer.

It came at a time when video games were just taking off, and reflected the visual and musical styles of the age, making it quickly dated. "Tron" made only 33 million dollars in North America, a commercial flop for Disney.

Bridges reprises his central role in the new movie, which is sprinkled with references to the original, while the special effects are bang up to date.

With the feel-good animated movie "Tangled," Disney is on more traditional ground, with the magical-haired Princess Rapunzel falling in love with a handsome bandit who passes by her tower.

The film is classic Disney, although the studio has clearly been pushed to update its visual style by the breakthrough animated successes of Pixar and rival Dreamworks, maker of the "Shrek" franchise.

"Tangled" opens in North America on November 24 while "Tron: Legacy" will hit US screens on December 17, just in time for filmgoers over the Christmas holiday period.

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