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Non-Review Review: Tron Legacy

I admired the original Tron perhaps because of what it attempted rather than because of what it accomplished. It was brave and bold, and it demonstrated more than any other film of its time what was possible with computer-generated imagery – it was a statement of intent and a proof of concept. However, it was also somewhat awkward and clunky – to the point that several sequences in the movie had to hand-animated rather than digitally modelled, because time and technology worked against the crew. It was very much a movie of its time, held back by the status of the industry at the time – and yet inspiring a whole new generation of film-goers and film-makers as to the possibilities. It seems only fitting, perhaps, that Tron: Legacy took so long to make it to the screen – those impressionable young future movie-makers have come of age in the thirty years since the original. In many ways, the sequel feels like a debt is being repaid – here’s a chance to see the original and daring vision as it was imagined all those years ago.

I haven't got a Clu...

On a purely superficial level, Tron: Legacy is unadulterated visual candy – it’s sugar for our brains. The sets no longer look like an aircraft hangar painted black with the odd neon safety stripe attached – instead it seems like an actual world. The surroundings and the stunts are visually amazing – it might not be the game-changer that Avatar was (it arrives a year too late, perhaps), but taken on its own terms it looks absolutely stunning.

I’ll concede that I am not a 3D convert; perhaps because I wear glasses anyway, or perhaps because of the way it has been handled by the studios. However, I did notice the depth in the sequences on film. It wasn’t necessarily the action sequences where I saw the wonderful layering effect, so much as the smaller character shots. It seems like the characters are actually flying over an abyss as they discuss things, or it feels like they are actually walking closer as they chat. It’s small things, but it’s very noticeable.

Part of the reason for the effectiveness of the 3D here as opposed to other similar productions is – I suspect – the sound mixing. Sound has a greater impact on our perception than we give it credit for. During the opening title, we zoom through an evolving cityscape, but we hear the air fly past. From my perspective, for the briefest of moments, it actually felt like I was flying. That’s a rare feeling, and it immediately made me appreciate the film. Throughout the film, the sound mix constructs an elaborate atmosphere at least as well as the superb visuals. There’s a winning combination right there. My better half – who has studied sound engineering – was even impressed by the quality of the sound (although she wasn’t quite as impressed at the overall product as I was).

I think I'll pick up the soundtrack on disc...

While discussing the sound, the Daft Punk soundtrack is great. I’m thinking perhaps of buying myself the soundtrack album, just for some of the ambient beats. It just fits the world perfectly – the stereotypically “epic” fantasy music score filtered through a slightly trippy electronic remix. There are moments – particularly early on – when the soundtrack (and indeed the entire movie) too self-consciously emulate The Dark Knight (even directly borrowing one “bike going up ramp in Chicago” shot nearly exactly, as well as a last-minute escape from the top of a building), but the movie quickly finds its own feet.

Perhaps I am talking too much about the technical aspects of the production, but it’s worth dwelling on – the film is, by all technical accounts, astounding. Even the rendering of Clu, the evil younger doppelgänger of Jeff Bridges’ character, is impressive. Sure, the face sometimes veers a little bit too far into the uncanny valley (his skin appears a little too smooth), but it works. There are certain shots that may require a healthy suspension of disbelief (perhaps the director was over-confident in the rendering of the special effects for Clu), but it hangs together remarkably well for what it is. Clu represents the weakest special effect of the entire film, but also one of its more remarkable accomplishments – he doesn’t succeed as a stand-in for a younger Bridges, but he comes pretty damn close.

What of the film itself? What lies at the heart of all this wonderful visual and auditory candy? I reported last week on the rumour that Disney might stop producing fairytales, in an attempt to attract the younger, hipper market. If so, Tron: Legacy represents a fond farewell to the genre – because that is what this film is, at its core. It’s a fairytale about a king and his sons, all trying to do the right thing. It’s a parable about the responsibilities that come with authority and power, and the obligations that these things bring to a greater good. It’s a moral tale about the capacity for good and evil which lies within the heart of every man.

A light cycle made for two?

It’s not an overly complex story – in fact, the movie goes to great lengths to simplify even some fairly straight-forward plot elements from the first film. While the original offered clever and insightful criticism of social class and professional stereotypes (with, for example, an accounting programme looking like an accountant), a lot of that is missing here. Indeed, a lot of the original’s computer-slang edutainment features (like Flynn picking up a byte) are gone – either sensing that younger audiences now know enough about computers that they don’t need to be told, or suggesting that kids don’t go to the cinema to learn computer terms.

