Friday, December 17, 2010

Tron: Legacy: Fun for Your Eyes, Lackluster for Your Brain

After months of extreme hype, December 17 is finally here. What happens on this day of days? You should know, but I’ll tell you anyway. "TRON: Legacy" comes out, and you should probably see it within the week, both because it’s a good movie, and because I own stock in Disney, so the better the box office, the better the stock price. Mostly for the first reason though. 

The film as a film is slightly above average. It’s riddled with cliche lines and the pacing leaves something to be desired. As a visual, it’s fantastic. When the rebellious, motorcycle driving Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) goes into the grid after he’s provoked by a page coming from his long lost father’s (Jeff Bridges) abandoned office, the movie goes from 2D to 3D, that third dimension adding more than just visual gimmicks.   

The decision to not make the entire film in 3D was a brave one, and the right one. Tim Burton with “Alice In Wonderland” wanted to do a similar thing, only having the part of the film taking place down the rabbit hole be in 3D, separating the real world from the imaginary one. “TRON” had the courage to actually do this, and it’s one of the small details that make this film stand out. 

It takes a while for Sam to get into the grid, with all the explaining having to be done so the audience can know exactly why he needs to go into the grid. One becomes a tad bit restless waiting for the visuals to start, that part of the film that was so heavily advertised and got their butt in the seat.  

Once Sam gets in, the action immediately starts. He must fend for his life gladiator style, because every futuristic film is inspired by the Romans. Sam gets to grips with what’s happening to him quickly, not running around whining about how he doesn’t know what’s going on, a convention in films where the scenery changes drastically. Eventually, he’s saved by Quorra (Olivid Wilde), who takes him to his father living in the hills of the city, and doing nothing. 

At this point, the film again becomes a little monotonous, the action screeching to a halt and uninspired dialogue taking its place. Every good film needs a fascinating story, and action is not the best storytelling device. Breaks are needed to give the film purpose, just not as many breaks as Tron’s director, Joseph Kosinski, thought there needed to be. 

Then the gang is off The End of the Line nightclub, where the DJ’s are none other than Daft Punk themselves, the duo that wrote the original music for the film. On a side note, the score the duo wrote works perfectly for the film. It aids to the visual in a fantastic way, melding both Daft Punk’s electronic style with a traditional orchestra in a way that harmoniously compliments the film. 
At The End of the Line, they meet Castor, a David Bowie inspired, extremely pale man-with-all-the-hookups, played against type by Michael Sheen. Then the action starts again and everything feels as it should. There’s a high speed chase, physical quarrels, explosions, and then a scene eluding to fascism, where Clu (the young version of Jeff Bridges, who looks creepy, but in the right way) rallies his thousands of re-programed programs (people in the grid are called “programs”). 

The acting in the film is so-so. Olivia Wilde does the best job, giving life to a role that so easily could have gotten to job done with a corny performance. Hedlund was hired for his looks, not his acting. Sheen is a ton of fun as the Bowie-esque Castor, and the computer programers did an ok job with Clu, except when he opens his mouth and it’s obvious he’s brought to life by CGI. 

With the “TRON: Legacy,”, your eyes and your ears will be stimulated to the maximum level with, but your brain will be left a little underwhelmed. Go into the film knowing this, and you’ll have a great time. 

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