I have mixed feelings about Tron Legacy. The beginning was nearly unbearable -Flynn’s son as an X-TREME prankster who steals from his dad’s old company and escapes by parachuting off the tower only to get caught again maybe five minutes later (but it’s okay, he still owns the company so they won’t prosecute) were so weird I almost felt like I was watching a spoof – ‘He’s like the old guy! But he does X-TREME parachuting! And he lives in a storage shed and drives a motorcycle!’.
But, most of my objections melted away when I saw just how damn good the new computer world looked. The designs were recognizable as the old NES-era Tron graphics but way, way, way cooler. The girls were strange but beautiful, the soldiers were much, much more intimidating with the new faceless helmets, and the lightcycles and all got a great upgrade. Especially the new flying wings, jets, and ships.
I am not usually such a sucker for special effects – see the execrable 2012, overrated Avatar, or parts of the Matrix – but this movie greated a whole world, which is something you don’t see as much these days, I think. I mean, you hear so much about Pandora, but I never thought the world building there was as impressive. Giant trees? Pretty fauna and glowing lights? OK, sure, but this was something completely different from normal life, which you don’t see as much.
I feel compelled to pick apart the plot, of course, but I almost can’t do anything with it. On one hand, you have basically nonsensical ideas such as travelling into a computer with a laser and grouchy computer programs trying to take over the world. On the other hand, you have classic stuff – the orphan boy goes into a fantasy world and finds out his dad is there and basically a good wizard (see programming powers and big white robe), that the EVIL son is in charge of everything (the truly creepy CLU), and wins the heart of the elf princess. Er, the ISO. You know.
So, a mixture of familiar cliches, utterly nonsensical science fantasy, a lot of ambition and ideas, and some truly mind-bending visuals. Worth mentioning on its own – the excellent score. Maybe the best part. Anyway, when all is said and done, I am super glad to have seen this movie, and you should too, preferably in 3D. I think it will lose a lot on the small screen. I can’t believe that it wasn’t nominated for effects (maybe this is an in-joke after they ignored the last Tron?). Oh well, and here I was complimenting the Oscars… so it goes.