Sunday, December 19, 2010

Tron: Legacy

I feel a great sense of both pride and alienation because of where I fall in my generation. Growing up I was exposed to awesome old movies like TRON, Flash Gordon, Conan, and the like. I remember them all with a feeling of nostalgia. Compared to my peers I feel that my childhood was awesome. My dad was a Trekker and a member of the KISS Army. Because of him I was exposed to awesome Science Fiction not just from the 80s but from the start. One of my favorite TV shows is the original Star Trek series and my two favorite movies are Flash Gordon and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. This is just a roundabout way of saying I'm a geek and damn proud of it.
As for the alienation, it seems that there aren't many others in my age group with this same upbringing of Star Trek, D&D, comic books and video games. Most of my peers I've been around have no knowledge of the awesome 80s movies, and music I grew up with. (Which is why I make it my sworn duty to educate people) I feel like I'm in a generation gap some times. I hang around with people older than me, because I feel more akin to them, when I talk to people my age or younger and find out they have no idea what I'm talking about I have to face palm... but enough about me.

While the original Tron came out before I was born, I was exposed to it because of my dad. We had it on VHS tape, and I would watch it along with Star Trek, Flash Gordon, Heavy Metal, and Robo Jox. I loved Science Fiction, and when I heard they were making a sequel to Tron, I freaked. Finally!

My dad and sister joined me at the theater where we saw the movie in 3d. But first we sat through 30 solid minutes of trailers. I know people joke about trailers , but it was seriously 30 minutes. There was a group of 3+ minute long trailers then there was the "please put on your 3d glasses" screen, followed by another group of 3+ minute long trailers. And finally, the movie began with possibly the best opening logo for Disney ever.

The movie itself, while have a paper thin and (frankly) predictable story, had awesome effects, superb acting, and a pumping soundtrack fitting for the mood. Everything had an 80s feel, from the source music in certain scenes, and the hammy (yet not over the top) acting. In one scene, Sam Flynn (Kevin Flynn's son) turns on the power in the arcade from the first movie. As the lights blink on, the dozens of games come to life echoing with the familiar jingles and sounds. But that's not where my geekout began. In the opening scene we see the original Tron poster on Sam's wall. Boom. Right from the get-go I was exploding with nostalgia.
And of course this movie is full of nostalgic moments for sci-fi fans. Disc battles, lightcycle battles, familiar sights, sounds, and... Bruce Boxlietner. Oh, yes Bruce Boxlietner reprises his role as Tron from the original. Oh...hell...yes! The look and feel of the movie (to me) had a sleek cyber punk look. Cyber punk being my favorite subgenre of Sci-Fi, I loved that. The costumes were great, the atmosphere was awe-inspiring, and the action was fun to watch.

Now before I seem like there was nothing at all to complain about, let me talk about what I saw as negatives.

There's barely any Bruce Boxleitner. He reprises his role as Tron, but only in brief flash back scenes. The computer generated face on younger Jeff Bridges(Kevin Flynn) is starkly noticeable. The plot is predictable; in my first screening I was literally able to speak the next lines of dialogue before the on screen actors did. Characters are set up, but then never seen nor heard from again. near the beginning we are introduced to the Encom board of directors who have ruined (gone in a completely selfish direction with) Flynn's company; among them is a smug programmer who really seems to be made out to be a great antagonist for Sam.... never seen again. And the plot revolves around the possibility that the villain, a digital copy of Kevin Flynn is bent on crossing into the real world and taking over. This (to me) raises the obvious question of how a digital being can exist in the real world (you know, without a projector or connection to the internet) We're just to assume it's possible with flynn's data disc. No explanation is given. There is a pretty thick analog for Kevin Flynn being God; he's called "the creator" and Sam (his son) arriving to save the world from CLU (the evil version of Flynn) some of this I don't mind, because technically Flynn did create (or at least laid the building blocks of) the Grid.

But I loved Tron: Legacy. I highly recommend seeing it. It is a fun ride from beginning to end (there's not much suspense, as I said it's predictable) The graphics are amazing, the acting is supurb, and it pays tribute to the original in so many ways. Finally a belated sequel worth seeing. Plus Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxlietner!

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