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Jay Mar 9, 2010

The trailer is here -

Personally, I think it looks amazing and I am so hyped about this movie. I loved the original and think it was waaaaaay before its time. I just don't know how I'm possibly going to wait until December to see this.

Angela Mar 9, 2010

Tron was always seated within the outer reaches of my acknowledgment.  I'd never seen the original 1982 movie, but I grew up vaguely aware that it was a pop cultural phenomenon of sorts.  I had spotted the Midway game in the arcades frequently, but never actually played it.  We owned the Commodore 64 version after a fashion, but I can't remember a thing about it.   I do, however, fondly recall that Homer³ Simpsons Halloween episode, as well as the Kingdom Hearts II sequence.

The new trailer looks to be hitting the right buttons for longtime fans.  I have co-workers who are greatly looking forward to the film, some even younger than me.  Looks like I'm finally going to have to play catch-up with the original, but for my part, I think the concept of having a sequel taking place two decades later (in real-time, no less) is ridiculously cool.

Jodo Kast Mar 10, 2010

Angela wrote:

Tron was always seated within the outer reaches of my acknowledgment.  I'd never seen the original 1982 movie, but I grew up vaguely aware that it was a pop cultural phenomenon of sorts.

I saw parts of Tron sometime before age 10 and it bothered me more than horror movies. It might have something to do with how I imagine myself in places. I really did not want to be stuck inside that computer or wherever they were; it was remarkably disconcerting. To this day I have terrible images burned in my mind from what little I glimpsed of Tron. Of course, those memories are probably around 25 years old. I'd probably laugh if I saw it now. (This is evidence that it's really not necessary to absolutely categorize films. Tron was not advertised as horror, but I found it terrifying. Much more terrifying than films categorized as 'horror'. Each person has different subjective experiences with respect to others and each person has different subjective experiences with respect to their semaphoronts, those differences in the life of an individual at certain points in time. Semaphoront is more likely to be found when describing the lives of insects, but I see no reason why it can't be extended to humans.)

Angela Dec 12, 2010 (edited Dec 13, 2010)

With Legacy arriving this week, I finally sat down and watched the original Tron.  Has it really been twenty eight years since the film came out?  I give new meaning to the phrase "Late to the party."

I came away, as many others have likely done so in the past, thinking that the marvel of the movie lies in its technical prowess more than anything else.  Sure, it's a decent bit of sci-fi, though the plot is a lot more straightforward than I was expecting.  At least, it's not as complicated or involving as the various plot synopses made it out to be.  Frankly, with the way they've been setting up the storyline for the sequel up until the most recent trailer, I didn't think the original would have ended quite so neat and tidy.  I dug the dual roles aspect, where the actors played both "user" and "program" counterparts.  Bridges plays a fairly likeable hero, smart and cocky.  Boxleiter is a little more straight-laced, and personally, I'm a little disappointed they didn't touch upon that love triangle they had going with Cindy Morgan.  (Pity that Yori won't be making a return for Legacy, but I'm glad they'll be bringing Boxleiter back; I'm hoping he'll have a substantial role.)  But the best thing I took from the story was that even more of the pop culture references I've seen over the years actually makes sense now.  For instance..... Jewbilee!!

But yeah, those visuals.  Outdated as some of the sequences look, you've gotta admire and respect the filmmaking artistry on display.  True, the straight up CG-rendered scenes now look like early previs mock-ups of a modern day film, but the special effects integrated into the live-action stuff is pretty amazing.  I was gobsmacked at the way they were able to pull off the digitizing laser shooting Flynn into The Grid.  That backlit animation technique they used for the ever present neon lights and circuitry is astounding, and I constantly caught myself saying, "How'd they do that?" whenever the cameras rotated and craned up and down.  As Jay says, the film was undoubtedly before its time; I'd love to leap back to the 80s, and tell my younger self to watch it then and there.  I think she.... um, I, would've had my mind blown. 

