Monday, December 13, 2010

Something old, something new, something borrowed, something Tron Legacy...

So it's been twenty-eight years, was the wait worthwhile for the sequel, does the new Tron movie live up to its legacy? The answer is yes and no.
Tron Legacy movie poster
Tron: Legacy is worlds apart from its predecessor in terms of special effects, costume design and action, but there's something missing from Disney's latest live-action movie. Whilst leaps and bounds ahead of Disney's Prince of Persia andThe Sorcerer's Apprentice, although Tron: Legacy looks visually amazing, I felt it was a bit hollow, with a simple story and lots of sci-fi elements we've seen before.

at ArcLight Sherman Oaks
Tron Legacy movie costume and prop exhibit
The good news is that it takes its cult heritage and makes it cool again, with fantastic looking light-suits and vehicles, a fully realised digital neon world and funky Daft Punk soundtrack.
Tron Legacy Lightcycle poster
So the old and new work in harmony to produce some spectacular results, but there are also some misfires. To be immersed in the dark world of Tron for so long without visual relief is a bit taxing on the eye.

The overly simplistic story, which is basically get from point A to point B, to stop X, is very formulaic and at times I gasped to see so much influence from iconic sci-fi fare like Star Wars and Blade Runner. Maybe these were homages, but they also felt too derivative and unoriginal.
Tron Legacy Lightcycle film billboard
In fact, the creator of the Tron world, 'Kevin Flynn' (played by Jeff Bridges), is reintroduced almost so zen he's this short of being Obi-Wan Kenobi (especially in that flowing cloak).
Jeff Bridges Tron Legacy poster
I also had a bit of a problem with Flynn's son, 'Sam' (played by Garrett Hedlund), who is lured to the digital world to find his father. His character at the start of the movie isn't particularly sympathetic. He's cocky, arrogant and not particularly likable. Luckily he's easy on the eye.
Tron Legacy dueling Lightcycle billboard
The blame's not all Garrett Hedlund's, as he's not really given that much to do plot wise and the scenes with his father seem to especially lack any emotion or heart.
Garrett Hedlund Tron Legacy poster
Olivia Wilde's 'Quorra' is a plucky warrior program, but beyond this her character doesn't really get much development either and just seems to be there as a potential love interest.

Gem Tron Legacy Siren costume
I think I was so looking forward to Tron: Legacy and almost three years of marketing hype, that the finished movie was just a bit underwhelming (and I'm a real sci-fi fan).
Tron Legacy Lightrunner billboard
Granted the 'Benjamin Button' effects to create a younger Jeff Bridge to play the evil program 'Clu' is impressive, but sadly his evil plan isn't particularly sophisticated and it's nothing we've not seen before.

Lightcylce replica Tron Legacy
Michael Sheen as ever lights up the screen as the duplicitous 'Castor', but none of the characters feel like they have that much meat on their bones.

Also even though time is ticking until Clu's nefarious plan is realised, there's a lot of time spent in the movie talking, lots of exposition to explain to audiences what's going and it just messes up the pacing of the movie, losing any sense of immediacy or real peril.
Quorra Tron Legacy poster
I know it sounds like I didn't enjoy the movie. It was entertaining and watchable, but it didn't blow me away. I feel guilty saying it as I'm sure this was someone's passion for the last few years, but ultimately it felt a bit mediocre and although original for a Disney movie, certainly wasn't the high concept, fresh approach of an Inception.

I give Tron: Legacy four **** stars, more for visual spectacle and effort (and the fact that I love the genre), than for solid storytelling.
Tron Legacy poster
If Tron returns for another sequel it needs a much cleverer and complex story, more heart and emotional connection, and maybe to take a few more risks.

I look forward to seeing how it's received by audiences, only time and the box office will tell...

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails