Saturday, January 29, 2011

TRON: Legacy

I distinctly recall watching the original TRON on a friends video player in late 1984. The idea that he could put in this big black cassette into a large box near the TV and watch this movie any time it was free for him to do so, was as awesome as the world that the movie itself transported us to. We had no idea who this Jeff Bridges was but we all knew Bruce Boxleitner from Bring Em Back Alive, so he was cool. It was a Disney movie, which even back then was against my ethos [no one dies horribly in Disney movies] but it’s high-concept and the extraordinary visuals of The Grid were enough to hold my attention. Graphically the movie has aged and if you’ve not seen it in many years you may even snigger at it’s realisation of computing since a common PC user nowadays has a much greater understanding and most people originally viewing TRON.

Fast forward to 2010 over 25 years later and Disney release a sequel every bit as visually stunning in 2010 as TRON was in 1982. The world of the grid was enhanced and upgraded using some of the most talented animators in the business and merged innovations with 3D technology with the most spectacular use of true IMAX ever seen to date. Sadly it was missing a soul.

Not to draw comparisons with Avatar as I know may reviewers have, Tron: Legacy being the big Christmas 3D movie - but I must address the fact that while it's 3D tech wasn't as "effective" as Cameron's work, Tron: Legacy was more successful in drawing you into The Grid then Cameron did with Pandora [although I know there's a "tribe" of blue-painted retards somewhere in the world that would disagree]. Cameron produced more extraordinary visuals to cover up the fact he has no plot but Disney's tech wasn't good enough to do the same for a lacklustre story and thus audiences may have been found wanting by comparison.

Legacy's plot is deeply flawed not because it's badly executed but perhaps it's just a tweaked version of the original with an excessive use of Star Wars. In the original Kevin Flynn is digitized into The Grid and must search for evidence of his company CEO's wrongdoing with the aid of Tron and escape. Here Sam Flynn is digitised and must search for his father whom he hopes to return to reality with the aid of Quarra. Star Wars is easily compared once you see Sam as Luke, Flynn as Obi Wan, Clu as the Emperor and Rinzler as Vader. [Rinzler is actually named after author and Lucasfilm Executive Editor, J.W. Rinzler.] Watch out for the "Here they come" line voiced by Quarra [Leia] as Sam [Luke] gets into the aircraft turret to shoot down bad-guy aircraft pursuing them.

The film thankfully doesn't let us down character department. Garrett Hedlund [Sam] has grown much since Patrolclus in Troy ['04] and by all indications he'll be in further Tron sequels. House's Olivia Wilde gets a haircut, zipped up in leather and generally keeps our attention on the screen for the "talkie" moments when we're not being visually and aurally assaulted. Michael Sheen puts in a bizarre cameo performance that wouldn't be out of place in The Matrix [but considering the Washowski's are going ahead with Matrix 4 and 5, perhaps this is his audition]. Stealing the show however, as always, is of course Jeff Bridges as the illogically aged Kevin Flynn who sounds a bit more like The Dude then '80's Kevin Flynn but to be honest, Bridges is so awesome even his dialogue can't distract us from just how fuckin' cool he is.

I won't review this movie without passing on a some-ways reluctant comment on the movie's score. It was created entirely by french musicians Daft Punk who have made their careers from producing tuneless droning noise for the House-music masses. Here however they've somehow used this noise and fused it to wonderful theatrical orchestrations[that often sound like The Dark Knight] to create something truly unique and extraordinary, a new update to magnificent sound space of The Grid.

Overall I may have had higher hopes for Tron: Legacy than what I got, but that's not so say that I was seriously disappointed. It works on a level that reintroduces us to, to quote Flynn's opening monologue "a world I thought I'd never see" again and I certainly look forward to seeing more once the opportunity arises.

Colonel Creedon Verdict: ****


Civilian Overseer said...

Saw it, in keeping with the spitit of the movie, I shall deliver my verdict in the parlance of the Software Engineer, Tron Legacy was an attempt to "divide by zero", We all know where that leads.

Constance said...

My response to the release of Tron... to see the original version.

Dahar Master said...

Ah its good to see the blog returning to its roots, Keep it up Colonel.

Civilian Overseer said...

Careful Dahar, with the Irish Central Bank issuing 51billion in unsecured credit notes to further prop up our bankrupt banks,(effectively counterfeiting Euros), things are going to get even nastier. The ECB won't turn a blind eye to this practice forever, especially if the other PIIGS nations start doing the same. Translation, whoever the new Finance Minister after election, they're in for an even shittier time then they imagined.

As the Colonel's semi official spokesman, I'd like to add, that he will undoubtable be keeping things up and he will of course continue to deny the use of any little blue pills.

Constance said...

He told me those were breath mints!

Civilian Overseer said...

Connie, he said a lot of things to a lot of girls, frankly, the man is a complete bastard. ;)

vaughan said...

The most utterly pointless sequel made since another 48 hours.that is all!