Monday, December 20, 2010

Movie review: Tron: Legacy

You remember how you came out of "Avatar" all oohs and ahhs and all around impressed? Then you came to realize that it's really a very old storyline excellently performed? "Tron: Legacy" is the same way. I loved it at the time. I'll probably get it on DVD. But the story isn't much more than "guy searches for his father, guy reunites with father, guy loses father" with a layer of "get into world and get out of world." If it had been about a guy going to find his father trapped inside the Soviet Union for the last 20 years it wouldn't have been as interesting.

That said, while I was in there I was thinking that "Tron: Legacy" would be for 3D TVs what "The Matrix" was for DVD players. That is, it's the movie that motivated people to make the jump to the new technology. But it's probably no more that kind of movie than "Avatar" was. I just happened to like "Tron: Legacy" better than "Avatar"

There's a definite body swapping theme to the movies that are on a grand enough scale to be considered worthy of technology jumping.

It starts and ends in a "Wizard of Oz"-like manner. It starts out 2D while in the real world, but changes to 3D once the jump has been made to the other world.

The soundtrack strongly resembles "Inception" in that it's heavily laden with "BWOOOOOOOOM! BWOOOOOOOOM!" sounds.

There are a few scenes that seemed to exist only to pay homage to the original movie. The light bike scene, while impressive, served mostly to connect "Tron: Legacy" with "Tron". Same with the disc games. Each game ended with some sort of story advancing plot point but were really there to give a reason to call the movie Tron. That said, those scenes were well done. They're visually impressive and exciting.

What's the movie about? After the events of "Tron" Flynn took control of the company Encom. After all, it had been built with software stolen from Flynn. He had a life split between the company, his son, and rebuilding the world inside the computer, The Grid, with the help of his friend Tron and a program that was a replica of Flynn called Clu. Then one day Flynn went in to The Grid and didn't come out. His son was head of Encom and an orphan to be raised by his grandparents.

Jump ahead 20 years. The kid, Sam, has a setup I rather liked down on the docks. He's still majority stockholder in Encom, but chooses not to participate in the workings of the company. He's more interested in playing pranks on them.

Then a page comes from Flynn's old office. Sam goes to investigate. When messing with Flynn's old computer (props to the writers for using actual UNIX commands) Sam gets pulled into The Grid. Sam is immediately captured, meets Clu, who now runs The Grid, and is sent to the games to die in a very "Gladiator" type way.

Naturally, Sam performs well and is helped to escape. He's taken to see his father but immediately returns to The Grid to try to break them all out.

One of the major themes in the movie is Flynn as a godlike entity. The level of religious parallels between him and Clu is debatable. It depends on what stories you've heard about "The Fall" and the actual relationship between God and Satan. Flynn manages to influence a room just by being in it. He manipulates code that resembles DNA. There's one scene where Sam is talking to a girl and in the background behind them Flynn is sitting with his legs crossed with the light beam giving him a halo and aura.

Clu is Flynn without the human element, without the ability to change. He takes the philosophy of the creator and becomes a destroyer. Similarly, he takes Sam's values of open software and data wanting to be free and plans to apply it to the world in such a way to destroy it.

I'm glad I saw this movie. I'm glad I saw it in 3D. Dunno when I'll find another movie worthy of it. I'll probably get it on DVD.

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