Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tron: Legacy - Great Visuals, Sometimes Predictable Story

Some of you may recall the original announcement of the new Tron movie. It was first teased three years ago at San Diego Comic-Con, with new information presented every year. Of course, the closer the movie got to the target release date, the more hypable material they threw at their captive audience. Having seen the original Tron, I was always wondering how exactly they would be able to follow it up. Once I began viewing the trailers and had heard the announcement that Daft Punk did the score for the movie, I got more into it. As the release date approached, I just couldn't wait any longer. The night before going to the theater, I sat through the original Tron on DVD for comparison. After coming back from my showing, I can honestly say that I absolutely loved the sequel better than I did the original.

From a visual standpoint, they improved everything greatly. Everything about the cyber world in the sequel looked more streamlined and appeared more like what it might actually look like if one were to dive in it. It was very mesmerizing to say the least, and I loved how the colors practically bounced off the surface. Design-wise, everything was very sleek, which I felt was more pleasing to the eye. Everything from the design of the iconic Light Cycles to the designs of the characters was very cool to look at, offering something that you just can't find yourself looking away from.

Likewise, the special effects really took advantage of current technology. Every computer generated object on screen, that would be most of them, moved with a lot more fluidity. I loved how everything acted with more freedom than their counterparts from the original. It really gave me a better sense that it was all happening right in front of me.

Now for the story, I have a few words of my own. I think it's safe to say that a lot of people reading this had a hard time keeping track of the stroy of the original movie. It could be challenging to figure out exactly what had just occured in the movie. In contrast, I believe the sequel was actually much easier to follow, maybe even a little too easy at times. Occasionally, I could predict what would happen later on in the movie, and be right about it. While I give the writers credit for being fairly original, there were some cliches thrown in that gave it a somewhat formulaic feel to it. This isn't neccesarily a bad thing, as I thought it might have done more good to the movie than harm. I would like to point out, though, that there were a couple of moments in the movie where I was confused. The first was when Sam Flynn picks up a Light Cycle baton from a derezzed program. I expected this to have come in handy at a later point, but it was never used, as one might expect. The other was near the end of the movie when Kevin Flynn is inexplicably abe to use an ability he had never used previously. Perhaps I shouldn't think about it too hard.

To call the soundtrack "great" would be a complete understatement. I believe Daft Punk was the perfect choice of composer for this movie, as they completely nailed the muscial score. Every moment with some kind of BGM was perfectly accentuated by their infectious beats and ability to mix with an orchestra. Sure, the music was outside their normal territory, but there is more than enough here to enjoy. I can almost guarantee that you'll walk out of the theater humming one of the songs to yourself, or at least in your head. To that end, it would be wise to purchase the soundtrack. They sometimes don't play the entirety of tracks in the movie, so buying the soundtrack would enable you to enjoy the songs as they were intended.

On a sliding scale of Flash versus Substance, I would would put the orginal at more Flash and this movie closer to the middle. The story falls a little thin at times, but is much easier to follow because of this. However, you might be hyped for the movie based on visuals alone, which is what the movie excells at. Either way, this is a movie definitely worth watching, especially in 3D.

Now to be fair, while the original was difficult to follow, it had very impressive effects and visuals for its time. This is especially impressive because it was the first movie to ever use CG. While the animations seem limited compared to today's effects, you have to really think about the limitations they had then and the fact that they were able to accomplish something despite such limitations. I think it is definitely worth checking out for the visuals alone, as well as a great view at what they believed the future might have been like from an 80's perspective.

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