Friday, January 7, 2011

TRON: Legacy-- A Late Review--I just recovered from the shocking visual effects!!!

I don't know about you, dear reader, but on a cold winter morning in Toledo, Ohio the first thing I'm thinking about is the movie I saw a week ago and how I need to write the review for it before my mind--which although comparable to a well oiled steel trap--begins to forget the details of the wonderful light show that is TRON: Legacy.

Die hard fans of the first Tron which was released in 1982 will scramble to navigate away from this review when I reveal that I have seen but do not remember the details of the first Tron film, which was panned by the critics when it was first released for its convoluted storyline and its over-abundance of shocking visual effects. The film went over audiences heads back then--the special effects were too jarring and revolutionary which is most-likely why it failed to even be nominated for a Visual-Effects Oscar--we all know people fear what they do not understand, which is why I fear Steven Seagal films but that's another blog post altogether.

At any rate,  the many merits and ambitious production values of 1982's Tron allowed it to redeem itself and it's earned itself a bevy of cult followers like this guy and spawned the sequel of which we speak today, Tron: Legacy.

Ah Tron:Legacy, doomed to repeat the sins of your father...your plot and storyline is horrible-laughable really  and weak as a cup of coffee purchased from a greasy spoon at 1 a.m. though decidedly more delicious going down. I always told myself that when the actors in the movie are saddled with the task of explaining what the heck is going on, the writer did not do what a writer is supposed to do: show, not tell. The plot focuses on Jeff Bridges' character Kevin Flynn's son Sam Flynn as he engages in a battle of economic moral ideals< (my words lol) with the money hungry board that runs his estranged/presumed dead father's company ENCOM.

One fateful night, his father's old business partner Alan Bradley--who also served as a sort of father figure for Sam after Kevin's disappearance--tells Sam that he got a call from his father's office at Flynn's Arcade, which has been closed since1982 I presume--though the power still works when Sam goes to investigate the place and the games are all in top form--but that's a movie for you.

You can probably guess what happens next if you know even a little bit about the film. Sam hacks into the alternate universe his father created within the computer world on The Grid, and then the fun really starts--and by fun I mean the most shocking and mesmerizing special effects I've seen in a while! This is when the plot holes, implausibilities and scratch your head moments cease to matter and you watch the light show before you with an expression of shock and awe hidden behind your stylish RealD 3D glasses! Lasers and clunky transportation vehicles move through a technological wasteland like neon signs with anthropomorphic capabilities!

Tron City is gritty, cold and impersonal and populated with inhabitants called "Programs" because that's what they are in this world within the computer, and human beings are therefore coined "Users"--a name not uttered by any Program sans disdain. Sam is arrested and labeled a criminal because he is un-scannable by the law men's instruments. He is then sentenced to fight on The Grid, a fate that is apparently so horrible that a fellow detainee kills himself rather than be subjected to it. I felt like the suicide was a little dramatic being that The Grid didn't seem that hardcore to me; the prisoners simply had to fight for their lives against a disc wielding neon clad ninja man in a transparent box that shatters under the slightest strike from the discs being thrown wantonly through the electric air before being forced to engage in a high speed motorcycle fight on The Grid--I'd do that in no time rather than jump into an air duct like the aforementioned prisoner, might as well go out having fun, right? 

What follows is a feast for the eyes, especially when the audience is introduced to the Jeff Bridges of yesteryear as the character Clu--walking around, talking, and generally being a badass born entirely of the shocking advancements of visual technology. The storyline became mere background noise to me in an experience that like its predecessor, was created for the sole purpose of showing what the men behind the computers that create most of our films in this age of 3D mind control are capable of, and it's amazing stuff.

I won't continue to summarize the plot because honestly it was too convoluted and loose for me to waste much more time on it, but know that there's a semi happy ending, the film is interspersed with beautiful women like Olivia Wilde who plays Quorra, Kevin Flynn's precocious apprentice. Michael Sheen makes an animated if not a little underwhelming appearance as the flashy and eccentric night life connoisseur Castor--and Jeff Bridges, whom I love, did the best with the frothy material he was given. I'm sure they paid him well for his efforts.

Do I recommend this movie? Yes I do, especially since some may see no problems with the plot because most people aren't a self-important movie snob like me, you know the type--I watch slow moving foreign films with subtitles and immerse myself in moody character studies that put my significant others, friends and families into comas. Yet with that said, the visuals in the movies are top notch and not to be missed, a glorious use of the overused 3D features--and Sam played by the piping hot Garrett Hedlund is shirtless at least once ladies. Go and enjoy.

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