That said, I believe Tron is practically begging to see a modernized retelling.  The original features one big setpiece after another, from the jai-alai disc war game, the light cycle chase, the ride on the Recognizer, the Solar Sailer's final destination to the MCP, and finally to the dual with Sark.  Even if Legacy ends up being a total rehash of all these action sequences, gussied up with today's tech, I'd be totally game.  Let's just hope the final end product doesn't derezz our hopes for an awesome cinematic experience.

So, I'm now officially ready for Legacy.  I'm enjoying the ever loving crud out of the new Daft Punk soundtrack, which I'll speak more of soon.

Jay Dec 13, 2010 (edited Dec 13, 2010)

ingYeah, the digitising sequence was pretty amazing. A large amount of the animation was hand-drawn, which makes it all the more amazing in places. It's a fantastic looking film.

I watched it again the other day, in preparation for Legacy (was hoping to scrounge up tickets for my local premiere but failed miserably). I do love Tron. It does feel like a slightly failed masterpiece though and I put that down mostly to the pacing. As you say, Angela, the main story is actually very simple and it's funny you say that about the plot synopses sounding more complicated. I find the further I am from having actually watched the movie, the more my head seems to add to it (if that makes any sense!). I read a lot into the movie that, when I watch it again, I find really isn't actually there.

It's simple.

And yet the opening is convoluted and tries to get an incredible amount across before settling into that simple story. I feel it was probably a mistake to show the computer world at all before Flynn ends up in it. We needed to know those people first.

I also felt that many of those set pieces are amazing but don't quite have the emotion or tention they should have. I think that's down mostly to the editing and the score. The score is a really interesting work but I think it fails in many places to really contribute to the scenes.

I suspect someone could take Tron, re-edit and rescore it and make a far better movie.

But nevertheless, I love it. I love the world, the characters, the whole idea of how the programmes work within the computer. And I love that my mind seems to latch on to the ideas and add to them while I'm not watching it.

At this stage, I couldn't be more hyped for the sequel. The Daft Punk soundtrack is stunning and I've had it on repeat since I got it. Came with a great poster too that I have framed and stuck up. Only a few more days before I get to see the actual movie...

Angela Dec 14, 2010

Jay wrote:

The Daft Punk soundtrack is stunning and I've had it on repeat since I got it. Came with a great poster too that I have framed and stuck up.

Which release did you end up getting?  Myself, I picked up the CD release over here in the States, and bought up the two additional tracks featured on the iTunes version.  At that point, I didn't hesitate to download the remaining songs featured on the international limited edition and Amazon through file sharing means. 

It's shameful how Disney is hoodwinking the consumer by spreading the score out over this many releases.  And they're not just bonus-centric throwaways like outtakes or alternate versions, either; they're tracks that's actually pivotal to the core soundtrack.

Jay Dec 14, 2010

I got the 2-CD set that was released over here, from the official site. I totally agree that splitting the OST like that is shameful, especially when they release a 2-CD version. There is no reason why that shouldn't have the entire score and, to be honest, I was expecting it to be complete.

And just about everyone who knows about it is likely to simply complete their OST the same way you did so it's not going to result in a spike of sales. Not for digital exclusives. And people shouldn't have to complete it that way.

Still, that aside, it's an amazing soundtrack. The mix of electronic and orchestra works beautifully. It's not all that Daft Punk-like so I can see some die-hard fans who were expecting a Daft Punk album being disappointed, but I love it. It's part Tangerine Dream, part Hans Zimmer, plenty of Harry Gregson-Williams (especially when Hybrid worked with his stuff). It's big and it's cool and it's powerful.

On a semi-related note, I've been doing a little tribute to Tron over at my zombies site. Just one more to go -

Jay Dec 17, 2010

Just back from Tron Legacy. It totally kicked my ass in just about every way. I loved it.

Angela Dec 18, 2010 (edited Dec 18, 2010)

Jay wrote:

Just back from Tron Legacy.

As am I.  While I don't believe I'm nearly as impassioned about the movie, it was still a pretty good time.  I'll punch up my impressions in a bit.  End of Line.

Jay Dec 18, 2010 (edited Dec 18, 2010)

Some more detailed thoughts...

Bridges was fantastic as older Kevin Flynn. Having just rewatched the original and seeing goofy, idealistic young Flynn, I thought they completely nailed who this guy would end up being at that age.

