Friday, December 17, 2010

JAFFA JURY: TRON Legacy Review

"Change the scheme! Alter the mood! Electrify the boys and girls if you'd be so kind" 

The original TRON left me with a bad case of 'Wow'. A video game that actually sucks you in (not just your quarters) and throws you into a stylised world where laser cycles race, Frisbees obliterate targets and a giant head looms menacingly in a way MODOK never could. Heck, I even brought the matching read-a-long cassette (yes folks cassette)!

Nowadays while in hindsight the original can seem like a bit of an 80’s I.T. industry wet-dream, I was really looking forward to the highly-hyped Hollywood franchise reinstall that is TRON LEGACY. Now having seen it, I feel like I just watched a file slowly download. One that didn’t completely crash my system, but when it opened it wasn’t what I hoped it would be.

Over twenty movie years on from the timeline of the original TRON and Sam Flynn is a real-life virus for his absent father’s technological empire. When a mysterious page sends the rebel without a cause to explore an abandoned warehouse, he finds himself sucked into The Grid, a high-tech, illuminated world of his father’s creation, and one where his long-lost father still resides.

Not that the family reunion is that quick or easy. Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) now lives in fear of another of his own creations, Clu (also played out by a digitally botoxed Bridges) who is intent on building the perfect system inline with his prime directive, and then hacking into the real world and installing the same agenda. All he needs is Kevin’s Frisbee/memory disk to do it, for if Kevin is the creator, his disk contains the knowledge of God.

As the plot makes it sound it’s a decent Sci-Fi set-up, but not one that really pushes itself into new ground. In the years since the original, our own world is more tech advanced (especially Hollywood), and TRON Legacy falls by not separating itself that far from our i-generation, let alone feel as advanced as fellow fantasy meets philosophy flicks like Avatar, The Matrix or even Speed Racer.

The visual design of the world however is beyond outstanding, as are the martial arts skills of Anis Cheurfa as Rinzler – Ray Park watchout – this guy is on your tail!

Anis aside, the majority of the rest of the cast add to the drag effect, seemingly more set to ‘cruise control’ than grabbing their roles and making their respective characters come alive.

This is highlighted by Michael Sheen's role as cane-swinging owner of the obligatory neutral ground nightspot, Castor. An insane mix of Willy Wonka and Ziggy Stardust, he reminds the audience what a difference that little bit more effort makes and hopefully manages to resurface in any one of the presumably multi-planned sequels.

Not surprisingly, the other highnote is the soundtrack by French artists Daft Punk (who are the DJ’s in said nightspot). Their techno beats set the atmosphere for the fantasy realm like the original never could.

The philosophy in TRON Legacy is described as “biodigital jazz, man” and while the film doesn’t exactly fall flat, for fans with high hopes it will more likely give you the biodigital blues. In 3D.


3 comments:

  1. mmmmm i'm not sure what to glean from this review Dan. i'll just have to get back to ya after i see it myself mate.

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  2. Thanks Dan. I can wait to see it on DVD.

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  3. No worries Craig!

    David you've been coming here long enough to know I don't do reviews with plot spoilers for movies, comics or anything :D It's not my place to wreck the fun and suprises for you or any other IADW guest, whose about to fork out your hard earned cash for something you've been looking forward too.

    Any readers out there who have seen the film feel free to let me know what you thought too (including you Craig after the DVD release). Will be great to hear from you!

    Thanks for the comments folks!

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