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Tron Legacy – Review

Tron Legacy is the sort of movie that, in my opinion, requires a disclosure of a reviewer’s perspective up front.  So to that end, I feel compelled to admit that I have only seen Tron once, and that I saw it about three days ago with the specific end of watching the original before I saw the remake.

I mean, sequel.

Except really I mean remake, because that was ultimately what it felt like to me.  In the first place, I am not sure it was a necessary sequel, in the sense that I don’t think it added anything to the Tron universe that really enriched it.  I liked the first movie; it was urgent and exciting, visually interesting and strangely psychedelic.  So was this one…until you realize that it parallels Tron to the extent that if you’ve seen it you know pretty much exactly how this new journey will play out.  Then you realize that Tron Legacy is really a remake more than a sequel despite the premise, which implies a remake was really what they were after but didn’t want to alienate the original Tron‘s fans by calling it a remake, which is, when you think about it, kind of insulting.

Still, it was entertaining, and if you love the original then you will be curious to get back into that world and see how it has grown and changed in the thousands of micro-cycles since its creation.  Read:  how new technology renders a world originally conceived 20 years ago.

Visually, it was intriguing.  The style reminded me of Harry Potters 5 and 6–very dark, blue and gray palettes that made the lights seem brighter in contrast, while they never, ever, really lit up the screen but only the part where they actually were.  It was a very dark movie, visually speaking, but interesting.  There were enough change-ups that I didn’t get bored of the digitally created world the way I did in Avatar; perhaps also the fact that this is meant to be a digital world not a real one made me more forgiving.

I saw it in 3D Imax.  Until Sam gets the Tron world, you don’t need the glasses at all.  I can’t judge the 3D for you, because I don’t really like 3D in general.  It always makes me think there is something wrong with my eyes, and I don’t think it adds that much to a movie watching experience.  At least this movie for the most part avoided the clichés of things coming out of the screen, and there were a handful of moments that I  was looking in exactly the right place for the particular 3D effect, and they looked good (mostly these were things exploding or disintegrating).  Still.  For me the 3D here was leave it.  Others might disagree, but for me I’d have rather seen it in 2D Imax (I went to that screen in the first place for the Imax not the 3D, just so we’re all clear).

I don’t really know what to say about the story beyond what I have, that it parallels the original, that won’t spoil it for you.  Most of the reveals come in the second half of the movie.  Overall the story was entertaining, a B+ to A- until the very last minute.  And I do mean the final 60 or so seconds of the film.  The “twist” that came in at the end dropped it a full letter grade or more to C+.  I don’t know what the purpose of it was, other than to confuse and undermine the efficacy of Clu’s villainous plans and to make you walk away disappointed that the movie chose such a nonsensical direction to go.

In the end I feel like this movie as a whole is take it or leave it.  It’s a spectacle, for sure, so if you can divorce your love of the original from what you see here then it’s worth seeing just to watch how modern technology renders the electronic world.  However, there is a sterility here that does not equal the charm of the half-animated original, and so for me, watching these two movies back to back, I can safely say that the original was memorable and haunting and unique in a way that the new one simply is not.  It’s not terrible, but that’s an echoingly empty rather than ringing endorsement, isn’t it?  All the same, that’s my bottom line:  it’s not terrible.

By Elena Nola

Elena Nola is the imperial movie critic and the colder half of the Ladies of Ice and Fire.

2 replies on “Tron Legacy – Review”

Your review is pretty spot on! I saw Tron yesterday, and wanted to reconcile my feelings about it. You are far generous and PC however (Mr reviewer). Im dissappointed that after 20+ years, they couldnt have come up with a better storyline. Despite it being made at Disney (they do water things down a bit) there were no compelling elements (outside of the visuals) and the acting really stank. The original Saark was brilliant and really focused the tension in the original Tron. I didnt see much motivation in this new one. And was Flynn bangin olivia wilde’s charachter for 20 years, or was she just speeding around the grid? alot of unanswered questions that had me scratching my head. Where was Lisberger on these issues? Okay not terrible, but not legendary either. Daft Punk was the draw for this film in the end for me!

SPOILERS! YES! The ending! How horrible! How is it possible to make a digital being into a living, breathing, flesh and blood, shitting and pissing, real world entity? How? Now, I suspended my belief enough to believe you could turn a living creature into a digital analogue…so when he comes back to the real world, well, his original molecules are there. They aren’t created out of nothing. I guess now we know what company created Star Trek NG’s food replicators. ENCOM! Honestly, I must have been confused throughout the film. I thought CLU was trying to transport into the real world DIGITAL realm…like take over the internet or something…his soldiers used as anti-virus busters or something. Only at the end scene did I realize he was actually gonna try to transport that million man army into Flynn’s tiny basement! At least that would have been funny, instead of being utterly RIDICULOUS! Oh and Tron? The namesake of the movie? Some side marginalized side character? He’s the fucking point! Also, where were the TANKS?! Tanks shooting at recognizers and light cycles were my favorite parts of the original. They only get a fucking cameo in the sequel! BOOOO! If this is indeed a sequel, then I wish Master C would have won in the original. At least he would spare us the nose-wrinkling 3-D spew now showing.

The new and redesigned 2010 recognizers were pretty freaking awesome though! I’d like to take one for a spin ’85 Flynn style!

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