Tron Legacy (2010) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies
24Dec/100

Tron Legacy (2010)

Danny no longer writes for Can't Stop the Movies, and can be reached at his fantastic site Pre-Code.com

Danny DISLIKEThe original Tron, from back in 1982, was a wholly goofy special effects showcase that somehow also asked some daring questions. There were ideas brought up regarding the role of humanity as to what it creates, and what our responsibility in sheparding that is.

The world Tron presented was a quasilinear polygonal world where there were real beings whose faith resided in The User. When it comes down to it, though, Tron's premise was to ask a simple question: "What's really going on within that videogame?"

And, to expand upon it, the makers of Tron Legacy went with the question: "What's really going to sell our videogame tie-in?"

This is Sam. He does not like green eggs and ram.

Yes, it's time for Disney Pictures to go to the Realm of the Dead IP's and attempt to bring one back from the dead. It's about as gruesome as most of those stories go, and could best be summed up by the Bride of the Monster in a long howling screech: "YAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH."

This film often presents itself as logic's deadliest enemy, and I'd be lying if I didn't say it landed some heady blows on the weary concept. I'll attempt to describe the plot to you, but, be warned, it's mostly an clothesline to hang big explosions on.  This is the story of Sam Flynn, whose dad disappeared two decades ago, leaving poor Sam unable to do much but become introverted and generically rebellious. One night he gets a message to go to his father's old arcade and biff bam boom he's zapped onto The Grid.

The young protagonist is an excuse just to redo the events of the first movie without having to take a big wink at the audience, and only underlines the creative bankruptcy of the film from the start. Jeff Bridges gets twice the paycheck as Kevin Flynn, father and computer villain, waging war against his mirror image.

Why did the program designed to look like him and act as his surrogate go nuts and decide to start a totalitarian dictatorship? The elder Flynn created it to root out imperfection. Apparently he'd never seen an episode of "Star Trek" in his damned life, but, seriously, if you didn't somehow catch this humanity, here it is again in big capital letters. DON'T CREATE THINGS THAT SET OUT TO DESTROY IMPERFECTIONS. Also, don't give them death lasers or really powerful frisbees, those are bad ideas.

"Sam, I am your generic love interest, please love me or the plot cannot go forward!"

Oh, what else.

I find the metaphorical ideas that this Tron tries to introduce completely mind boggling. The first was a fairly clear religious allegory (amazing for a Disney film, too), but this one dials that back so far that it all just becomes vague and convoluted. Who are the ISOs? Magic people. Why can't Flynn control the program the same way he could in the first movie? Uh, no reason, forget the old movie. Why are there male and female programs? And why do the female programs all have high heels built into their footwear? Why do the programs now go to nightclubs? Why is nothing that has happened in the last thirty years of technological advancement completely ignored? Why did the technological sophistication of Tron get reduced to fucking magic?

Okay. Deep breath. Moving on.

Michael Sheen plays a nightclub owner with flair-- essentially recreating his role from Twilight: New Moon, but since I doubt there's much of a crossover audience between the two films, I'm guessing he just saw the chance to get some money for playing the same character with no repercussions.

"Well, hey, the floors look great!"

And as for the character of Tron... he just kind of wanders away. He was pretty integral in the first movie, here he's left to disappear in the murky depths for whenever another sequel is needed.

The soundtrack, crafted by Daft Punk, is pretty nice, imbuing the images with a sense of immediacy that the plot has no love for. The use of sweeping strings to reflect the humanity in this cold technological environment is nice, and they sure do a helluva better job than the filmmakers.

So, all in all, if you thought it was high time someone remade Matrix Reloaded for some reason, this is the film for you. Also, you can go right to hell.

One last note on 3D-- I'm not like Andrew on the site and throw a hissy fit every time the idea of 3D is even mentioned, but the 3D that is in Tron Legacy is pretty much the textbook version of 'unnecessary'. Especially grating is that the film tells you right at the start that several scenes were filmed in 2D and that that was done on purpose. Of course it was.

Posted by Danny

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