The computer language here is kept to a minimum, as are the visual metaphors for computer mechanics. Instead, the movie substitutes relatively arbitrary rules that resemble the types found in standard fantasy fare – for example, the hero can use his strange power to kill the villain, but only at the cost of his own life; or the villain can “beam” himself into the real world by stealing the hero’s identity disk. These make (a decent amount) of sense in the context of the movie’s fantasy-themed narrative, but they represent a move away from the computer-themed laws and rules that the first one revelled in. This isn’t a compliment or a criticism; just an observation.

Let the Games begin...

Perhaps because of these changes in style, the movie moves a lot more fluidly than the original. It is a simpler story, but that is probably a good thing. The movie picks up with Flynn, the revolutionary computer designer preaching about “the digital frontier”, mysteriously disappearing. Quite a few years later, his grown son sets out to find him (investigating a mysterious phone call from Flynn’s old arcade) and stumbles across the impossible computer world that Flynn built, only to discover that it is being run by Clu – an evil computer version of his father, programmed to seek perfection. Unfortunately, Clu believes the perfection can only arise from order, rather than randomness – so he attempts to impose his own will over the computer world.

It’s essentially your standard Disney fairytale narrative, the story of a king and a pretender in a kingdom under siege. Of course, instead of musical numbers, there are light cycle sequences, but the idea is pretty much the same. Those expecting a more complex story might want to look elsewhere, but there’s nothing wrong with a straightforward narrative like this. In a way, it’s appealingly simple – just like Avatar last year, it’s weak on the story front, but it lacks some of the unfortunate undertones of Cameron’s blockbuster and contains some fascinating subtext of its own.

It's a joy ride...

Clu enforces his rule by “corrupting” all manner of other programmes, redesigning them to suit his will. This corruption is a recurring theme in the story, almost a cautionary tale. Flynn’s own corporate empire has been corrupted in his absence, to the point where they are soulless, money-grabbing corporation. When asked how they can justify charging a fortune for a new service pack when it has no real changes, they reply that it now has “a 12 on the box.” There’s an almost mournful tone to the movie as it reflects on how the digital frontier was so ruthlessly commercialised. When Flynn, locked away inside his programme for over a decade, is told about wifi, he replies that he thought of it “back in ’85.” One gets the sense that it’s the petty monetization of the industry that has stunted growth – good ideas like that can’t get a look in.

The movie dares to suggest that some things should be open-source, to use an industry metaphor. Flynn has been teaching his young ward, Quorra, about “the art of selflessness”, a commodity in rare supply these days. Flynn speaks of the digital frontier as an object which could unite all mankind – surely some advances should be shared for the betterment of all humanity? Whether it’s a new operating system or the works of Jules Verne, it’s better given as “a gift” (to quote one corporate executive). After all, isn’t that the kind of action which inspires genius and inspiration?

In many ways, perhaps, the movie reads as an exploration of the Disney legacy itself. In the opening sequence, the iconic Disney castle becomes Clu’s fortress, an interesting allusion – even without the introductory comparison, the two look alike from the distance. Disney was founded by the ideals of Walt Disney, who was undoubtedly more of an artist than a corporate executive – at least compared to the figures who would follow him. It was during Walt’s tenure that Disney produced countless bold and daring films – like Dumbo or Fantasia or Bambi – even if they weren’t immediately successful. The studio became more conservative over time, and – although they continued to produce magic – less risks were taken. After all, it’s a sound business strategy to minimise potential loss by betting safe.

Will the crowd go Wild(e)?

However, the original Tron was a risky venture, released into a market place that perhaps wasn’t ready for it. It didn’t bomb, but it didn’t break records either. Perhaps the sequel is arguing that Tron should have been written off as a “gift” to a future generation of film-makers who would be inspired by it – wondering why the sequel took so long. Tron wasn’t successfully monetized, but it still did a huge amount of good – the studio didn’t make a huge profit, but its value as a demonstration of the potential of computer-generated imagery is astounding. In a way, perhaps Tron: Legacy is a belated follow-up to that promise.

However, it adopts a more generic approach as well. Interestingly for a science-fiction film, the movie seems to endorse religion in some form – rather than hard or fast rationality. Flynn discovers “a miracle” in the system, which he can’t account for – even though he has absolute control over the environment. He embraces the philosophy that perfection can’t be engineered, it is “unknowable”, a firm rejection of rational theory. It can’t be explained away or reduced to a mathematical formula. Flynn is more an artist than a scientist, referring to “my zen thing.” To him, the act of creating isn’t coding, it’s “jazz.” He likes to meditate, “knocking on the sky.” These betray a form of faith, a belief that things will, in some fashion, reveal or resolve themselves in time. Flynn, here played by Jeff Bridges, seems almost a distant and more articulate cousin of the Dude for The Big Lebowski, right down to calling people “man”. Maybe religion is a strong word for what Flynn endorses, but it’s certainly a form of spirituality in world of code.

