Monday, December 27, 2010

Nitpickery -- Tron Legacy

Hey y'all.  I really wanted to see the next Narnia movie, but I ended up seeing Tron Legacy instead.  I thought I would review it while it's fresher in my mind.  I saw it with my boyfriend, so that gives it a boost. 

Notedly, I don't know the Tron universe.  I did see at least parts of Tron as a kid, but I don't remember anything significant about it.  You might think that it would be better if I was familiar with the older universe for the purposes of this review, and that might be so.  Thing is, you so rarely get a chance to see a review from someone unfamiliar with the universe of the movie in question.  If it's a sequel or remake of a movie, that is.  Ones from books, like Lord of the Rings, are pretty common. 

Anyway, first I'll give my spoiler-free review, and after that I'll get into my nitpickery.

So, this movie was a glut of digital madness and shiny glee, without much to do with logic, plot, or character development.  The acting was meh for the most part, and the script was terrible.  If you like shiny things, relentless action, and don't really give a crap about plot, you'll like this movie.  It doesn't really explain too much to newcomers, but if the plot had been better it wouldn't have been such an issue. 

The visuals were interesting, very good actually.  The CLU character didn't really look that great, but other than that it was good.  I especially liked Flynn's home in the digital world.  And that's my compliment. 

Cora (I'm sure her name was spelled differently, but that's what it sounds like) actually was a great character.  To look at her in the posters, she seemed like a feminist stereotype, but she wasn't actually that bad.  Her naiivety was entertaining, and if they had gone deeper into her character it would have been cool.  As it was, she sort of reminded me of that chick in the Fifth Element, in a negative way.  Just the way the plot treats her -- strong when the script needs it, and weak in the next bit.  Weird.  Anyway, ironically enough, even though she's a digital being, she seemed the most human out of everyone in the dang movie.  So yeah, Olivia Wilde gets my vote for the best actress in the movie.

So yeah, this movie is good if you're bored and want to watch shiny things and listen to Daft Punk.  Don't expect anything deep, original, or logical.  You won't remember it tomorrow. 

3.5 out of 10.

Nitpickery time!  Spoilers abide!  Actually, reading the spoilers won't really hurt the movie for you.  The plot isn't that enjoyable, and when they tell you what's really going on you don't really care in the end.

Summary: Sam Flynn's father, the creator of the digital world, has been missing for years, and his father's friend gets a beep from him on his pager.  Sam goes back to the old arcade and gets sucked into the digital world too, where he goes on a mission to get his dad out of the digital world.

First of all, this movie starts off with a bit about Sam Flynn going into the company he is the primary shareholder for and sabotaging a piece of software by putting it out on the internet for free instead of charging for it.  Trite, trite, trite.  One, his company needs to make money somehow, and two, they treat this as they would very typically in any generic movie.  Sam is the generic rebel sticking it to the generic corporation whose generic management is generically greedy.  Gee, great stuff, no?  Ain't it swell?

After this, Sam proceeds to jump off a building with only a parachute, which he opens far too close to the ground.  He would have died.  Parachutes don't open as fast as you think they do, and even then people who open theirs high enough still risk leg injury. 

Fun fact: this one dude named Dr. Christmas once said he could make an airplane out of wood.  Both times he built a prototype and sent out a pilot to test it, the plane broke down at a high enough level to kill the pilot, but not high enough for parachutes to work.  You think the second pilot would have been a little more skeptical.  Not that that's relevant to the movie, but hey, it's something you can tell your friends and sound smart.

Once Sam lands, it's on top of a taxi.  Note that the driver is more concerned about collecting a fee for the ride rather than if Sam is hurt (if he's a nice guy), if his taxi is damaged (if he's more selfish), or simply freak out because a dang body landed on his car.  What's that mess?

So....the old arcade that his dad used to own isn't torn down and replaced with something else?  How quaint.  It's only been empty over twenty years.  Yeah.

Okay, so the kid gets sucked into the digital world.  At one point he and this other strange program get assigned to play in the games, the games of course being the things that they played in the original Tron movie.  Thing is, that other program jumped into a pit and killed itself.  If the worst thing that can happen to you in the games is that you die, why bother with suicide?  Is this less painful than death by one of the glowy rings?  Maybe the program just fell into the pit by accident and I'm nuts.

One of the plot points in this movie was that CLU was secretly stealing programs and making them join his army he was going to use to unleash against the real world.  This was very much unnecessary.  First of all, if you need them for your secret army, why have them die in the games?  The movie made it clear that CLU couldn't make more.  Also, if you're going to reprogram the programs to make them do what you want, why bother giving them the motivational speech at the end?  Couldn't you just use them without it?  How did he know none of the other programs actually wanted to go to the real world?

I also found it weird that no one in the digital world seemed to care that the portal to the outside world was open.  Wouldn't it be a huge indicator that a user was back?  Something?  Does it mean anything to them?  No?

Michael Sheen was actually pretty interesting as Castor/Zuse, though as it wore on he got a bit annoying.  Not a lot, though.  The real problem with his character is that Castor was capable of being a lot, and yet they played him as a bit stereotype and killed him too soon. 

Another wasted character is Tron himself, and I personally have no clue why they name a movie after a guy and then make him a bit character with practically no lines nor understanding of his motivations.  I mean, he's been following CLU a long time and is a quote unquote baddie, and after two seconds of seeing his creator changes his mind and betrays CLU for no real reason.  Note that at this point Tron and Flynn are flying in separate aircraft, and Flynn happens to say a couple of words as if Tron could hear him.  Then Tron decides he doesn't like the bad guy thing after all.  Lame.

So Sam and Cora make it back to the real world and Sam's father dies, destroying CLU and the digital city in the meantime.  There's some chip thing around Sam's neck that implies the city or something can be rebuilt, but yeah, the death of Kevin Flynn feels very cheap, and the movie ends on an odd note with some "change the world" bullcrap and no means by which to achieve this world change.

All in all, this movie is a poser.  I know you're going to think that I'm the most pretentious thing ever for saying that I don't like this movie.  You'll say that I'm taking it too seriously and need to relax.  However, I would like to point out that just because something is ridiculous doesn't mean I don't like it.  For example, I'm a fan of the very silly Mystery Science Theater 3000, and one of my all time favorite movies is Madame Blueberry, a children's movie about talking and singing veggies.  The thing about MST3K and Madame Blueberry is that they don't pretend to be anything more than they are.  Their substance is enjoyable all on its own, without trying too hard to be fun and good.

Tron: Legacy pretends to be good, entertaining, and stylish.  It's fine to look at and listen to, but there's hardly anything here.  You'd be better off watching something else.  Well, I dunno, maybe you just like shiny stuff.  No shame in that.

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