My 10 cents worth on: Tron Legacy

Because I hear so much flak about this movie, people giving extremely polar reviews on this thing, usually somewhere along the lines of “Its pretty good.” to “Its 2 hours of my life I will never get back.”, plus seeing as how I’m a movie buff, and a fan of the original Tron, and have a penchant for arguing things, I decided to put some of my thoughts down on virtual paper, and share them.

First of all, I need to stress that TRON: LEGACY IS NOT AN ACTION FLICK. It never was meant to be that. Its a film more about exploration, like the original Tron, or 2001: A Space Odyssey, or the old Star Trek TV series. The pacing is slow, and that is deliberate. Its meant for you to take in, think about, and grasp the entirety of the world presented by the film, not for you to go “ooooooooo” and “aaaaaaaahh” while drooling at the screen, you have James Cameron’s Avatar for that. And I guess that’s where a lot of people got mad at the film. They got in expecting to see lots of quick cuts, loud noises, and CG characters backflipping across the screen. And they didn’t get it. Any movie suffers from misleading marketing. Its sometimes sad how the build-up to a movie has such a profound effect on how good people perceive the movie to be.

Just to give you the basic plot of the film, for those of you unfamiliar: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1104001/

And now, without any sense of a segue, its business time:

+ Visual Style

The movie is undoubtedly pretty. The visuals are absolutely stunning. The costumes are amazing, especially those of  Jeff Bridges (whom I will get to in a bit). This film visually is like a hot tub, It’s kinda hard to get into, but when you’re in, and relaxed, and you let yourself slide into it, it becomes refreshing. This is actually accentuated by the movie’s…

+ Pacing

We have too many films nowadays that try and cheat with camera tricks. Quick cutaways and strategic placement of the camera allow the film makers to cut out parts of action scenes and allow our minds to fill in the blanks. This can be done well (The Expendables) , or it can be done poorly (Quantum of Solace). Its the stuff that trailers are made of. Tron doesn’t use this much. Tron slows it down by showing you everything. Sometimes a scene may start off confusing, but they really are meant for you to take in all the details, instead of always looking at the boom booms pow‘s. This does make the action sequences look slow and awkward, but this movie is meant to be a cross-country drive, not a drag race.

+ Soundtrack

Daft Punk was the perfect choice for this film, producing what could arguably be the best songs they have ever made. Yes, better than “Around the World”. The music, more than the visuals, is what gives this movie its identity and makes in unique. Even other sci-fi films don’t have music like that. Its a feast for the ears. If you haven’t listened to their song “Derezzed” then you my friend must get out from under your rock, and explore the cyber-world that is the internet. NOW. seriously, stop reading my post and listen to it. you will not be disappointed. The only problem with their songs in this movie is that there should have been more of them, or at least played out a little bit longer.

When Daft Punk isn’t blowing your mind, the film switches to an almost uncomfortably low volume. During the Light Bike scene, which everyone has seen in the trailer, there is almost no music, and the crashes aren’t as loud as you’d think. While this kind of silence isn’t the best thing, I appreciate it. The movie isn’t trying to sensationalize the action, its trying to give your brain more opportunities to just absorb the visuals. And again, it’s more of an exploration film. Plus it makes it more awesome whenever Daft Punk comes back in.

+ “The Dude”

Jeff Bridges reprises his role as Kevin Flynn in this film, and man is he electrifying. He’s just an amazing actor in all of his movies, and this is no exception. He made the perfect blend of a computer programmer who’s become wise from reading and meditation, who’s last interaction with the known world was in the late 80’s. So basically, he was able to play a computer programmer, a philosopher, an 80’s hipster, and God (a computer programmer living inside his computer program = GOD POWERS) all at the same time. Kudos Sir!

+ Beau Garrett’s Derriere

She gets a wonderful fanny shot in this movie for just about five seconds, but you only need five seconds.

Despite all these things, the film could have been much, much better.

– Cheesy Dialogue

The emotional scenes in this film are almost destroyed by the utter sappiness of the lines. As in, think Filipino romantic love team movie type keso, and I crap you not, you will probably think of one of the lines in this movie. The one glitch in Bridges’ performance was when he said: “I set out to make the perfect world, but I didn’t know that perfection was right in front of my eyes… *dramatic pause when he turns to look at his son* … Right in front of my eyes.” … yeah. I know… I couldn’t help but cackle while typing it.

– “The Fake Dude” and Tron

If you’ve seen any of the trailers, you will know that the bad guy is a computer program named Clu who is the creation of Kevin Flynn (Bridges’ character). He’s fully CG (think Tom Hanks in Polar Express). Anyway, the issue here is that his motivations are, (of course!) he wants to take over the world. Why would he want to do this you ask? Because its not perfect. He’s made his own Empire and he wants to go to the real world and “perfect” it. Yeah. typical. The theory is good, you create a program that seeks to make everything perfect, but in the end it bites you in the rear, just like most computer related films we’ve seen, but the execution here was that he was just off for me. He seemed to be a Roman Emperor, feeding off of the emotional rousing of the crowd trough speeches and Colosseum games in order to hold his power over them. I don’t know what perfection is, but I don’t think emulating the Roman Empire is the way to that. On the plus side though, his suit looked mucho awesome!

Tron wasn’t really the main character in the first film, but his role in this film was so downplayed, it hurt. Tron is basically the Chuck Norris of Anti-Viruses, beating other programs left and right. It was through his amazing skills with the disk that the good side won in the first Tron, and yet his skillz are not really given its proper screen time in this movie. Tron deserved better than what he got in this film.

– Trying to do too much

The movie tried to be both a stand alone flick and a proper sequel to the first movie at the same time, and falls short on both counts. The film has too many references to the old film that people won’t get, and since they tried to re-imagine the characters for a new generation, some of their essences were lost. I don’t want to get too much into this because that would be spoiling, but to quote Bill Cosby: “I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” The movie tried to please too many people, and it failed to do both, although just slightly.


My Cent’s worth: 6/10

If you’re only a casual moviegoer, or much rarer, if you’re only a Tron fan, this movie will disappoint you. But if you’ve seen the first one, and you’re not expecting too much from Tron: Legacy, then it’ll be okay, and in fact, kinda entertaining. I do recommend you watch it though, maybe not naman in 3-D, but it is worth checking out. Especially if you’ve seen the first.

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Posted on January 5, 2011, in Film Reviews. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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