Friday, March 11, 2011

Tron: Legacy

Alternate Title:  Abort.  Retry.  Ignore.

One sentence synopsis:  The son of the original Flynn goes back into the world of Tron to find his missing father.

Things Havoc liked:  I love Jeff Bridges, and I love Bruce Boxleitner. Seeing them in this film, even if Boxleitner wasn't used near enough, was fun for me, I have to admit. Boxleitner was almost unrecognizable to me, in fact for a second, I thought he was Rutger Hauer. As to Bridges, I have to admit, the age-reducing technology they used in this film was nigh-flawless. I was impressed when this stuff was rolled out back in X-men 3, but this time around I literally couldn't see any problems.

The movie does hit the notes that a sci fi action movie absolutely has to. The graphics were good, not great but good, and the soundtrack did rock, I have to say. I wasn't wild about some of the stylistic decisions made, I thought much of what was going on felt way to analogue for a Tron movie (Tron movies are supposed to be somewhat sterile, in my opinion), but it wasn't terribly distracting.

Things Havoc disliked:   You know you're in trouble when that's all I have to say for the good stuff.

The writing in this film was terrible, worse by far than the original, worse even by the standards of dumb action flicks. Every line grated, every piece of exposition was a clunker. I could almost picture the smug face of the "writer" behind this thing as he wrote the plodding, stupid sentences that he made his characters recite. The plot would be stupid if it weren't completely nonexistent. The original Tron was no Shakespeare, but it was innovative in many ways, and gained a cult following for a reason. This movie has no system of thought involved in its creation, an excuse to give us action scenes with bouncing disks and light cycles. You would think that a movie about entering into computer networks made in 2011 would have something to say about the minor alterations that have happened in the world of computers in the last twenty five years. Apparently you would think wrong.

But you know what? I get it. This is not supposed to be some kind of overwrought Matrixy philosophy movie, it's an action movie, right? Nerds like me need to stop whining on the internet about how it's "letting down the original" and just enjoy the action, right?

Okay, then answer me this, why does the action suck?

Oh BOY does it suck. The action in the first film was miles better than this crap. Needlessly complicated wire fu jiu-jitsu bullshit on the melee fighting, none of which is filmed with artistry, competency, or even real interest. Normally I get up in arms when someone uses Shaky-cam to completely obscure the action scene they have lovingly wrought, but there's no shaky-cam to blame it on this time. The action here sucks completely on its own bullshit merits. There's no sense of pacing to the fights, no cleverness, no spectacle, not even any moments of "awesome". It's nothing but boring, routine bullshit, not even to the level of gratuitously vapid spectacle action as in Equilibrium or Hitman. I've literally never seen action scenes this lifeless. They simply happen and are over and done with.

The lightcycles are particularly terrible. No, I don't mind that they shook the formula up a bit with a 3D grid, that's not the point. As with the melee fighting it has no sense of drama or mystery to it. It's simply a series of events that occur and then are over. Not even the participants seem to give a shit. Moreover, and I truly am at a loss as to how you can screw this up, Light Cycles are supposed to feel like a video game. There's a certain quality to the original that feels very gamelike, perhaps it's ineffable, I don't know. This version feels like stupid action tricks. I was bored to tears in even the "biggest" action scenes.

Finally, a word, please, on 3D. I have seen, to date, precisely one movie that warranted 3D, and that movie was the IMAX version of Avatar. Say what you will about Avatar's recycled plot and stupid characters, it was a spectacle to behold. Tron's 3D makes the film worse in every way. It makes the film murkier and harder to see, costs you the focus in even middle-foreground, and does nothing except distract from the movie itself. I actually took my glasses off about two thirds of the way through the movie and watched it, to greater effect, with my unaided eyes. This was nothing more than an attempt to extort four more dollars out of the viewing public.

Final thoughts:   Oh this movie is bad. Oh it is bad. The plot is absurd, the characters and action boring, the leads, male and female both, instantly forgettable and stupid. Jeff Bridges' original protagonist in the first movie was a nerd who was irreverent and interesting. This guy is as plain as paste and twice as boring. I could not wait for this damnable thing to end so that I could get up and leave the theater. I thought that at the very least, this movie would be an enjoyable mindless action film. One out of three ain't bad, I guess

Final Score:  2/10

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