This is in contrast to Clu, who preaches hatred. Clu has converted the zen philosophies of his creator into irrational hatred. He preaches against “the tyranny of the users”. Given how the original compared the users to gods, that’s a very bold statement. In fact, the movie doesn’t dwell too long on the relationship between programmes and users – instead it’s the relationship between programmes and their creator. It’s probably a far more relevant approach in today’s world (as the “users” effectively absolve the programmes of any responsibility, while the “creators” give their creations some semblence of free will). Given the violence and destruction caused by people acting in the name of religion, it seems quite timely. The comparisons are obvious – Sam is even referred to as “the son of our maker” at one point, and Flynn is constantly “the creator”.

Thank goodness they wear helmets... safety first...

Garrett Hedlund is a fairly nondescript leading actor, although maybe it’s just that Sam isn’t especially well-characterised. Reportedly Pixar came in to punch up the emotional arcs – and I suspect that I can tell where they put in the most work – but the lead character is still a bit of a blank slate. Jeff Bridges is much better as Flynn and Clu. I loved Olivia Wilde as Quorra, Flynn’s companion – she brings a wonderful naivety to the role. Michael Sheen is effective as the scenery-chewing entertainment programme Castor. He’s relishing the opportunity to chew the scenery (including a rather over-the-top use of his “cane”, if you know what I mean… it shoots randomly into the air when he plays with it). Cillian Murphy even pops up for a moment.

In a way, the film is the logical extension of the eighties nostalgia that we’ve seen emerge over the past number of years – especially this summer with films like Predators or The A-Team. However, while these films perhaps reflect an attempt to simply revisit the path – to pretend that the twenty-to-thirty years between then and now never happened – Tron: Legacy takes the past and builds on it. There are more than a few conscious nods to the decade that taste forgot, including the use of Journey’s Separate Ways and the Eurythmics Sweet Dreams over a scene set in Flynn’s arcade. Still, it’s relatively non-intrusive. As far as eighties nostalgia goes, this is undoubtedly a more productive example of it than most.

Castor's very excited about this movie...

Aside from being a (very belated) sequel to an original eighties cult classic, very little of the movie seems especially nostalgic – you could probably make the case that the neon designs scream “retro eighties”. There are a few references thrown in for fans of the first film – such as Tron’s delivery of the line “I fight for the users” or the way that Sam and Quorra strike the iconic poster pose – but this is a film that is relatively concerned with telling its own story, rather than harking back to what came before. It’s an effect way of telling a story – especially when one third of the audience is too young to remember the original film and another third wants to forget the dated special effects. Asking modern movie-goers to go back and watch the original in order to “get” the sequel would be a bit much for a movie of this scale.

I loved every moment of Tron: Legacy. It’s a beautiful modern fairytale, which just looks and sounds absolutely stunning. The plot itself is a straight-forward fairytale, but that doesn’t make it any less effective or powerful. It’s definitely one to watch this Christmas.

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115 Responses

  1. Good review. I was hesitant to see this because I heard mentioned it was much better as eye candy than an effective story. I felt a little burned by Avatar (although I know you liked it) in that department, so I’m glad it’s not too cliche.

    • Actually, Justin, count me in the “people who didn’t think Avatar was all that” category. I found some of Cameron’s undertones quite… worrying.

      • I loved avatar, the tones reflect what’s going on in the world today which yes may seem worrying but there’s never been a time were there wasn’t some media monster to worry about and movies throught the years reflect this

      • I was more disturbed by the racial fantasy of the film. “White guy shows up and teaches peaceful natives how to fight back.” Because there’s no way the natives could have figured out how to deal with the situation without the direction of one of the colonists.

      • Ha I guess I can see that, but I think it’s just more he knew what he was fighting against. If you really wanted to explore the race theme you could say it was racist that he had to become one of them to be happy, but that’s probably more to get out a wheelchair.

      • Maybe I read too much into it, I just ramble. I’ve come to terms with the fact that this is one of those movies where I disagree with the majority opinion, but such is life. It’d be boring if we all agreed, wouldn’t it?

    • Avatar is a mediocre movie at best.

