Tron Legacy

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Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Wed Dec 15, 2010 10:57 am

At the kind invitation of my brother I'll be going along with him and my nephew to see this at the Odeon Imax on Saturday evening. I'll let you know how it was upon my return.

Anybody else looking forward to this movie?
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Patrick on Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:00 am

I've been of mixed feelings about this, due, I think, mainly to the fact it's been 25 years since the original. The last time something like this was tried (2010 as a sequel to 2001), I came a way a little disappointed.

I'll be very interested to read your reactions to this one, as it will likely inform my decision about going to see this in the theater vs. waiting for on DVD as a rental.

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:03 am

Actually Patrick, I have very much similar feelings myself. What I plan to do is rewatch the original for the first time in about ten years the night before so I have a clear recollection of it to aid in comparison.

So stay tuned!
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Patrick on Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:10 am

*Stays tuned*

I have to admit, the fact that both Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxlietner are in this gives me some hope.

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:15 am

Same here. Let's just hope it touches the standard of the seminal original.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Zoltar on Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:17 am

Sid Seadevil wrote:Anybody else looking forward to this movie?
I am, yep. The trailers seem promising and the score is pretty good. I'm keeping my expectations low, but I'm hopeful it will be great. Like Patrick, I'm curious as to whether this is a must-see or something better left for rental/cable. *also stays tuned*

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:22 am

Well even if the film turns out to be disappointing, at least I'll have a gallery seat and lots of lovely free drinks and munchies. Smile
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Zoltar on Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:14 pm

Sid Seadevil wrote:Well even if the film turns out to be disappointing, at least I'll have a gallery seat and lots of lovely free drinks and munchies. Smile
Oh, I have a feeling it'll at least have some very impressive visuals. And Jeff Bridges is always dependable.

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:26 pm

Oh I'm sure we're in for some very impressive visuals. Actually one of the things I'm really interested in is exactly what audience reaction to the visuals will be. Remember, when the original movie was released nobody had seen anything quiet like it before from a visual perspective. Fast forward to the present day and CGI is ten-a-penny and the accepted norm. If there's anything I suspect it's that the new film won't be raising the visual bar to the stratospheric level of the first.

And you're of course right about Bridges - so no worries on that score.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:15 pm

TRON: LEGACY

Almost three whole decades in the making, this long awaited, much anticipated sequel from the House of Mouse to the legendary 1982 seminal classic Tron, hits the Imax enhanced screens of our 21st century popcorn palaces with all the impact of an overly masticated marshmallow desperately augmented by the hollow infusion of ineffectual three dimensional delusions of grandeur.

For the three cave dwellers and my cat who aren't aware of both films shared premise, I'll do my best to distil it for you as succinctly as possible.

A man is sucked into a virtual computer world ruled over by a dictatorial cyber intellect. Man meets and teams up with "programs" that are virtual counterparts of people he knows in the real world. And together they confront and defeat their mutual oppressor; thereby restoring order and freedom to the cyber world before man returns back to where he rightfully belongs.

It really is that simple. And in the original film it really was that effective. Thanks mainly to the ground-breaking, dazzlingly imaginative visuals, that not only sold the premise of the alien reality of the computerised otherworld to its audience; but which also ushered in a veritable quantum leap in terms of the possibilities afforded by embracing the embryonic art of computer generated visual effects.

Forearmed with those rock solid fundamental creative ingredients and the present-day resources of an industry awash with the power afford by CGI; director Joseph Kosinski and screenwriters Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, in some arcanely inexplicable fashion conspire to deliver forth a turkey so inexpertly cooked that it makes the petrified leftovers from last year's Christmas lunch seem positively mouth-watering.

I won't bore you or waste my own perfectly good fingertips by bothering to type out the alleged plot of this film in any detail. The simple fact of the matter is that if you know the plot of the first film (or even if you've only read the fast forward version provided above); if you're at all familiar with the major plot points of any random dozen notable genre movies of the past thirty years - then you know this too.

So instead I'll turn to the performances before addressing the thing we're all really here for - the visuals.

Before we start at the bottom and work our way up the criminal performance food chain. Allow me to detour for a moment to bestow a modicum of well deserved praise.

When it comes to old Tron alumnus Bruce Boxleitner, returning to the role/s of Alan Bradley / Tron: we get our first unexpectedly welcome surprise of the film. The gentleman in question has not only turned up on set like a good seasoned professional; but he's also arrived actually prepared to act. In a former role that sees his character under utilised and a latter where his character amounts to little more than a "blink and you'll miss him" nod to continuity. It's Boxleitner who nevertheless succeeds in investing the film with its only true (all too rare) instances of warmth and humanity.

Meanwhile, the lovely, and usually very competent at worse, Olivia Wilde, as Quorra, succeeds in being a total cypher in the acting stakes. In all fairness to her, I suspect the blame for this rests solely in a character background provided by the writers consisting of two whole paragraphs at best. One of which must surely have been "Quorra looks amazingly hot in her form hugging CGI enhanced outfit". And that was the detailed paragraph.

Cillian Murphy, who appears in an uncredited role as Edward Dillinger Jr. (The son of the villainous character played by David Warner, in another small nod to the original film), doesn't even have the luxury afforded to Ms. Wilde. Instead, it appears the poor fellow was in all probability accosted while making his way between Christopher Nolan productions and cynically press-ganged at probable gunpoint into mouthing a few lines which add nothing to anything.

While Michael Sheen as Castor / Zuse, cunningly decided to hoodwink his employers by pocketing a presumably large cheque and then blithely continuing his worrying trend of providing an impression as opposed to an actual performance. This time, his victim is David Bowie - and a wonderful job of it he does too. (And to be fair, it is a wonderful job. Because Sheen is canny enough to not even make the slightest of efforts to take any of it seriously - so simply enjoys himself instead).

And in the core role of Sam Flynn - the jaded son of original movie character Kevin Flynn - Garrett Hedlund (almost very certainly encouraged by director Kosinski) uncannily channels Hayden Christensen's Anakin Skywalker, charisma free zone of monotone acting immobility.

Which brings us to the very pinnacle of our pyramid. The undisputed kingpin of the acting underworld inhabiting this film...

Jeff Bridges in the centrally pivotal roles of Kevin Flynn and his digital alter ego - Clu. And it's here that this film's single greatest criminal act is perpetrated. Stated baldly: in an wholly inexplicable act of cinematic homicide, Academy Award winner and acknowledged titan Bridges, delivers a calculated death-blow to the already faltering heart of Tron: Legacy, by simply not bothering to turn in a performance of any recognisable description. It isn't good - it isn't bad - nor can it be identified as terrible. Instead, "The Dude" invests Flynn - the keystone character of the movie's universe - with the all the listless energy, lack of passion and vague disinterest of a stereotypical Californian surfer. A surfer who had once skimmed the random chapters of a couple of secondhand books on Zen philosophy, and come away armed only with a few easily memorized buzz words. Buzz words which he then proceeds to soporifically regurgitate at near fixed intervals to both hapless characters and slack-jawed audience whenever called upon to open his mouth. If I hadn't witnessed it with my own startled eyes, I honestly would never have believed it.

Which brings us to Bridges as Clu. It/He is right there, up on the screen. That's essentially it. No menace. No threat. No impact. Clu exists simply because the characters need somebody/thing as an adversary. Bridges deems it enough to merely recite the lines - end of.

Which brings us to...

The visuals.

The visual realisation of the computer world of the original Tron broke new ground by literally vividly exploding off the screen and into our collective imaginations by virtue of being wholly new and unlike anything seen before. Sadly, for all the decades of development and refinement of CGI which span the gap of years between 1982 and these twilight weeks of 2010, when it comes to this film its a simple case of very much more of the same - only polished to the expected standard held by a modern audience. There is no sense of visual wonder on display here. No genuine pushing the technical envelope beyond a professionally rendered, entirely uninspired spruce-up of the overall look handed to us by the original. Basically, it's once again a case of more of the same - only glossier.

