Sunday, January 2, 2011

Review - TRON: Legacy

First off, I must admit that I loved the original Tron.  I saw it in the theater when I was a little geeky kid.  I thought it was one of the coolest rides ever.  I mean - what's cooler than going inside the computer?

I've seen it several times since.  When I was a kid, I didn't care what the critics said.  (I didn't even know what they said!)  It wasn't until I was older that I noticed that the acting wasn't that great and the movie suffered from pacing problems and no character development.

But you know what?  I don't care - I still love that movie.  It's still cool.  At least everyone's seen it - right?

As someone who loved the original, I also enjoyed the sequel.  It delivers more of what happens to Flynn, Alan, and even the son of Dillinger.  It provides highly energetic fight scenes, putting the original movie's special effects to shame.  The graphics are clear and exciting to watch.

The music is a fun mixture of classical, electronica, and rock.

This is almost a standalone sequel.  If you haven't seen the original, you may be a little lost during the first 15 minutes, but you should still be able to sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

This movie makes a little more of an attempt to build up characters.  It's a little better at pacing than the original.  It provided most of what I expected to get from this movie.

My only complaint is with the plot itself.  There are so many parallels between the original and the sequel that I just felt like I knew already what was going to happen before it happened.  They did change a few things to make it interesting, but I could see the "Formula."

You know what the "Formula" is.  Practically all TV shows have one.  On the show Monk, each episode begins with a murder.  Monk is talked into accepting the case.  He overcomes his thematic foible of the day, and he catches someone.  But we're only 30 minutes into the show - so this isn't the guy.  He pushes forward some more and figures out who the real guy is.  He says, "Here's what happened," and they lock the guy up.

Star Trek (TOS and TNG) also had its "Formula".  The captain is on route on a diplomatic mission.  Something happens along the way.  No one else is around to take care of it.  With a little bit of conflict, the captain manages to save the day while maintaining the Prime Directive, and everything returns to what it was before the episode began (people who grew old become young again; Spock's vision returns to normal; etc.).

We expect to see the "Formula" in TV shows, but not necessarily in movies - where if there is too much of a "Formula," many people will come out of the sequel asking why they had to see it.  Despite seeing a TRON "Formula," I still enjoyed this movie.  I just wished they were a little more creative in the plot.

3D Effects: I'm glad I watched this in 3D, but don't expect the typical House of Wax gimmicks.  Just like in Toy Story 3, Disney makes sure not to insert needless pop-out-of-the-screen tricks to distract from the movie.

Well - there is the one gimmick.  They decided to represent the "real world" in 2D and the "grid" in 3D, much like the black-and-white vs color trick in The Wizard of Oz.  The audience is instructed at the beginning to keep the glasses on throughout the whole movie.  Though it was irritating to wear the glasses during the 2D portions (and also not to mention that I would expect the opposite gimmick to be true in our world - the "real world" in 3D and the "grid" in 2D), it was still a fun gimmick.

Also, I never noticed before, but in TRON: Legacy, where the background is everlasting darkness, and people are wearing lit-up suits - the contrast provides an unexpected echo effect - especially if you wear glasses under your 3D glasses.  What happens, is that light from the screen bounces off the outside of your real glasses and then off the inside of the 3D glasses to produce a ghost image above the real one on the screen.  I found this to be a little distracting - but kind of cool at the same time.

To avoid this ghosting effect, you may want to consider wearing contacts.  I had no choice but to wear my regular glasses under the 3D glasses.

Also be warned that they make everyone in the "grid" look good, and the suits are skin tight.  Now where can we pick up a couple of these suits?  ;)

If you like sci-fi, and the idea of computer programs being alive in the system doesn't drive you bonkers, then this is the next movie for you to watch.  Happy viewing.


PS: Feel free to comment and provide your own thoughts...

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