TRON: Legacy

2011-02-11 10:11
 
Tron: Legacy
What it's about:

Sam Flynn (played by Garrett Hedlund), the son of a crack programmer embarks on a hi-tech adventure within a decades old arcade game to find its original creator, a man previously obsessed with the game: his own father, Kevin (a role reprised by Jeff Bridges). Will he find his father in time for the two of them be able to save, not only the virtual world of the game, but the real world itself? 

What we thought:

Nearly 30 years have passed since Tron wowed nerdy teenagers everywhere in the early 1980s and now, at long last, its sequel has finally arrived. Sadly though, it might be far too little and far, far too late. For all of its state-of-the-art CGI effects Tron: Legacy is still very much stuck in the early 1980s so it may well work as a nostalgic trip for people of the right age and the right, geeky disposition, but it certainly isn't going to have the same effect on modern popular culture that its predecessor had.    

There's no getting past it: here in the 21st century Tron: Legacy is a total anachronism. The relationship that 21st century humanity has with information technology could not be more different to the one that is portrayed in both Tron films. In the early 1980s, computers were nothing more than cold, lifeless mechanical devices, far removed from the flesh-and-blood reality of human experience and this is something that the original Tron very much took advantage of. The main reason why Tron and its ilk resonated so strongly wasn't because they were terrific films but because they managed to bring a sense of "reality" to those abstract and ultimately alienating pixels on which even the most beloved video games were based. Nowadays, however, computers and information technology have become so ubiquitous, so interwoven into who and what we are as a society that the entire conceit behind Tron: Legacy simply doesn't work.     

Paradoxically, while this glaring flaw prevents Legacy from actually working as a piece of storytelling, it also makes it far more interesting than it would be otherwise. And that right there is why it is such a strange beast of a film. On its own terms, it is a total failure. It has a wonderful soundtrack by Daft Punk and some arresting visuals (as long as you discard the unbelievably freaky CGI creation of a young Jeff Bridges) but it's badly paced and woodenly acted and the thinness of the characterisation is beaten only by the simultaneously banal and befuddling plot. It's a handsome looking turkey but, make no mistake, it is a turkey.

And yet, and yet and yet and yet, there is a not-inconsiderable amount of enjoyment to be had; it's just that all of it comes from outside the film. For fans of the original Tron – hell, for anyone who has even the vaguest memories of the original's iconic imagery and the awesome toys that sprung out of it – there's plenty of warm, nostalgic moments to be had. For fans of The Big Lebowski, there are giggles aplenty every single time Jeff Bridges says anything that is even remotely Dude-like. Fans of Thin White Duke-era Bowie, meanwhile, will get a huge kick out of the always wonderful Michael Sheen's show-stealing role as the "Lando" of the film. And, yup, Star Wars is never too far out of sight, especially in the film's high-flying, action packed climax.    

I, personally, got all of this and more from the film but, then, I really kind of should, since I am exactly its target audience. I saw the original Tron when I was a kid, loved it and have had a great affinity for burgeoning geekiness ever since. And yet, even I still think that there is very little that is innately impressive about Tron: Legacy itself and have a hard time recommending it. Imagine what non-fans must think.