      • Mediocre? No way it was great. I don’t want to sound like one of those people that are hypnotised by the visual effects, because I’m not like that, honestly. I just think that it was a really great story and was told in a way that just flowed and fit together nicely. I don’t agree with the sequels though. It was a good movie but that’s all it should be ONE movie, the stories been told.

      • Yep, Avatar is an old fairytale – essentially a retelling of the Pocahontas myth. However, John Smith is a supporting character in that story and deservedly so – this isn’t the story of Smith saving the natives, but the of natives fighting for the survival of their culture. The most powerful moment in the Disney version of the film has Pocahontas send John home, because he can’t stay and she can’t go. (In real life, Smith was sent home with a wound, where he married and got on with his life – in fact, there’s no indication they were ever romantically involved.) Avatar is an attempt to rewrite the myth to make John Smith the main character, and that sits awkwardly with me.

      • I don’t know. I’ve heard the theory that it’s a retelling of pocahantos before, but I’ve never really seen it. That might sound stupid due to the obvious similarities. I could go on for hours in speech about this but in writing I’ve always found that the simpler the better, so the simplest way I can put my views is this;
        Lord of the flies and Lost have very similar settings and themes (and at some stages characters) yet you could never say they were the same because there are SO MANY differences, the Pocahontas idea is based on what they have in common, it doesn’t take into account what they don’t.

      • Yep, each’s own – I mean if you look hard enough you can find any connection. My personal favourite is the theory that Fight Club is about a grown-up Calvin & Hobbes. So I think I just latched on to what I saw in Avatar – as I said, ask ten people and get ten different answers.

  2. You… You saw Tron Legacy 2 weeks before us lowly North Americans? I was going to type “3 Reasons Tron Legacy is Going to be a Flop” tonight ahah. Glad you liked it, although I still think it will be a flop ;)

    • I am less than certain about the movie’s success – too cult, too geek, too esoteric. But I do hope it catches fire, because it looks great. It’s a simple enough movie, but it’s just technically brilliant.

  3. Can’t believe they choose to remake TRON, of all things — but I’m interested to see if my 11-year-old digs it. ;)

    • Mikalee, if your eleven year old digs the ads for it, then they should love it. I imagine the neon visuals will turn a few viewers off (I can’t help but wonder what younger viewers will make of it), but it is just astounding visually. The only thing stopping this from being the annual family cinema-trip is that my mother isn’t exactly open-minded when it comes to design like this.

  4. tremendous job writing such a comprehensive review without really giving anything away.

    http://dearexgirlfriend.com/

    • Thanks, I tried. I wasn’t sure about including Cillian Murphy in the post, but I didn’t mention anything about his character.

  5. I can’t wait to see the movie. I don’t really remember the first one so I will have to rent it to catch up on it. I know I loved the arcade game :-)

    http://www.runtobefit.wordpress.com

    • The original isn’t really essential to be honest – and I think it’s not a bad thing. Only hardcore film geeks love Tron, and the vast majority of filmgoers will recognise the neon design, but not the name of the film. I think that Tron will look very “rough” to the modern movie-goer. It’s well worth a look, but seems almost like a “work in progress”.

  6. the movie looks dope, a young jeff bridges looks crazy.

    http://enjoibeing.wordpress.com/

    • The special effects are awesome. The young Jeff bridges is, to be honest, probably the weakest element of that, but he still looks pretty fantastic at times (although there are moments where his skin looks too smooth).

  7. I just heard of this movie the other day. I’m really excited about seeing this.

  8. I never even knew Tron was a movie, wasn’t it a video game too? I think that I might like it, but in another sense I’m not too sure. I’ll see if my better half wants to take me out to it, or if we’ll wait to see it. Definitely looks like eye candy though.

    • There was a recent videogame sequel, I believe – Tron 2.0. And I think that the vast majority of people are familiar with the concept through the lightcycle game, which is wonderfully iconic and worked its way into popular consciousness to a greater extent than the movie itself – to the point where Family Guy can do a cutaway gag based around it.

      • Yep. Tron 2.0 was the name. It came out in 2003. There was supposed to be a movie sequel to go with it, I guess by the same name, but it didn’t happen. If you look on the extras disc for the 20th Anniversary Collector’s Edition of Tron they have a brief segment showing concept art for the sequel they had in mind at the time.

        Tron 2.0 had a different story line. In it, Alan Bradley married Lora. They had a son named Jet Bradley, who now works at Encom. He’s the main character. Alan downloads Lora’s consciousness into an AI system, named Ma3a, and later Lora dies in some freak accident that they don’t explain. There’s the same sense of a “corruption” of the system, and in the company. Jet gets sucked into the computer. There are some scenes with Alan as well. Encom gets taken over by an evil corporate mega-giant, and they kidnap Alan. Eventually Alan and Jet are able to help each other, once each realizes what’s going on. Ma3a helps Jet as well.

