TRON: LEGACY

Right, let’s talk about Tron.. in Three D.

Cumi found it extremely so-so. He lamented that the music was somewhat unimaginative, the costumes bland (no differentiation from one white or black suite to the other), the effects average and the overall production of the film, lackluster. He complained that after you get past the neon-glow costumes, whizzing ‘frisbee’ disks and circuit backdrop, there really isn’t much to get excited about. The film was also filled with back-story, about Sam’s adolescence, the creation of the grid, Quorra’s origin, that was draggy and slowed the pacing down to a crawl. Not only that, the part that really annoyed him was the screenplay that was full of re-hashed dialogue and seen-it-before scenarios. As hard as he tried to enjoy Tron Legacy, he kept wondering how much longer he had to be trapped in the cinema ‘Grid’.

Me, Ciki on the other hand, loved it. And so did my buddy Dave of @TLWH. As such, we decided to leave Cumi on the curb on this one, and write a post on the supreme kickass-ness of Tron: Legacy.. the 3D version of course!

Here is Dave a.k.a. @TLWH with his movie review guestpost on Tron:

The Past:

Back in 1982 when Mei ( @agentcikay/ ciki) was still in Diapers (cute image eh?) I was watching Tron for the first time as a kid. I thought it sucked. The original Tron’s ZX spectrum graphics paled in comparison to what else was out there at the time – Star Wars. The story was also second hand. In the literary world Philip K Dick had already introduced us to Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and The Matrix had already been born in writing long before the Internet was around. And no, not the Keanu Reeves rip off version. Still, Tron had become a cult. And so it stewed for twenty some years.

The Present:

Sequels come, sequels go. Rarely are they any good. Reboots of movies happen every year. Would Tron: Legacy fall? Nope, it blew me away. I sat there glued to the big screen as the story line unraveled to the present. Grid creator Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) has been lost for all of these 20 years. His son with the help of Tron (a security program) user finds his way to the virtual world his father created. Smart,sexy, skin hugging Tron outfits are adorned by all. Neon lights are key here. But add in a hyper-drive of 3D light cycles and you can almost believe you were there. And if not, you will seriously wish you could be after you see the Sirens (a guy thing). The only slight blight is the CGI effects making Clu (Jeff Bridges) 20 years younger. They do look dodgy at times. Then again, he’s a computer program. That said, everything else just gyrates movie magic.

The Future:

Music from Galic duo Daft Punk lifts the mood of the this film even more into a pounding adventure. Highlighted by an over the top awesome club scene involving Michael Sheen (Castor / Zuse). Flynn’s son played by Garrett Hedlund was sure to annoy me. A boy wonder hero. But, I have to admit his performance was excellent. And, in my humble opinion would have made a great son in Indiana Jones IV. What does all this mean? I am salivating for a third Tron, and hoping it does not take another 20 years to make! If you are any hint of a computer geek, or adore letting your imagination run away with you. This is a must see.

The real Cumi’s last say on the film…

The original Tron broke away from Disney’s formulaic family entertainment in the 80s. As Dave has put it, the movie had been way ahead of its time. I remember watching this on VHS (for some of you it was BETA), it was nearly impossible to watch it because back then, western films took ages to come to Asian cinemas (pre-globalization period) and the earliest copies were similar to the worst ‘Cam’ recordings we have today on p2p listings. It would be worse if your rental was dubbed from a legacy of cam versions. The original Tron’s dim lit environment and neon lights didn’t create a visually stimulating affair either.

Unbeknownst to Ciki, i enjoyed the club scene as well. It wasn’t just because of the Beau Garrett’s bodacious character, Gem, but more so, Michael Sheen’s performance and character that broke the monotony of the dry dialogue and predictable screenplay. It was nice to see those firefly or dragonfly inspired aviation gear as well.

A quick check on imdb states that the screenplay were written by television serial writers – this might have explained why i found it so boring. I couldn’t even sit through an episode of LOST. I felt the Warchowski brothers, Jeunet & Caro or Guy Ritchie would have provided a much more visually stimulating movie than director, Joseph Kosinski whose experience is mainly in filming computer game trailers. The choice of camera angles were straightforward rather than engaging. Sure, there were some great scenes (including some interesting interior design and product placement for avant garde furniture) but somehow they just didn’t gel for me in totality. There was just too much of Jeff Bridges, too much dialogue, not enough Tron, not enough action and not enough game play!

I had high hopes for an excellent film score from Daft Punk but what a  let down (I love my techno music and i love great visuals that go with it rhythmically). Every moment on hearing a build up of tempo, i eagerly anticipated an explosion of sweeping arpeggios, bouncing bass-lines and beats to breakout in pace with visually captivating action but the scenes just paced down to some boring dialogue or lackluster action, preventing any rhythmic editing to wow the audience. The tunes at the club scene were horrible even after Zuse(Michael Sheen) signaled to the techno duo on the decks to pick it up. Who could i blame for uninspiring sounds-cape? Daft Punk, the director, producer or the editor? They might as well have hired Yanni!

As much as many reviews glorified the magnificent 3D technology used in the film shoot, i felt the director did not maximise the 3D experience to fully engage the audience. Imagine if certain scenes where shown from a first person’s view point! Tron Legacy was kind of like making ice cream with a breakthrough gadget but with the wrong the recipe. In my perspective, the end product made no difference if shot with regular film cameras with computer graphics added in later. It’s not worth the 3D hype that’s being played up industry marketing peeps.

Joseph Kosinski’s next project is a remake of ‘The Black Hole’. A movie made in 1979 set it in outer-space. I liked it. I hope Mr. Kosinski will do a better job than this one.

Comments

  1. Hail the Baroness! Cool review, we are supposed to watch this but judging from our schedules, I’m not too sure if we’ll make it to the cinema.

  2. I’ve forgotten about the old Tron and haven’t watch the new one either. But I kinda don’t feel at a loss here either. Oh well. Have a brilliant start to your 2011.

  3. Such polarised opinions! :) Well, I liked it too, so poor Cumi is so far outnumbered on this. lol.

  4. I’m with Monkey on this… don’t really recall the first TRON movie but I would love to watch both the original and this one, if nothing else but for the kitsch factor, hehe.

    Also, wonder how both the old and “young” Jeff Bridges look like together here. Gotta love CGI. Takes years off one, eh? :P

  5. heh, i have mixed feelings about this one too! i thought the first one hour was well-paced and well-plotted, but then it kinda muddled its way toward a wishy-washy ending. it left me emotionally cold, but i guess i wasn’t expecting too much in that department anyway. i loved the soundtrack though. i thought it really fitted (and enhanced) the mood of the movie :D

  6. Brother B says:

    100% STYLE OVER SUBSTANCE for me. Daft Punk’s score is just Daft (they are beginning to be a really one-trick pony). Oh those French!

  7. So funny! My significant other refuses to see Tron with me but I’d love to see it. The costumes and effects look cool, even though I have no idea what the plot is about and never saw the first movie. Maybe I’ll check it out after all :)

  8. J the chocoholic, Sean & @Kennymah are rocking hipsters in the new age of music.

  9. what a visual fest, but how about some acting n story to go with…

  10. I liked Tron! Didn’t fall asleep at all!

  11. I remember seeing the old Tron when I was in grade school and loved it. I need to re-watch it to see how it holds up with time. Would love to see the new one too. Good review.