If it's crap ... We'll tell you
So, I broke my almost three-month sabbatical (not intentional, mind you) and went home. I went to visit family and friends as usual, but also went to support the university that I love in an issue that's incredibly important to all of us. Of course, that's not what I'm talking about right now. What I'm talking about now is the fact that my mom and I sat down and watched a movie on Netflix. The movie we picked was the 2010 winter blockbuster Tron: Legacy. The Walt Disney production - rated PG-13, stars Garret Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Jeff Bridges, and Bruce Boxleitner. Now, I don't necessarily know if this is a bad thing or not, but I have no real familiarity with the specifics of the original Tron, so I was essentially going into this with a clean slate. I know the generalities, though; so, we'll see how it works from here.
The movie begins in 1989 with an intro featuring a young Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and his son Sam (Owen Best). Flynn was telling his son a story about how he created the universe of the Grid, with Clu as its overseer and Tron as its protector. He gets to a certain point in the story, but doesn't finish it, as he's called off for a meeting. That's the last Sam sees of his father, as he disappears shortly thereafter. Fast forward to present day, where Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is now the primary shareholder of ENCOM International, but has nothing to do with the operations of the company, only stopping by once a year to play a practical joke on the members of the board of directors. After being arrested during a spectacular escape, Sam is visited by his father's friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner). Alan tries to reel Sam in, but to no avail. He eventually mentions that he received a page from his father's old arcade, but also mentions that the phone number for the arcade has been out of service for years. Sam goes to investigate, but he inadvertently gets pulled into the Grid. There, he's assimilated into the games and comes face to face with his father's creation, Clu (Jeff Bridges). He also runs into a renegade named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) who reintroduces him to his father; who has been trapped in the Grid for decades. From here, the movie turns into a race to get Sam and Kevin back home, while defending the Grid from Clu and his forces.
So...what worked in this movie? Well, the action scenes are certainly exciting. Upon Sam's insertion in the Grid, the action starts right away. We get to see the disk wars, where programs face off against each other in gladiatorial combat. They use frisbee-type discs on their backs as projectile weapons that can ricochet off of walls and break floors. A loss in these games mean instant derezzing, which is pretty much death for them. They then move on to the most famous of the games, which is the Light Cycles. I'm not gonna explain what the Light Cycles are; if you haven't seen Tron or Tron: Legacy, look up "light cycles" on YouTube. You're welcome. They also introduce Light Jets near the end of the film. These are essentially the same as the Cycles, only bigger. I could go on and on about the battle scenes, but they speak for themselves. The acting is also pretty good at spots, especially when the actors are actually facing each other. This may seem weird, but stick with me...it's important. I especially loved Michael Sheen in his role as Castor. He's hilariously over the top, and it's a riot to watch him strut his stuff. Also, I'd be remiss if I failed to mention the soundtrack. Daft Punk really put forth an amazing effort with the score. In fact, it's one of those scores that was so good that they would've been foolish not to use it in the trailer (here's a hint: they did).
Now, as far as what didn't work, let's just say that acting off of green screen is difficult for anyone, even for the most accomplished of thespians. I'll give Jeff Bridges credit here; when he had to act off of himself, it looked good. Not very convincing, but even he has admitted that it was difficult for him to do. It also gets bogged down in the middle. It leads off with these great battles, then it comes to a screeching halt. It picks up for a scene or two before grinding to a halt once again. Finally, it speeds up in the third act, but most people would've probably gone for coffee by this point. Finally, there's the issue of Quorra. I shouldn't really have to do this, but...SPOILER! She gets yanked into the real world. None of that makes any sense, and it's never explained how she survived that. But, whatever...
After watching the movie, I tweeted the following statement:
Tron: Legacy wasn't too bad. Not great by any stretch of the imagination, but not terrible. It's interesting.
I stand by that statement. It's not a world changer at all, but it's not something I hated watching, either. It was a good time killer, and it actually tried to be a bit more interesting than the usual fare. It didn't quite hit the mark, but it didn't bomb, either. So, I'll say that it's at least three times More Epic than Love Jones. Go ahead and check it out...at least for the score alone; it can't hurt.
There are worst things to watch on a lazy day.