        I kept expecting Flynn to show up somewhere. He’s mentioned, but Jeff Bridges wasn’t involved with the game at all.

        They brought some of the old production cast back, though. Bruce Boxleitner did the voice for Alan. Cindy Morgan did the voice for Ma3a. Wendy Carlos came back to do music. And Syd Mead, the concept designer for Tron, created a new light cycle for the game.

        Like in Tron Legacy, they had a young male human character, Jet, voiced by Jason Cottle, and a young digital female character, named Mercury, voiced by Rebecca Romijn. And as in Legacy, she helps Jet once he’s inside the system.

      • Neat, I didn’t know the overt similarities. Is the game any good?

      • Re. “Is the game any good?”

        I liked it. There was some good writing in it. The ending sucked, though. It was like an afterthought. I played it on Windows. Apparently the PC gaming crowd liked it better than the console gamers. The console version was just a port of the PC version. They didn’t add anything special to it. The format was that of a role playing game. So you develop a character with abilities that you choose as the game progresses. It was mostly a first-person shooter, though. It’s probably dated now, but what I remember is it had some great eye candy.

        I forgot to mention that there were a few ideas floating around for the sequel back then. I actually read a draft script online for it. All I remember about that was that Alan and Flynn were investigating something going wrong with the system. They go inside and find a corrupted program. They do battle with it. At one point it rezzes into the real world, but only temporarily. Eventually they defeat it in a contest of video games. It wasn’t well fleshed out.

        The one that it was rumored they had settled on sounded similar to Legacy. Only it sounded darker, a bit like Apocalypse Now. The description of it was that Flynn had gone into the computer and had stayed there for years, becoming a bit like Col. Kurtz, surrounded by vintage video games he had written. Someone is investigating a corruption in the system. They go into the computer and fight their way through a bunch of these games that surrounded Flynn in order to get to him, though it wasn’t clear whether Flynn had turned into the main villain or not. That’s all I know.

      • Thanks. I can definitely see the similarities between the game and what made it to screen (albeit, as you say, lighter).

      • Tron 2.0 was a great game! I hope the successor will be as good as the previous one.

        Btw: the original Tron had only 15-20 minutes of computer animated scenes. The othert computer-like scenes were built using Backlit Animation.

      • Here are some video clips from Tron 2.0 just to whet your appetite. :) You’ll notice some references to “Tron legacy code”, but I think they’re talking about something different than what’s in “Tron: Legacy”. “Legacy code” is a term used among software developers to refer to “old source code”, “source code” being the operative term for a body of code that when run through a piece of software called a compiler can produce a runnable piece of software.

  9. I am not a fan of 3D but I like how you mentioned the sound of air whooshing by. Those elements need to be included to make the 3D worthwhile. Enjoyed your review and now I need to consider seeing this movie. Congrats on being pressed.

    • Thank you very much. I don’t know how I ended up on that page. I’m not, as a rule, impressed by 3D as some are – there are about two movies worth seeing in 3D that have been produced in the past few years. Avatar and this one. I still think 3D is a gimmick, but at least the movie uses it wisely – the bulk of “real world” scenes are filmed in 2D and the movie extends into 3D after Sam enters the digital world.

      Being entirely honest though, I’m fairly sure that the sound did most of the work with the 3D, though and I only really noticed it in character-focused scenes. The action scenes moved around too fast for me to adjust – that isn’t a bad thing, action scenes are meant to be fast – but it was over the long and steady shots I noticed a difference.

  10. I’m praying that this movie is GOLD…
    After three or four failed attempts to watch the original all the way through about a year ago(each 1 ending in a nap) I’ve been following all the updates and hype just hoping for a well deserved reboot of TRON…
    Everything from the updated light cycles to the guaranteed amazingeness of daft punk has left me giddy with anticipation
    I CANT WAIT TOO SEE IT

    Don’t stop howling…
    OhKami’s Voice

    • Yep, that’s it. I can understand that a lot of people might be put off with how the sequel feels different from the original film, but I think that the differences are the best possible strategy – the original Tron isn’t exactly friendly to modern viewers. I admire what it attempted and how groundbreaking it was at the time, but it dated extremely quickly. I hope that this movie can find the mainstream movie that the original deserved.

