Monday 18 April 2011

Today's Review: Tron: Legacy

Ah, Tron. I say that with a hint of nostalgia, but I hadn't seen the first Tron until a few years ago, and by then it was far too dated to herald it as the crowning peak of movie technology and animation that it was when it was released. But I could see how awesome it was for a movie made in 1982, and it was pretty cool, if a bit washed out. But Tron gained a cult following, so I guess I was drawn into the fanatical realm of fandom for only having seen it once. But it turns out Tron was the movie that convinced John Lasseter of Pixar to begin to pursue computer animation, and since Pixar are the best movie company of all time, I love Tron dearly. 

So, 18 years later comes Tron: Legacy, following the trend that was quite strong last year of making sequels to movies made and set in the 80s or 90s that were made and set in 2010. Once again I mention John Lasseter, as the latest iteration of Toy Story did this and was amazing. Wall Street 2 also came out, but i've seen neither, so I only mentioned it as having three items on your list is much more effective than having two. 

At the end of Tron all was well in the strange computer world. The evil Master Control Program was defeated, Kevin Flynn was sent back to the real world and became CEO of his company. Hurrah. But as we find out in Tron: Legacy, he disappeared shortly after, leaving his son, Sam, behind to get mopey and wonder where his dad went. Until he hears word of a mysterious page from his dad's former office, goes to investigate and gets sucked into the computerised Grid, now under the control of an evil guy who looks like Jeff Bridges but rather obviously CGId to make him look younger. But then he finds his real, old looking dad, and embarks with him on a mission to save the computer world.

Yes, Jeff Bridges is back to reprise the role he played 18 years ago. Much like Toy Story 3, where all of the cast were brought back (apart from Jim Varney, who died), even the guy who voiced Andy, this shows a real commitment by Disney and Pixar alike to preserve the magic of the first movies that created the fans in the first place. Tron: Legacy is basically a big thank you to all the fans who have stuck around since the first one. The light cycles are back, the disc duels are back, everything is familiar, but updated to correspond with the technology we have nowadays.

It shows too. This movie looks amazing. It also sounds amazing, it's exciting to watch, and the soundtrack is done by Daft Punk. They also get a cameo, so that's just plain awesome. The action scenes are great, the light cycle sequence in particular, and everything that happens in this movie just feels like a faithful update of everything done in the original. It basically seems that if the original were made nowadays, this is exactly how it would look. The light cycles can make curves instead of straight lines, the disc duelling has some awesome acrobatics and effects, and the programs splatter spectacularly whenever they're derezzed. I have to say, this movie probably features the most graphic deaths i've seen from Disney. I know it's technically just programs being broken, but the bits splash across the floor like blood. Not that i'm complaining, it looks awesome. 

Many people have criticised the story of Tron: Legacy, saying that the movie is really just a special effects showcase. Well, duh. That's what the original was too. The only difference is that back then nothing like this had ever been seen, but nowadays special effects are everywhere, we're used to them, we start looking for stories and great acting to justify us sitting through two hours of bright lights and explosions. But Tron is about a world inside a computer where people equipped with bright lights throw thing equipped with bright lights at each other that make them explode. There's not really much of a story that can be made from that, but I quite enjoyed the story of Legacy myself. It certainly wasn't amazing, but this is a sequel to Tron, I only came to see lights and explosions. As it stands, this is a perfectly faithful sequel, and it really seems like it was made for the fans instead of just the money. 

My rating: 4/5

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