I’m gonna get one thing clear and out in the open: I like 3D a lot. It’s easy to say it’s a gimmick only good for a cheap thrill when things pop out toward you or that movies are good enough, or better, flat. Every time a new big 3D picture comes out I rush to see it, hoping that it’s gonna be the one that I can rub in the face of the naysayers, showing them that 3D can stand on its own without depending on piranhas biting the audience’s face or poo jokes.
“Tron: Legacy” isn’t that movie, but it’s a great ride if you want to take it and an awesome peek at what the next generation of video games will look like.
All you nerds remember the original “Tron,” right? Well, if you missed the classic (and classically) ‘80s flick, it targeted the first generation of gamers with its awesome computer generated graphics. It’s not a bad movie, featuring a pre-“The Dude” Jeff Bridges in the lead role.
“Tron: Legacy” is for the kids like me who saw the original on VHS tapes and were underwhelmed by the “staggering” “awesomeness” of the vintage computer graphics. Any effects-driven movie will look dated as the years go on, but it’s easy to imagine how cool it must have felt watching “Tron” when it was the cutting edge, while simultaneously feeling flat with regard to its amazing cutting-edge effects.
I’m sure there’s a German word describing that feeling. Thankfully, Disney graces us with this sequel, packaged in all the flash and glory that 3D offers. I know it plays on 2D screens, but man, that’s a bummer. This movie is a three-dimensional visual effects spectacle from start to finish.
While some theatres flatten the movie, they mercifully cannot do the same for the soundtrack. Daft Punk’s score is so central to the film that they make a cameo appearance in the middle of the Grid, lending their visible presence to one of the films many visually stunning fight scenes.
As the film opens onto the grid, where the black background fades on into 3D infinity and the computer-generated white-and-orange lines glow with hallucinogenic fury, the beat drops and well, I enjoyed it. Musicians scoring films doesn’t often work, but in this case it gives the film a coherency that wouldn’t exist if the soundtrack was a mix tape of electro/club hits from 2010.
The sequel’s plot is pretty lame, but who cares. The first scenes are rushed through (thank God) so that Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) can get into the Grid as soon as possible. Then we get rushed through two of the classic “games” from the original, but with slight visual and 3D updates. Then we meet up with Jeff Bridges (very, very post-Dude) reprising his original role as Kevin Flynn and Olivia Wilde, who plays a really, really hot computer program Quorra.
Pretty much from there all that matters is that you sit back and take in the action. Honestly the plot didn’t make much sense to me, and what I could figure out was hokey (“He’s building an army!”), but I enjoyed watching it more than any other recent film.
The set design is amazing and the world it creates is a seamless blend between the digital and real. I am disappointed that the film didn’t really ask or say anything truly deep about our changing relationship to technology the way the first one did, but let’s face it, it’s a Disney movie.
Overall, I recommend this to anyone who wants a nice, mellow eyeball massage and to get excited about playing video games in 3D. It can’t be far off, and I can’t wait to play.