In fact I loved pretty much all the characters. I was pleasantly surprised by Sam Flynn - he didn't get a huge amount to do beyond the action but I felt he played it really well. I had heard one person compare him to Hayden Christensen in Star Wars and I think that's a really nasty unwarranted insult. This guy felt alive and he had enough charisma to carry me through. Quorra totally won me over at the dinner scene. I really liked her.

And I loved Michael Sheen's Castor. Totally over the top but in a way I just couldn't help smirking at, rather than cringing at (a fine line and some people may disagree as to where that line is). Actually, in that bit, I was sure there was going to be a twist that didn't happen. Let's see if I can remember how to hide spoilers. I was sure Gem was going to turn out to be Zeus. Didn't happen.

I was actually rather impressed with the story, mainly because I had heard some reports that there really wasn't much of one at all. I felt there was plenty going on and plenty of themes being played out (interestingly, one of them that seemed to be that software and information should be free, something I'm surprised Disney and their copyright lawyers would have wanted out there). I also loved one quite subtle element to the main story which was how Tron was weaved into the story. Having spotted his four square pattern as soon as he appeared, I knew it was him and loved how that played out. Like the original, his name was in the title, he played an important role and yet the story wasn't actually about him. Loved how Clu was handled in the story too.

And, while I'm on Clu, there's the CG Bridges. I admired their balls given just how much of him there was in the movie. To sign off on the script knowing what it called for was a brave move. Did it work? Sometimes. Not always. There were some shots I totally bought him as a person. But, quite often, he was a creepy dead CG thing. Which wasn't actually so bad in the virtual world but I felt didn't work at all in the past sections (including the virtual world flashbacks with young Flynn). I feel they could have just pulled back on him. Used the helmet more often or hidden real world young Flynn or something. So that they really just put that effort into making a few shots absolutely perfect. But still, it wasn't enough to pull me out of the movie.

One thing I adored was the tone.

This was a fun action adventure. It integrated some rather dark moments and ideas into a sort of swashbuckling romp. I don't even know what the word 'swashbuckling' really means but I hope you'll know what I'm getting at. There weren't any pirates in it though. There was plenty of humour. And not awkward, break for a joke, humour. Character humour that was weaved in perfectly. Some elements in that were even quite old-fashioned (like Clu's comedy lackey) but I felt they worked beautifully. The world went dark but the film didn't go gritty. This was no Batman. It was a Disney movie. It's fun.

So, there you go. My thoughts on Tron Legacy. After all this time, I'm so glad I enjoyed it.

Lastly, if there was one missed opportunity, I felt it was during the flashbacks to Flynn, Clu and Tron. I really would have loved to see some sort of half-way world between original Tron and this movie. Getting across an evolving digital world in the design. A small thing but I think it would have been nice.

Edit: Realised I managed to completely forget about one of the best aspects of the movie - the sound. The soundtrack was stunning. I knew I loved the music but it was a whole different experience seeing it with the visuals. The mix in particular was fantastic, with the music really being allowed to carry the scenes rather than deafening sound effects (which so often seems to be the case these days). In a way, it reminded me of Casshern in the sense that there were points where the music just washed over me and the film almost became like a huge music video. I mean that completely as a positive. And great to have a couple of '80s classics exactly where they should be. That was a real treat.

Angela Dec 18, 2010 (edited Dec 18, 2010)

I believe Tron Legacy will receive the honor of being the final movie I review in 2010 - a year, I might add, that was packed with the most number of films I've ever seen and reviewed in a single span of time.  Let's get to it.

To preface: Having played last minute catch-up with the original Tron relative to its sequel, I carry next to zero emotional or sentimental value that comes from nearly three decades of waiting.  If anything, I think I've approached Legacy not as a fan, but as a casual viewer who merely wanted to get swept up in the phenomenon.  Swept up I am, but have I become a fan?

