Sunday, May 01, 2011

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Sam Flynn is the son of Kevin Flynn, the CEO of ENCOM and a genius with computers. Over 20 years ago Kevin disappeared and hasn’t been seen since. Sam was left an orphan with a controlling interest in his father's company but cares little for the legacy left behind. One day, his father’s old business partner, Alan Bradley is paged from Kevin’s office even though the building’s been closed since his disappearance. When Sam goes to investigate he gets pulled into another world with a dark and unfamiliar landscape. He’s captured by an unknown group of masked men and forced to participate in what I can only call Gladiator 2.0 with frisbees. Confronted by a man who looks exactly like his father but calls himself Clu, Sam must use his wits to survive and discover what really happened to his father

I'd never seen the original "Tron" so I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it involved going into a computer with programs and users. I even watched the trailer for the original to get an idea of where this series began. I know technology has come a long way since then but it was almost cringe-worthy. I think we're quite spoiled with CGI nowadays. I even look back at "Toy Story" compared to "Toy Story 3". The difference is startling.

Visually this movie is stunning. The effect of the costuming and use of technology to create and enhance the set really stands out in the CG environment. It would have been great if the director had taken advantage of the play of light and shadow as the movie takes place entirely at night. With a lack of contrast and colour I felt they could have played up other elements such as cinematography. It was a lost opportunity to me. The set design has a retro-mod feel but definitely an alien look to it that a viewer wouldn't be able to place in any one era, a very stylized idea of what life inside a computer might look like.

The story though is the weak link in what would otherwise have been an amazing film. And it's unfortunate because a movie rests on the strength of its story. The plot promises more than it delivers. There's a build up when we learn that Kevin Flynn claimed to have discovered something that would change history, science and religion right before he disappeared. What we're left with doesn't focus on this discovery but instead on a deadly set of games, a scene in a nightclub and a series of fights. I enjoyed the movie but there was so much material and potential to work with in this new world that was never addressed. Only at the very end are viewers given a glimpse of what the movie could have focused on.

The standout winner of this movie is Daft Punk though. Their score really creates an atmosphere of believability and lends itself to the environment. The ending is somewhat open ended and there's already confirmation of another movie in the works. I can only hope the next movie will address the issues brought up and promised by Kevin Flynn. But I have a feeling these issues would be far too ambiguous to make for a popular blockbuster.

Rating: 3/5

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