TRON: Legacy

Sometimes I think I don’t know my own mind. Would I go see TRON: Legacy again? Probably not. Would I buy it on DvD? Hells, yes; especially if they do a bundle pack with TRON. Do I have anything nice to say about it for my review? Uh… no, Sorry.

TRON: Legacy was disappointing. See? This is what happens when you get your hopes up. I first saw TRON only a few months ago. It was the last movie we watched at one of our monthly Movie Nights (Theme: 80’s Sci Fi), and I was the only one who stayed awake through the whole thing. I loved it. TRON was a fun, speculative sci fi with characters that I had no problems relating to.

Legacy, on the other hand, seems to have decided that Sci Fi is srs bsns. Admittedly, the story concept is notably darker than that of the original, but the problem seems to be one of attitude.

TRON

TRON: Legacy

“What if software was like people? and you could interact with them and talk to them, and they could learn and get better at what they do? And what if you could go down to the computer level and see them doing whatever it is computer programs do? Wouldn’t that be neat?” THE
CONCEPT
“What if I built a virtual world, and populated with learning programs? And what if I could go into this virtual world, and walk around my creation like a benevolent God-King, manipulating the programs at their level? That’d be cool.”
“If programs could learn, what if they learned to be evil? Oh no!” THE
CONFLICT
“Cursed, by my own hubris, what if the programs were like corrupted versions of me?”
“With bravery and team work, we can save the day!” THE
RESOLUTION
“With self-realisation and sacrifice, I can save the world!”

TRON was a movie that gave itself permission to have fun. Flynn’s lovable rogue played off Alan/TRON’s more serious characters. He was exploring a new world, and having fun while he did it. The programs that he met were friendly, brave, and helpful. In Legacy, the Flynns are alone, everyone is the enemy, the world is hostile like never before.

The special effects were a let down. The flat 2D rendered world has been replaced with magnificent CGI worlds; but the new, simplified light suits have been stylised too far away from the circuitry-inspired origins. They are less distracting, but also less interesting. The 3D fails to impress. There was so much potential in the idea of making the “real” world flat, and make the neongasmic virtual world 3D.

The trailers promised in-your-face 3D, but the 3D effect was barely noticeable, to the point that I was trying to look for screen depth in several scenes. Legacy would have been the perfect movie to take the 3D over the top, with recognisers and lightcycles and their glowing lights projecting right out of the screen, but it just fell flat (pun intended). The TRONified Disney Logo was squeerific, but also the only time the 3D actually pops (pun also intended).

Young Jeff Bridges grows increasingly rubbery the longer we have to look at him, until right at the end there’s a cartoony moment that seems to have slipped in from the Pixar side of the business. The disc game has changed, to reflect the improved graphics, as has the lightcycle game. The new lightcycles are capable of forming curves (when originally they were locked to a grid), and they new arena features overs and unders that take a lot of the strategy out of the game. It’s more Mario Kart than TRON.

The action sequences were universally too short. TRON was a fairly short movie (1hr 30mins), while Legacy was 2 hours long (anything less, and viewers start to feel ripped off these days). The actions scenes, while pretty and in one particular case accompanied by possibly the best music since the opera scene in the Fifth Element, are broken up with expositional speeches that were solemnly quiet overly-long compared to the lack of games and fights.

There had been a lot of hype about Daft Punk scoring for Legacy, and being the music hobo that I am, I wasn’t really interested until a rhythm game I play offered the electronica track Derezzed for free download to play. I bought the soundtrack, and listened to it a few times since seeing the movie, and I have to say that it is pretty standard sci fi fare. Apart from the exceedingly short Derezzed and Tron Legacy (Final Titles) there doesn’t seem to be anything that sets this music apart from what we here in every other movie. Derezzed is a sweet track, and I would have liked to see a little more in the way of motifs in the music. All in all, the music is actually pretty… soothing. Derezzed is the only “energetic” track, which seems odd with song names like “The Game Has Changed”, “Arena”, or “Disc Wars”.

Standing alone, TRON: Legacy was an enjoyable movie, I’m just not sure it really did the original credit. Your mileage may vary.

TRON: Legacy

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~ by ghostwolfe on December 17, 2010.

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