Story-wise, there's little ground being broken here.  Like the original Tron, there's an adequate sci-fi framework in place, but when compared to envelope pushers like, say, Moon or Inception, 'adequate' is something of a poor grade by today's standards.  To be fair, there are quite a few more interesting things happening in Legacy than in the original film.  There's now an emotional presence that was lacking before, with the father/son relationship lying at the center.  Despite what others have said, I believe the relationship between Flynn and Flynn Sr. manages to resonate and stick its landing.  From a disquieting, awkward dinner conversation to the genuine bond on the bridge of the Solar Sailer, the moments shared between Kevin and Sam have believable weight to them.  Ironically, the tone of the ending is more akin to what I felt should've happened in the original movie.  Thankfully, it's not as neat and tidy, with lingering questions such as: ..... Is Kevin really dead?  Was it just the surrounding area that got obliterated, or is it the entirety of The Grid?  Is Tron alive after that fall?  What can be revived from that backup that Sam created for himself?  What impact will Quorra have in the real world?  At face value, the movie is self-contained in its resolutions, but leaves plenty to chew on for 'what-if' interpretations.  Though I was expecting one, I'm glad they chose NOT to add an epilogue coda scene after the credits.

Thematically, there's some interesting stuff happening under the hood.  Both Wilde and Bridges said as much in interviews, but there's an unmistakable religious overtone laid in the proceedings.  It's hard not to draw comparisons with terminologies like "the Creator" and "the Miracle" being bantered about, and it's easy to attach certain theological figures onto characters, especially Kevin, Clu, and Quorra.  Thankfully, it's all punctuated by the mythos of the Tron universe, so it serves to compel rather than detract.

There's something undeniably savvy about time sensitive pieces such as this.  It immerses the audience into the film a little more, allowing us to 'live out' the natural flow of time with the characters onscreen.  Toy Story 3 had its ten years, but that's nothing compared to the massive span of twenty-eight for Tron Legacy.  The demise of the arcade scenes of yesteryear, the advent of big software corporations, and the technological advances on display (Wi-Fi!)..... that's all touched upon in Legacy, and to me, that's really cool.

Though the script is a tad clunky at times, the acting is competent.  Hedlund is easy on the eyes, and he's generally good when he's not spouting out those clichéd one-liners.  I cringed from the likes of, "That can't be good", "Now this I can do", and "Enjoy the swim!"  Bridges plays up elder Flynn and the voice work for young Kevin/Clu with equal excellent measure.  "You're really messing up my Zen, man!" gives off that hint of the Flynn back in '82, and is guaranteed to get a laugh from the audience each time.  Sheen's David Bowie-esque Castor tears up the screen with his two-faced flamboyancy, and Wilde's beautiful and inquisitive Quorra is sure to win the hearts of many a male viewer with her multifaceted role as mediator, warrior, and savior.  Boxleiter's role is brief but memorable, his Alan Bradley playing father figure to Hedlund's Sam.  Also, I was pleasantly surprised by the cameo appearance of.... Cillian Murphy as Dillinger's kid -- yet another role this year where he plays the son of a major business corporation.  :)

When it comes to action, Legacy revisits most of the fan favorites, and the modern special effects gives them the opportunity to go to town here.  The disc wars are swifter and more dangerous looking; I love how there are fights outside of the Games now, and they're not just relegated to one-on-one match ups.  (The "End of Line" bar sequence is particularly noteworthy.)  The light cycles are especially thrilling, and the new sleeker effects allow the brutality of the physics to come alive.  At the same time, maybe it's because we've become so numb to today's technology that the 'wow' factor on some of the overall aesthetics simply fails to impress.  Expansive CG-rendered fantasy backdrops are a dime a dozen these days, and those big illuminating skyscraper-filled vistas don't hold a candle to the fantastic backlit animated infrastructures from the original movie.  That aforementioned digitizing laser sequence from the original manages to stick in my mind more than the entirety of the light jet dogfight sequence.  As for the facial rendering of young Bridges, it didn't really bother me.  At least it wasn't as stand-out awful as when they integrated Patrick Stewart into Wolverine last year.

I think if there was one area where everyone knew the movie would deliver, it's the sound design.  I took in an IMAX viewing, and it was worth the extra surcharge to experience the all-encompassing soundscape.  The jet engine roar of the Recognizers, the aggressive hums of light cycles and Flynn's Ducati alike, the clapping of thunder in the far-off distance, the stadium-filled cheers during the Games, the shattering of derezzed programs - and, my personal favorite, the throaty, animal-like growls that emanate from Rinzler.

