December 17, 2010

TRON: Legacy

The key to this movie's success is its attitude. Is this another “look at us we are so cool with our stuck-to-our-face sun glasses, that it doesn't matter how bad it is”, a la matrix? No. Is this another “we know anyone watching this must be a moron, so will just show you some shinny things and loud noises for a while”, a la pretty much everything lately? No. Legacy finds that rare sweet spot of humility and respect for the audience, that invites the viewer to let their guard down, and to loose themselves in an absurd fantasy world molded out of the latest cinematic technology.

More than a review of the movie, I really want to address the sentiments I'm reading in reviews, or more so, the lack of sentiment in most of them. Typically, everyone wanting to talk about this film will categorically address the visual effects, the music, each actor, and so on. Most of which has already been expressed ad nauseam, and can be seen by anyone watching without needing to read about it. I'll just say you should really make the effort to see this in IMAX 3D, and that while I would rate the score as “pretty good”¹, had it not been so prominent, this film might not have worked at all.

I will site only one review, and a minority positive one - the most idiosyncratic, narcissistic, yet perversely poignant write up by the “Tron Guy”. In it, he expresses how emotionally engaged he was with the piece, being moved almost to tears. If you haven't seen it, then "how and why", you might ask, could someone be that rivoted from a CGI demo reel? Counter point - If you are reading some of the web's endless stream reviews, you might ask why didn't all these folks see anything beyond visual effects?

Hard to say, maybe to relate with father son relationships, you need a father figure or to be a father? Maybe to understand the longing to find lost loved ones, you need to have lost loved ones? Perhaps to understand the obsession, abandonment, escapism, and salvation of work, you must have work that means something to you? Could it be, that to empathize with the struggle to divide time for one's work versus for one's family, you need to have walked such a line? Maybe you need to have some years with computers to ponder some of the many lessons those inanimate objects tease us with understanding about morality, the nature of the universe, of conciseness, and of the self? Has all religion been so thoroughly swept away in our culture, that even from a literary perspective, people have never heard mention of figures such as Adam and Abraham, or even an apple? Or for that matter, maybe a belief in creation is needed to contemplate certain ideas seriously? Are these reviewers so distant from human nature and history as to never connect with any allusionary reference to man's stewardship of society? Maybe the film just simply wasn't that good?

Which leads me to the only question I have after watching. How much of what I saw was actually in there, versus how much was just a projection of what it made me think about while watching it? That, if anything, I would say is the intended conclusion. You know - the mirror in the painting.

So, is this movie any good? It is only as good as you want it to be. Make no mistake, this film is ridiculus. Personally, I loved it! Oh and I also liked the War Games reference.

-Thomas Stover

¹UPDATE: This soundtrack, as an album, actually might be the best since Portishead's Third.