Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Tron: Legacy

Thanks to the good folks at Philips Norelco, my wife and I were able to attend a sneak preview of Tron: Legacy tonight. Only this wasn't any ordinary sneak peek. No, this was held at the IMAX Theater at the Minnesota Zoo. In 3D, even! We weren't allowed to bring in cellphones. We had to be security wanded by dour faced gents. And then we got to munch free popcorn in a spacious auditorium to see the sequel close to thirty years in the making!

The movie starts with Flynn, the hero of the first movie, telling wild tales to his son, Sam, about Tron and Clu, his friends on the computerized grid. And then Flynn disappears for fifteen years or so. His son grows up, bitter and angry at Encom, his dad's company. Apparently the company has gone in a direction that Flynn wouldn't have approved of.

A mysterious message draws Sam to Flynn's old arcade, where he is sucked into "the Grid," a cyberworld his dad created. Now Sam has to survive the games, find his father, and escape from that dystopian neon world.

So let's talk story and characters first. In that regard, Tron: Legacy is a hot mess. The initial clash with Encom basically has nothing to do with the story going on in the Grid. And the story in the Grid is sort of nonsensical, having to do with Flynn inventing . . . well, I'm not sure what the Grid is supposed to be. The Internet? Internet 3.0? Some sort of cyber-dealie that will somehow make the world a better place by being flashy and shiny? I have no idea. Apparently Flynn made some sort of discovery that will shake the world to its core. It'll change everything about computers and religion and economics and all that stuff. But here's the thing: they never explain how. Even when the massive change-the-world event happens, it's not really that big of a deal.

More problematic is the sheer predictability of the plot. Every "surprise twist" is telegraphed to the point that you can guess what will happen. At least, I saw most of them coming, especially when it came to Rinzler and Quorra.

But hey, let's be honest here. I didn't go to this movie for the plot and, I suspect, neither will most people. So let's talk visual effects.

Stunning. Mind-melting. Really cool.

Thankfully the world of the Grid is not the bleached out blue-white of the original. There are some pretty vibrant scenery to enjoy and the whole thing popped to life in the 3D. Thankfully, the 3D was not too overwhelming or cheesy. Instead it seemed to be used to add depth and texture to the world. My only gripe was the fact that I had to lock my head into one position for the entire movie. Swivel my head just a little bit and the screen would go out of focus, ruining the effect.

So all in all, I'd say go if you're willing to spring for the 3D. Otherwise, you probably won't be missing much.

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