As for the much vaunted digital "de-aging" of Bridges employed by this film. It's effective in parts - but still lacks that magic spark of true life that would successfully elevate it to the status of easy believability. Transforming it into a real, 'living' being. This is most in evidence with the 'young' version of Flynn we encounter at the film's beginning. He is always that slightest touch 'off', unnatural - with the unwanted result that it imparts on the audience an unconscious sense of unease. There's an innate 'wrongness' to it that's impossible to ignore. And it's very much the eyes that have it, as it were. Or rather in this case - they don't. The digital eyes are blank, cold, glassy and quite simply...dead. There's no hint of emotion there - no warmth, no vital spark. It's an otherwise small detail: but one that cannot be underestimated.

These drawbacks aside, it would be reasonable to expect them not to have the same adverse effect when it comes to the character of Clu. After all he is a program. Not human - Not meant to be human. But although 'living', it's a legitimate digital form of life, so therefore the same drawbacks shouldn't logically apply. Except they do. And they do for one tiny, but vastly important reason. Apart from Clu each and every other important digital character inhabiting the computer universe is played by real, flesh-and-blood human beings. The ultimate effect of this is that Clu's unreality is always glaringly evident. It at the very least, constantly strains at the boundaries of the all-important suspension of disbelief crucial for the audience to fully invest in the events being played out on the screen. It's a major flaw - one that should have been considered and addressed early in the film's preproduction stage.

In a film of this nature it isn't unreasonable to assume that the concept is one of the rare few that would actually benefit from the use of 3-D technology. In fact it's very reasonable to make that assumption. Unfortunately the techniques deployment here is (if you'll be so kind as to overlook the obvious painful pun) flat; uninspired and brings nothing of either note or excitement to the table. Much like the film as a whole it can be said.

Ironically, the most fun to be gained from Tron: Legacy is the near non-stop game of "spot the rip-off references to other movies cynically peppered throughout its running time. And believe me, I'm not referring to small throwaway moments here. I'm talking about near entire scenes artlessly restaged almost shot-for-shot from their originals. I won't list them here, after all it would be churlish of me to steal from you the only real meagre source of enjoyment to be derived from the proported "entertainment" in question. What I will say by way of a tiny teaser example, is that if or when George Lucas in particular sits down to enjoy this film; it's an odds-on favourite that within a very short time indeed he'll be ordering the nearest Skywalker ranch service droid to place an urgent 'holo' call to his lawyers.

For a major motion picture event which has supposedly been a staggering 28 years in the making, it caused me no small amount of regret to realise within a mere 28 minutes of viewing that those years could, and should, have been better spent by all involved in making something truly worthy of its progenitor.


Last edited by Sid Seadevil on Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:00 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Zoltar on Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:39 pm

Yikes. I must say, I'm very surprised to hear Bridges didn't deliver.

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:41 pm

Zoltar wrote:Yikes. I must say, I'm very surprised to hear Bridges didn't deliver.
Believe me Zoltar, so was I. If there was one thing I had pegged as a certainty from the outset - it was Bridges being rock solid.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Zoltar on Sat Dec 18, 2010 9:58 pm

Sid Seadevil wrote:Believe me Zoltar, so was I. If there was one thing I had pegged as a certainty from the outset - it was Bridges being rock solid.
As did I. I'm very happy to hear Bruce Boxleitner turns in a good performance, that doesn't surprise me.

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:05 pm

Zoltar wrote:As did I. I'm very happy to hear Bruce Boxleitner turns in a good performance, that doesn't surprise me.
Boxleitner didn't surprise me either in that respect. Just the fact that it turned out to be him that supplied the movie's only genuine heart was what caught me off guard.

