Monday, 20 December 2010

A Review of TRON: Legacy

Having read varying reviews online about this film, I didn't have high expectations going in but gallantly accepted my friend's suggestion that we stay neutral while viewing. The actual experience of it was rather enjoyable, in part to the other viewers who sniggered and didn't take the film too seriously either (not in bad way, mind, in a jovial acceptance summarised by the guy who blurted out 'Downhill from here' when the Disney ident appeared at the start).

Before going in to see this film, it was interesting that I had spoken to a few people about the con that is 3D film (our brains already create 3D perspective, most films are made 3D in post, an excuse to charge more, it detracts from story etc etc). SIDENOTE - when the trailers played, the Pirates of the Caribbean made my point for me - the ridiculous bit when the knife slams through the door looked silly in 'coming out' - it detracted from reality rather than adding to it. But I halted all cynicism once the movie played.

Firstly, I'd say that I haven't watched the previous Tron and know little about the story around it, so I did come at it rather fresh, as they say. As an overall film experience it wasn't half bad, and let's face it, it was always going to rely heavily on visuals. I was rather carried along with the aesthetic once we got to 'The Grid' world; it reminded me of Jonny Quest which I watched when I was younger. The downside was the CGI young Jeff Bridges which wasn't convincing at all. Silly when they had flashbacks of Kevin Flynn when younger, we might as well have been in a video game (where 3D belongs - ok I shut up now).

The story wasn't terrible, there was potential for interesting layers, i.e. Zen Buddhism, the art of doing nothing, conflict without fighting, perfection vs imperfection etc. Some other critic wrote how the script was a rehash of East of Eden, which I don't agree with - it wasn't up to that standard at all, there were some terrible one liners but it could have been worse. Most characters were engaging enough and of course, the strongest performance came from Jeff Bridges.

Other highlights included an impressive Light Cycle scene and there are some interesting production design in Daddy Flynn's hideout. Also the first twenty minutes when we're in the real world was decent enough - I liked the power of the first motorbike sequence with the awesome Daft Punk soundtrack playing loudly (no 3D there!)

The downsides were the poor script, the flimsy story with several plot holes and the dodgy logic behind some of the resolution (how did CLU manage to be off The Grid and if he can't destroy programs wouldn't Kevin know that Tron doesn't die and then at the end, wouldn't Quorra recoil from the power of the sun?) Also, though its down for a PG rating, I think some of the material may be beyond yonger audiences - they'll glean a good vs bad fight, though it isn't 'technically' as black and white as that; it's the master creator disregarding the 'be careful what you wish for' adage aka 'be careful what you mean by perfect system'.

The soundtrack was ace, there were some brilliant nods to Eighties culture, such as 'Sweet Dreams' and the burr and whizz of old arcade games in the 'ole Flynn place'. One critic wrote that it was an extended music video which I disagree with wholeheartedly. It was decent film, not a great one. It lacked that extra punch, that extra dimension (ooh, irony) to make it really impactful but I was nonetheless pretty pleased at having seen it myself and made up my own mind.

Also, make sure to see it on a cinema screen - I'm not just saying that - but some features are made for the cinematic experience and this is one of them. 

VERDICT: 6.8/10 

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