A strange turkey of a movie whose ideas about information technology are completely out of sync with the 21st century.
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Lardus 2011/01/05 8:07 AM
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If all movies were to be made in relation to our current understanding of technology, archeology, religion, social happenings etc, most movies would fail according to you. The problem is you went in expecting something more than was possible. You hyped it up for yourself only to feel let down. This is the reason I never hype up a movie or believe the hype. People need to view movies for their enjoyment, not because it is supposed to be so awesome. Just go watch it and enjoy it if you want. This guy is just sour because he had unrealistic expectation.
PaulH 2011/01/05 1:40 PM
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Ilan, apart from agreeing with Lardus, I think that you might have been a bit harsh. I am a 42-year old guy who took my son to see it, and I really enjoyed it, as opposed to what I expected. The CG on the young Jeff Bridges was just not there, but otherwise the imagery and music was spectacular. The story was slow yes, but the end made up for it. I experienced the movie as exactly being made in the 1980's Tron state of mind and technology. It was precisely the 80's music and slightly aged electronic sound that made the movie enjoyable. They did not try and completely modernise the feel of the Tron genre, they just injected some slick feel to it and presented a feel that rang of the 80's. I think it was good, not Oscar, but good.
Neil 2011/01/05 1:59 PM
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I agree with brian... Here's My Thoughts: It's a little office behind an Arcade with possibly a (14.4 kbit/s) modem (Correction is Welcome!). Not much can be upgraded and there's no New "Programs" as the OS (Operating System) would be unable to run the New / Modern "Programs". Therefore there is very little that could have been upgraded. However I did find one Crucial Point that I think was missed in the New Tron... How did they Upgrade or Advance the Grid - The Power was off... So Technically the Grid should have "Rebooted" from it's last Save Point. (No Upgrades) Doh! Personally: The First Tron was awesome, I'm an Avid fan of the Original (Ok, it is a bit Cheesy Now, but that goes without saying). The New Tron - Visualy ? As Expected 3D - Expected More (Yes it was 3D Throughout but there was no WOW to it) As an Old School Fan - Very Good 8/10 Opinion if I was a New Gen. (huh!) Lame. It's a Fan Based Movie, don't think it's for Newbies. :) oh! wait - Theres no Extra Snippet during Credits - I waited till the Last Credit (What Gives?) :(
Lydon 2011/01/05 2:12 PM
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I wasn't alive when the original was created, but I definitely enjoyed this incarnation. I thought it was very well done.
Sam 2011/01/05 2:57 PM
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I absolutely loved this movie, the story was exactly what I thought it would be, no Oscar for script, but did any of us really see it for a deep story line? I thought the visuals were incredible but I wish Hollywood would stop putting everything into 3D format, it would have been better in HD.
brian 2011/01/05 3:40 PM
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@Neil If you cast your mind back to Tron you will remember that the Master control program had access to the infant internet, and had all kinds of havoc planned. Flynn would have kept this system off the net incase things got out of hand like the last time or if he did have a link Tron would have done what he was programmed to do, monitor and stop all illicit traffic moving outside the grid. In order to answer how the grid was updated you will need to cast your mind back to the film. Flynn created the new grid from scratch remember when it was just clu and him and the bright glow of the portal and nothing else, remember how he spent centuries creating with clu . Also keep in mind that the system was never shut down but merely in standby. When Sam dusts off the display it immediately flickers to life. My big question is how the system was using solaris as this operating system only came to life in the 90's.
Neil 2011/01/05 11:22 PM
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Back @brian (Feel like i'm playing "Pong" here) LOL. Duly Noted... I do have to refresh my memory as it's been a while... I do have the Original so will re-watch it. A Q on the Standby thingy... Was it Truly on standby all this time (20Yrs... i'd hate to see his utility bill - LOL) or was it powered back on when he switched on the Power as he entering the Arcade. Then again, do the Arcade and the Backroom share the same power-source. Was it running on backup power (UPS) if so... I want one of those. :) Anyway, maybe i'm just being over analytical again. Tron 3 - Y/N ?
Brian 2011/01/06 11:31 AM
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Hi Niel. We have to assume that Someone was paying the bills for Flynn's arcade.Why else would it still be standing after all these years and in any event a computer in standby would only cost like R3 a month. I think they did not share the same power source.If you consider that all the main power was off we can only conclude that Flynn must have stolen the power from the electric grid, Im thinking the street lamp just outside the window lol. Tron 3 Y/N **** Spoiler alert***** Well if disney give the green light then definitely. Why? we know that Tron is still alive and when he fell into the water his suit color changed from Orange to Blue. Secondly we dont really know if Flynn and Clu are destroyed. There is a possibility that they are infact a merged entity. With Flynn not having his disk would this mean that CLU is a lot more powerful? Quarra and Sam will wonder what has happened and will definitely go back. Please bring back Yori. I would like to see a bit more depth into what the ISO's are and what Flynn meant that that would change humanity.
Damien 2011/01/10 12:38 AM
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Well being that i'm young and haven't seen the original Tron, i think Tron: Legacy was amazing. I enjoyed the story and thought the visuals were really well done.
Jaker 2011/01/10 9:46 AM
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Different strokes. My guess is that people make up their minds before they actually see it. Then expectations ruin it for you. If you have seen the 80s movie, you should've know that it is based on a pretty far-fetched non realistic story. They weren't going to change from that, I and that's what I expected. They didn't and I loved it.
Jakkie 2011/01/10 12:28 PM
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Saw this over the weekend and thought it was brilliant! Well acted, and the visuals were amazing, dare I say as good if not better than Avatar? 9/10
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