Musically, I've said most of what I wanted to say in the music thread, but I believe I may in the minority who feels that the Daft Punk score was somewhat underplayed in the film itself.  Perhaps I've gotten so used to the full cues as presented on the albums that they feel more chopped up than they really are on film.  Or maybe the sound effects are so impressively aggressive that they overshadowed the musical portions in my mind.  Or maybe outside of a select few tracks, the score just wasn't as contextually effective as I was hoping it would be.  The main theme really works as a thematic foundation for the father/son relationship, "The Outlands" made for a great escape number, and the world dominating Nazi-like speech given by Clu during the menacing "Rectifier" was particularly memorable.  Everything else kind of got lost in the mix.  I agree with Jay, though: the inclusion of those '80s classics were awesome.  I've already got "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)", and I just went ahead and bought up "Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)" to integrate into my Legacy playlist. 

So, we come back to the question from the beginning: have I become a fan?  Regrettably, I'm going to have to say no.  I don't believe these to be revelatory films, and if given the choice, I can't imagine I'll ever revisit them again.  I do respect the films for what they are, though: the first a technological breakthrough in the field of cinematic special effects, and the second a hyper-realized and moderately entertaining reimagining of its predecessor.  In the end, I'm glad I watched them.

Carl Dec 18, 2010 (edited Dec 18, 2010)

I went to the theater last night and it was just good/fine but there wasn't a single OH WOW moment or anything that grabbed me or seemed extraordinary.  Sure didn't seem as fresh as Inception did.

Jay Dec 19, 2010

Worth noting that this movie, like the original, is a Disney movie and, unlike their adult fare released under Buena Vista, was a Disney movie from the moment it was announced. So while the story certainly isn't as smart as a Moon or Inception, I think you were probably wrong to expect it to in any way.

Jay Dec 19, 2010

Heh, thanks! Yes, I really should. I did all those before seeing the movie so just went with the people who made it on to the posters. I'll get a Castor done. And perhaps Rinzler too.

Adam Corn Dec 26, 2010

Here's my review blurb.  Fans of the movie be warned it ain't kind. smile

Tron Legacy is Power Rangers with glow sticks.  The opening in the real world is decent enough but the remainder in the digital realm - what should be the good part - never evolves beyond an adolescent's vision of scattering gunfire, meaningless quests, inexplicable powers and spin kicks concluded by ninja poses and one-liners.

On the plus side the early effects sequences are nice and Olivia Wilde is gorgeous as always, so if you're a sucker for eye candy then put on those 3D glasses and put in some earphones - enjoy the light show and spare yourself the dialog and storytelling.

I will agree that the allegory was a moderately interesting touch (the obvious early digs at Microsoft and the analogies to religion) but when they can't get the basic storytelling right it's hard to care about the attempts at something deeper.

Comparisons of lead actor Garrett Hedlund to Hayden Christensen in Star Wars are both fair and unfair - fair in that both are juvenile, unconvincing and annoying in their roles, unfair in that I think it has less to do with either's acting ability than it does the awful, awful direction and script they were given.  That's the story for the acting for the film in general - actors struggling as best they can with bad material but none managing to work any miracles, though I'd venture to say that Bridges and Wilde do come away unscathed.

Angela Mar 13, 2011 (edited Mar 14, 2011)

Anyone checked out the featurette preview of "The Next Day"?  It's a ten minute clip that serves as a narrative transition between the original Tron and Legacy, as well as a build-up to what may be a third film.  Very cool, and I can't wait to see the thing in its entirety.

I can't believe they got..... Dan Shor back for this!

Jay Mar 13, 2011

I'm hearing good things about it but I really want to try to hold off until the blu-ray comes out.

Angela Mar 13, 2011

Jay wrote:

I'm hearing good things about it but I really want to try to hold off until the blu-ray comes out.

In that case, do NOT highlight that little bit of white text.  Major spoiler. smile

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