Monday, December 27, 2010

Disney Film: TRON: LEGACY

I took my sons to see the 3D version of Tron: Legacy on Sunday, and had mixed reactions. On the one hand, I loved the "look" of the film. The 3D world was incredibly imagined and rendered, and it was (to me at least) a very original take on something like this. I enjoyed the effects immensely. I also loved my kids' reactions to the film. They were blown away by the action and the appearance of the Tron universe, even though they had a hard time following every nuance of the story, in part because they had never seen the first Tron.

But only in part because of that. Also, in part, because the story itself had a bunch of "what the heck?" moments, where stuff just didn't make that much sense. My younger son was after me to explain why Clu was bad if he was a sort of copy of Kevin Flynn, and why he did the things he did. I couldn't really explain it to him, or to myself. (I think I said that he wanted to eliminate anything imperfect, but just *what* is imperfect differs from individual to individual. That was the best I could do. I guess it was good enough.)

Part of my problem was that I read too many reviews of the movie beforehand. Reviews like the Chicago Tribune article referenced in a post about a week ago, but also ones like this: Feo Amante's Tron Review

Or this: Blue Sky Disney's Tron Review

(WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS PLOT SPOILERS FOR THE MOVIE...)

These reviews pointed out issues with the script/story before I ever saw the movie, and I couldn't help thinking about the issues they raised as I watched the movie. For example, E.C. McMullen at Feo Amante (a pretty conservative character even though he does love his horror movies) asks why Sam Flynn is so pissed at the company that obviously affords him the wherewithal to simply walk out of jail after his intrusion on the company (where he controls most of the shares) causes a big problem for their latest OS release. After all, his wealth comes from this company. Why does he hate them so? Because they're big? Because they make money? Because they're duping people into buying their products when there is no improvement in said products? Especially since Sam can take control of the company any time he wants to.

The Blue Sky review points out that the CGI "young" Flynn doesn't look like Bridges did when he was younger, and again, I fixated on this. It does and it doesn't, at the same time. I didn't pay too much attention to the "real" young Bridges when he's talking to Sam (as a 12 year old) near the beginning of the film, but when you think about it, why should an artificial construct like Clu look indistinguishable from its creator? The odd thing for me was that Clu sort of looked like a young Sean Penn as much as he did a young Jeff Bridges.

I also didn't quite get the whole "Iso" thing. How do you wipe out a race that sort of spontaneously came into existence in the first place? Wouldn't they just continue to spontaneously generate themselves? Why don't they, if conditions were right? Or have conditions become "wrong" somehow? And when Sam first gets transmitted to the computer world, he comes out of something that to me looked analogous to Flynn's arcade in the real world. Why does he come out of there, but have to travel great distances to get to the portal to reenter our world? Where is that place, and how did Clu's "police" find him so easily and quickly after he gets to that world?

And Flynn's place: Is it a digital construct, or was Flynn able to bring physical objects like books to the realm? And for that matter, are the two Flynns physically there? They aren't digitized versions of themselves? Granted, this question goes back to the original Tron but it still makes me wonder. And it leads me to my last question: How does Quorra exit the digital world, and what exactly IS she in our world? Or is she in our world at all? When Sam was downloading something into his pocket computing device, was that Quorra? What was in the chip hanging from around his neck? Was the final scene actually Quorra or was it something existing in Sam's imagination?

All this said, I did not agree with McMullen about the look of the film. I thought, as I said before, that it was incredible, while McMullen hated it. For me, this was a film that left far too many questions and hanging plot points but was still a stimulating, exciting experience that was worth seeing in the theater, and worth seeing in 3D. A great film? Nah. A good, fun movie that delivered at least on some of its promise? I vote "Yea"! I'll likely buy it on BluRay, and I wouldn't mind going to see it again in the theater. (And I might try to check out Turistas which apparently starred Olivia Wylde...)

*****

2 comments:

grumpyfan said...

For me, this was a film that left far too many questions and hanging plot points but was still a stimulating, exciting experience that was worth seeing in the theater, and worth seeing in 3D. A great film? Nah. A good, fun movie that delivered at least on some of its promise? I vote "Yea"! I'll likely buy it on BluRay, and I wouldn't mind going to see it again in the theater. (And I might try to check out Turistas which apparently starred Olivia Wylde...)

Agreed, it was a fun movie, but somewhat disappointing in the story. Perhaps it was over-hyped. Or, maybe we were just expecting more. It left me, like you, with numerous questions. Why didn't they show the Flynn's light cycle which he built, really was the fastest on the grid? Why couldn't Flynn just have destroyed Clu earlier? I mean, he created him, right? It just seemed like they dropped the ball, and it could have been so much better. In the end, all they did was re-do the first TRON and add a few twists.

Regardless, I too, will probably own the Blu-ray when it comes out.

Scott said...

Thanks for commenting! Yes, there were many loose ends, many twists and turns that really didn't make sense, even within the flawed "mythology" of the Tron universe...in my opinion also. It's been years since I first saw Tron in the theaters, and I don't think I've seen it since, so much of the myth was forgotten by me. But even so, it could have been so much better.

That said, I enjoyed it (like I said) for what it was - a pretty cool piece of eye candy with some interesting thoughts and bits of story.

(Do you think Quorra was in the disc hanging around his neck, or was she really on the cycle with him at the end?)