  11. very good write up! Visually stunning film, even though I do not usually care for that sort of thing… 3D is here to stay. I wonder how long it’ll take that everything is on 3D…

    • Thanks. Wasn’t it Scorsese who said that the tipping point for 3D is when we start seeing Oscar bait like Precious in 3D – when it’s no longer just blockbusters, but every film. But I agree with you, 3D is here to stay.

  12. Can’t wait for this movie, love the original (wasn’t a live when it came out but I seen it numerous times). I love how long and detailed you non-review was.

    • Thanks Adam. I tried to walk a line between discussing the film without spoiling too much of it. I’ve never embraced the rigid “intro + synopsis + technical opinion + snark + conclusion = review” formula. I like to ramble and maybe just come up with one or two clever things in a giant mess of a post..

      • Well I like your giant mess of a post ha just hope I’m not annoying you with all my comments

      • Thanks man – I love the discussion. I mean, people differ, that’s life, but occasionally somebody will spot something through a debate or discussion which will just trigger some wonderfully random thought.

  13. The original Tron was made before I was born but my friend showed me the original trailer a few weeks ago and I was astonished at how advanced it was for its time. Kind of like Star Wars where film makers only had so many tools and used a lot of camera tricks to achieve certain visuals. But Tron Legacy looks so clean and smooth visually I have to see it. Thanks for reminding me to buy my ticket!

  14. brilliant review. I loved how you gave the feel and purpose of the film withough giving anything away. I think most movie reviews are summing up the plot rather than the impact of the film on the critic, but you didn’t.

    • Thanks, man. I tried not to spoil too much of it, but to discuss what the film is like or about or what it’s saying.

  15. Tron really suffered as a generational cult classic. Having been too young to see the movie when it first came out, the fact that my father loved it was what introduced it to me and started my affinity for the film (I still watch it regularly). Year’s later, it’s hard to show people Tron because the technology has come so far that most people can’t see past the infantile animation skills.

    What’s really remarkable is that Legacy is getting people who never saw Tron excited about it and even has prompted people I know to watch the original in preparation for the sequel–admirable and impressive.

    This is, without a doubt, the movie I have been looking forward to the most for the second half of 2010.

    • Yep, that’s the key and – from my point of view – the hige risk in making the film. I’m glad it’s paying off, but I can’t imagine trying to convince an executive to make this movie based on the Tron brand, which was hardly the hippest brand (even when the original was made).

      But I am glad that they did.

  16. I had no idea Michael Sheen was in the film! Now I’m definitely excited to see it, even though I never saw the first Tron. What a great, thorough review…definitely deserving of a FP status!

  17. The movie is not bad talking in terms of sophistication and futuristic imagery

    • The production design as incredible – and the sound is even better. The only issue is potentially the storyline – I have no problems with a fairly simplistic and straight-forward plot, but it’s not going to reinvent the wheel by any stretch of the imagination.

  18. I still enjoy watching the original Tron.
    I too wear glasses – bi-focals to boot – so I have a problem with 3D, though the newer glasses are a bit easier on the eyes.
    I was thinking of seeing this. Now I’m not sure.
    Thanks for your views on it, though.

    • Thanks. I wear glasses too, I have a stigma, and it isn’t bad at all. You feel a little tired afterwards, but you get (what I imagine to be) most of the effect.

      If you can find a 2D showing, it’s worth a look.

  19. I for one can’t wait to see Tron. I saw the first one and though I enjoyed it, i didn’t get alot from it. Now that I blog and run several web site I think I will enjoy it more. Thak for your review-the film looks to be quite a “ride”!

    • It is indeed. I don’t know, Tron has a lot going on “under the hood” which rewards the occasional rewatch. They aren’t the deepest movies you’ll ever see, but they get the job done.

  20. Can’t wait to see this. Light cycles turned me on to the idea of high-performance motorcycles as a kid. From Tron, to Ducati’s and R1s – it’s been an amazing adventure!

    • I think that lightcycles are as iconic as virtually any sci-fi technology. There’s a moment early in the film where Sam is handed a control rod for his lightcycle, and he holds it like a lightsabre. I was thinking, “nice try, kid – wrong franchise.” Interesting you should mention the Ducati, it makes an appearance in the film, if I’m not mistaken.

  21. I’m actually really looking forward to this.

  22. Nice blog! You should check out my blog.It’s a little similar, but I think you’ll injoy it. Its at http://www.grantsreviews.wordpress.com

  23. Great review! I like reading your work because it’s nice to see a different angle of review. Mine are all to get a rise out of people. Can’t wait to see Tron!