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Zoltar on Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:38 pm

Sid Seadevil wrote:Boxleitner didn't surprise me either in that respect. Just the fact that it turned out to be him that supplied the movie's only genuine heart was what caught me off guard.
Understandable. Well, good for Bruce. Smile

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Lee Carey on Sat Dec 18, 2010 11:42 pm

Off to see this at the IMAX on christmas Tuesday, but not expecting that much out of it, unfortunately. Not that I was great fan of the original, in all honesty, and I think the main reason I have any interest in it is because, like the original, it's very much a curates egg.

Have to say I'm far more interested in seeing the Dude playing the John Wayne part in the Coen Bros' remake of True Grit.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Sun Dec 19, 2010 3:11 am

Now True Grit has my interest very much also. I'm keenly interested to see whether the Coen's and "The Dude" can successfully move the remake out of the Wayne's massively iconic shadow.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Patrick on Sun Dec 19, 2010 7:48 am

Ouch. Very nice review, Sid, and thank you for all that creative work that went into it. But it sounds like my worst fears about the movie have been confirmed.

Bridges not acting? That part is a surprise. I'm pleased to hear Boxlietner did turn in a good performance, but the fears I had concerning the plot, and the visuals (from what I could discern in the preview trailer) didn't give me much hope. I may eventually view this as a DVD rental, but after this review, I shall not be plopping my cash down to see it in the theater.

As for where Bridges' allocated his acting skills in 2010, can I just register my disappointment that a classic John Wayne movie got re-made at all? Why did they have to do that?

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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Rich Flair on Sun Dec 19, 2010 8:13 am

Patrick wrote:As for where Bridges' allocated his acting skills in 2010, can I just register my disappointment that a classic John Wayne movie got re-made at all? Why did they have to do that?

Because they saw enough differences between the novel and the Wayne film to attempt an adaptation of the novel that was more faithful, and therefore different to the Wayne film.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by The Browncoat Cat on Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:12 pm

Sid Seadevil wrote:Now True Grit has my interest very much also. I'm keenly interested to see whether the Coen's and "The Dude" can successfully move the remake out of the Wayne's massively iconic shadow.
It should be interesting, if you consider that the original much darker novel True Grit is one of the few Western novels worth reading. and the Coen Brothers are hoping to remain far truer to the source than the John Wayne movie.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by The Browncoat Cat on Sun Dec 19, 2010 1:18 pm

So basically, if you love TRON give TRON Legacy a miss.
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Tue Dec 21, 2010 1:21 pm

The Browncoat Cat wrote:So basically, if you love TRON give TRON Legacy a miss.
Correct. And bloody hell, I wish I'd haver thought of boiling my entire bloody review down to that wonderfully pithy summation! Smile
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Rich Flair on Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:43 am

Wow. They let the Pixar fellas have a retool of the film late in the day - it could have been worse if they hadn't had a go!
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Sid Seadevil on Wed Dec 22, 2010 2:54 am

Blimey! I shudder to think what it was like before were allowed to have some input into it. affraid

One further thing I've realised: when you chaps finally get around to seeing the film part particular attention to Clu's 'Masterplan'. It's so nonsensical it actually makes Austin Powers Doctor Evil look like Doctor Doom in the 'Evil Masterplan' stakes!
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Re: Tron Legacy

Post by Lee Carey on Tue Dec 28, 2010 9:48 am

Rather liked it myself, but I think a lot of that comes from a combination of never liking the original that much in the first place anyway, and going into the sequel with no expectations whatsoever.

Rather like the original, there was absolutely nothing unique about the story whatsoever, but in as much as it was a retelling of Alice In Wonderland/the Wizard of Oz/The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, it worked on a 'create your own fantasy' type adventure. and Olivia Wilde looked very fetching in rubber.

I have to ask when it became prevalent for fantasy worlds to want to invade our reality? In my day it was enough just to fall down a rabbit hole/ get caught in a tornado/ slip into the wardrobe and just visit the world. It seems now our escapism is biting back at us.
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