You may remember this article
, in which I moan about 3D movies and how I would rather drink a knife than go and see one. However, I do also say that it's the gimmick 3D movies have become which I dislike more-so than the movies themselves. If 3D has been used artistically and not as a cash cow, then that's not so bad, and it might make a good movie.
Tron Legacy is such a movie. For once I actually wanted to see a movie in 3D rather than the 2D alternative. Why? Because I could see that the world of The Grid from 1982's Tron had potential to look awesome in three dimensions. Furthermore, I trusted Disney to be careful with something as classic as Tron. And were my expectations met? They certainly were. For starters, the 3D effects are only applied to the world of The Grid and not to anything outside it, save the opening titles and their transition to the opening scene. A very nice touch, and an immediate sign that Disney were here to use 3D technology creatively.
Of course, the rare use of 3D technology isn't the only thing I want to talk about. I will move on to the film's storyline. I noticed a few parallels to the storyline of the Matrix here. There is, of course, the obvious element of humans going in and out of a computer world. Also, one character is essentially the Frenchman from The Matrix sequels: a nightclub owning computer program with the power to traffic other programs. In general, the story entails a number of cliched ideas and for that reason I would say that the storyline was one the film's weaknesses. However, it's not bad enough to destroy the film. Though an unoriginal story isn't always what we want, at least it's something easy to follow, which leaves your mind free to pay more attention to everything else in the finely crafted world of Tron Legacy. It is also worth pointing out that the last time Disney tried to give us a clever plot, we ended up with the convoluted mess that was the Pirates of the Caribbean sequels. Besides, Disney rip off fairy tales all the time, so if you say that an unoriginal story is unenjoyable, you're shooting down a good number of classics.
Something which quickly grabbed my attention was how well the world of the first Tron movie was brought forward to the twenty first century. Often when we have seen a classic brought back to the modern era, we have raised our expectations only to have the producers flush them down the toilet. However, the toilet has backed up in this one case, because watching Tron: Legacy felt like watching Tron all over again, but without ruining it. Not only have the graphics of the world of Tron been updated in such a fine and detailed way, but we see changes in the mechanics of various aspects of that world. For example, the Light Cycle is no longer restricted to one platform, literally adding a new dimension to the game. The game has changed, but you still feel as though you're watching the same game you watched in 1982*, and this goes for everything in Tron: Legacy. However, I will say that Sam Flynn's transition into The Grid is nothing compared to that of his father's in the first movie. In Tron: Legacy we see a simple fade from one world into another. Give me a laser digitizing Jeff Bridges pixel by pixel by any day. A more recent realisation of the MCP (other than South Park's portrayal of Moses) would have been cool too.
Before I finish, I wish to briefly praise the soundtrack put together by electric duo Daft Punk, who have themselves a little cameo in the nightclub mentioned above. The music they put together fits the overall atmosphere of the film really well. A friend put me onto this soundtrack before the film was released. I found myself buying the whole thing on iTunes and playing it to death before I'd even seen the film. I went to see the film with that same friend and other cinema-goers were probably frustrated by the occasional "Ohh ohh, I remember this one of the soundtrack! This is a great one! Oooh!" and other such comments.
So, in summary, this movie, though lacking a bit in story, is a delight to the eyes and the ears. It is a faithful sequel to an old classic, something which is hard to get right these days. I give this movie 8 bits out of 10.
*Well, I wasn't even born in 1982... but you get my point.