    • Yep, the best part of blogging is finding your own voice – if getting a rise works (and it can provoke really interesting discussions), go with it. I like to just ramble and see what comes up – I should probably put a bit more thought into things.

  24. Whoa! Congrats on making the WP front page, homey! Can’t wait to see this.

    • Thanks Aidan. It’s an entertaining little movie and a visual treat if you’re just looking for a fun adventure flick. I don’t know how I made the front page, but I’m flattered – I somehow ended up there twice before as well. I’m just honoured that people are reading and liking this stuff. I’m buzzed.

  25. I generally avoid sequels and remakes, but you’ve peaked my curiosity. I watched the original because of its historical importance.

    • I don’t know. Sequels and remakes get a bad buzz because 90% of them are crap. But 90% of anything is crap, I suppose – there are any number of “original” films this year that were depressingly disappointing. And, after all, The Godfather Part II is a sequel – as is The Good, The Bad & The Ugly (well… technically a prequel). The Departed is a remake, as is A Fistful of Dollars.

  26. Excellent review. I think this movie is going to do very well and be an amazing ride. It’s nice to read a positive review after so much negativity seems to have been surfacing lately about this film! I’m glad to hear you had a great experience. I myself am not usually excited about 3D in the least bit – the sheer amount of 3D movies this year simply for the sake of being in 3D has put me off substantially and I usually find watching 3D to be incredibly distracting. This film, however, is the exception, since it was actually filmed in 3D, the 3D fits the story, and there’s a reason for it! Not just over-processed images to try and squeeze out more money.

    • I think a lot of the negativity focuses on the fact that the story itself is fairly straightforward and shallow – which is certainly a fair claim, but I don’t think that makes it any less effective. To be honest, Garrett Hedlund doesn’t make an effective protagonist, but this isn’t Sam’s story – it’s the story of Flynn coming to terms with his own legacy, Sam is just a facet of that. There’s also the fact that a lot of the problems with the sequel (the poorly defined protagonist, awkward dialogue and simplistic storytelling) were also problems with the first film as well, but it overcame them with an endearing straightforward-ness and some technical miracles – as I feel this film does.

      I’m not a big 3D fan, and I don’t think any movie has ever sold itself to me on the basis of being made in 3D (except maybe Avatar, but James Cameron’s latest will always attract my attention). This movie could have been made in 2D (just as any other 3D movie ever could have been) without a real loss, but at least it makes the most of the format. Post-production conversion on films like Clash of the Titans is horrible, but at least here it looks like the film was made for the format. Will you lose anything by seeing the film in 2D? Probably not, but it’s one of the better examples of 3D I’ve seen in the past few years.

  27. avatar is good but not great to me., well I’m looking forward to this movie because i love the 3d cartoon counterpart of it :p

  28. I can’t wait to sse the movie but the title of this post is pretty contradictory ‘ , : (

    • I don’t know, I feel a little pompous describing my thoughts as “reviews”. They’re more just random thoughts that happen to escape my brain. Maybe one day I’ll graduate to “review reviews” :)

  29. In the next few milleniums, Hollywood is going to remembers that movies are about PLOTS.

    Until then, we might get Jesus vs. Predator 3-D.

    • I’m as fond of criticising Hollywood as anyone else is, but event pictures have their place. There are great storytellers out there – some of which work within the studio system (Christopher Nolan, for example) or outside it.

      • Right. That’s what’s great about a good plot. You can add great visual to it and make it an evenful experience.

      • Yep. This movie isn’t exactly going to reinvent the wheel, but I liked the simplicity of it – it’s basically a neon fairytale about a king and his kingdom in ruin.

  30. so. freakin. excited :]

  31. Gosh, I had no idea this was even happening.
    I remember seeing the original Tron when it came out. My sister and I were literally the only people in the theater, which was kind of fun, but I took it as a bad sign for the film makers’ profit margin!

  32. I wonder what they will come up with next not that many stories that are interesting that could be done redone and expanded

  33. Well this is only just coming out in Australia. I just barely remember the first movie… Just. I’m too young to have it clear in my mind but I remember my father regularly talking up it’s premise.

    I am most definitely looking forward to having a look see at the new version!

  34. Round of applause for a quite brilliant review. Whether I agree or not will have to wait until I have seen the film but this has got me intrigued and eager to see the film.

    Good pictures and enough plot description to explain that there is one without telling me quite everything.

    I do have one question. Do you think the visuals will hold up watching it on a regular screen? I’m not a 3D fan at all.

    Regards

    Stephen

    • Thanks Stephen.

      I think the visuals will hold up in 2D. Although this is one of the two movies I think makes decent use of 3D for depth (no points for guessing the other one), but the design and the sound will all be there in the 2D version. I will be buying the blu ray in 2D, if that counts as an endorsement.

      • I’ve not upgraded to blu ray yet but yes it sounds good as an endorsement of a good old 2d version of the movie. I mentioned the review and the movie to my wife and she told me to go have fun. Not for her she said. So I’ll be ringing up a buddy and off to see it when it opens!

  35. I am very much looking forward to seeing this. I loved the original Tron and thought it a very underrated movie.

  36. that’s so sexy man……

  37. i loved the old tronit was visually stunningback in the days, nothing like it had been done in a feature length. kinda annoyed by the simplified story in this new one but again it looks visually stunning

    • Yep, but the original wasn’t exactly a complex story. The original was more into the “computer” aspect of it all though, while the sequel is more of a clear-cut fantasy adventure.

  38. I haven’t really ever been into the tron legancy but this film looks good!
    Congarts of F>P
    Nice writing :)
    Best wishes
    x

  39. cant wait to see the movie!

  40. I CAN wait to see the movie. And I will!!!

  41. Considering how the movie world branded the latest Harry Potter film “The Motion Picture Event for a Generation”, I’ll reserve judgement on the hysterics being displayed over Tron. I would love to see the film, but I think, as a rule, anything that is in 3D won’t be considered “legendary” – no matter how good the sound track is. (Certainly not in comparison to films that display simple storytelling to maximum effect – Shawshank, The Reader etc)

    http://www.twago.com/expert/programmer/Content-Management-System

    • I don’t know about films that are in 3D should automatically be judged as incapable of considered “legendary”. Wasn’t Hitchcock’s classic Dial M for Murder filmed in 3D? And I’d consider it a classic. And, as much as I dislike it, Avatar was a whole other visual ballgame. I’m not calling Tron a generational film or anything as crazy – it’s just a solidly entertaining film in time for Christmas.

      Incidentally, I found both Shawshank and the Reader to be hugely overrated (the latter more than the former, though).

      • I agree with that. How The Reader snuck in while The Wrestler, WALL-E, and The Dark Knight were snubbed is beyond me.

  42. Glad you liked it Darren, glad they advanced the story past cold war propaganda eh?

    • Yep, I think the themes were much more general this time – although there’s a lot of stuff hidden in there about how spirituality and rationality can peacefully coexist, if we allow it.

  43. The previews for this have me on the fence. Last year, Avatar and all the 3D hype infuriated me. Call me old fashion, but I will never get 3D. It already failed once in the 1950’s for being just a gimmick. Sure we have the technology to back it up now, but it is sort of killing me. Haha. Anyways, Tron: Legacy has me less put off. The cast of Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde almost make it worth it alone.

    • Yep, it’s just a way of charging you more, to be honest. I don’t think any movie has ever “needed” to be in 3D, and I only think two of the movies in the last few years have bothered to do it well – this and Avatar.

  44. Whats so good about this movie?

    • It’s a matter of opinion, but the graphic and sound design are spectacular and I dug the simplistic fairytale narrative.

  45. It was, unfortunately, as dark as the trailers made it out to be but, effects-wise, it felt much like the film the original had hoped to be.

  46. Well I decided to make a trip on my own to the cinema. The first such in many years. And this is the first 3d movie I have seen in a cinema so that was interesting.

    I liked it. And the review above is pretty spot on. I would add that I felt there was some very profound moments – IF you wanted there to be. I could get into a discussion about God, Creation, and Immortal Mistakes but it would make for a huge spoiler.

    So in short I thought the movie presented a couple of very profound nuggets that could be considered and then it left you to either grab those and think about them or ignore them and just admire the visuals.

    A tight balancing act that came off I thought.

    3d? meh not moved me although nice to try it once.

    I’ll be sticking to 2d films whilst I still have a choice!

    • Yep, not sold on 3D either. The fact I can only think of two films where the 3D did anything half-way remarkable is a strong condemnation.

      I loved the theology aspect, but – like you – worried too much about spoilers.

  47. I saw this mtwice, once in 2d the other time in IMAX 3d. I enjoyed it. It wasn’t perfect, they could’ve improved on some plot devices.

    What stood out for me is the sound design and the musical score by Daft Punk.

    • I love that soundtrack, and I’m not one to notice sound. Even the mixing was fantastic, and I don’t normally come out of films observing “that sound mixing was epic!”

  48. Aqui un video de la banda sonora

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