I've been trying to write a Tron Legacy review and it's been so hard, there's so many ways I could do this: Do I go into detail about how I've dug Tron since I saw it in the theater when I was five? Do I tell about watching Tron with Blake and Cory over Thanksgiving? Do I just go into a bullet point list of things I liked/didn't like? What do I do? What do I do?
How about I just say this: I went into Tron Legacy with non-expectations, I saw a movie that was sometimes exciting, sometimes cool, but most of the time just left me saying "What just happened?" or "Why did they just do that?" And those are the two questions I least want to be asking about a movie! I'm like the number one person to give a genre movie permission to be confusing or convoluted as long as it keeps entertaining me, but as much as I hate to have to say it, so much of Tron Legacy, I just didn't get it . . . not so much meaning I needed what happened on screen to be explained to me, but I wanted the behind the scenes decision making process that lead to what I just saw on screen explained to me. Know what I mean?
Or, in fewer words: Tron Legacy was kind of whack if not just very, very "ehhh."
Bullet point items:
- The plot progression was kind of exactly the same as the original Tron's, did you notice that? In some ways this wasn't so much a sequel as a remake. Son of Flynn has Encom issues, Son of Flynn gets sucked into computer, put in a disc fight, then put in a light cycle fight, busts out of the light cycle arena, goes where the badguys can't get him, learns about the world, meets people, winds up on a Solar Sailer headed for an energy beam, confrontation occurs on the way to the beam, confrontation occurs at the beam, Son of Flynn goes up the beam back to the real world.
- That said, and I don't want to be the Comic Book Guy fanboy purist, but so much happened that had me saying "That ain't Tron." With so many nods to and riffs on the original, why did they leave out some of the best stuff LIKE showing Flynn get digitized and descending into the computer world? Or, seriously, why didn't they use the original Light Cycle boot-up sound effect? Do you know how much more on board I'd have been with that Light Cycle fight if I had heard that noise? And the old light cycle gear shifting sound? And the feel of this new Tron world, I didn't like how real it was, how physical things were. That the programs held some bar, like an actual bar, and this created their light cycle or light jet . . . I like my light cycles and light jets to come from light. Or when Son of Flynn is getting outfitted in his computer world get up, I didn't like that it came from drawers and was worn, I like to think of the programs' outfits being as much a part of them as their faces, you know?
- Speaking of faces! Do you realize that three times this movie plays the "Ooh, who's behind the helmet?! What's the surprise identity going to be?" game with us/on us three times? Three major characters appear with dark helmets on so we have to be all "Oh, who is this mystery person going to be? What plot twist is about to be twisted on me?"
- And, ugh, how do I not be all spoilery . . . third secret helmet identity person, could there have been any less payoff from having their identity revealed? Could a pivotal character played any less pivotal a roll?
- Don't know if I liked the Ziggy Stardust bar owner guy. Which means I probably didn't like the Ziggy Stardust bar owner. Wait! He had a secret identity, too, didn't he? In a way, wasn't he our fourth helmet?
- Okay, what I definitely did like was that there were twists and surprises and sequences I didn't know about at all, that totally surprised me. I only watched the trailers, though. Didn't read any articles or reviews. But to its credit, stuff popped up that I wasn't expecting.
- Daft Punk cameo: Odd. Daft Punk score: Sufficient, the IMAX soundsystem was great, would have liked it even louder. Many of the songs reminded me of Brainwasher from Human After All.
- Returning to Light Cycles: How do I say this? They didn't seem as fast as the originals. And I prefer my light cycles to only be able to make ninety degree turns. However, when the Rinzler and his posse rolled up for the second round of light cycling, I liked that, it was cool.
- Re:Light Cycles not being constrained to right angles and perhaps a metaphor for the whole movie: This is how the new light cycle battle made me feel: When the Nintendo 64 came out all the games were suddenly 3D and I couldn't stand them, I just wanted to play a side-scroller, a beautiful side-scroller, I didn't want this new dimension. Watching the new light cycle, I felt like I was dealing with the N64 when all I needed was an NES.
- So maybe the conclusion is . . . I've already got my Tron movie, it's called Tron. And if my nephew and all his friends loved Tron Legacy, then I'm so glad for them. I don't want to be a hater, I want this to be fresh, but I can't be a liar. So if it's fresh for you, I'm glad for you.
- BUT If they make a Tron sequel where the bad guys do escape into our world THAT version of the Lost World I do would want to see. I'd let light cycles go any direction they wanted down the 405, I'd be thrilled to watch light jets zipping between our skyscrapers.
- Speaking of light jets: like the Iron Man armor, it turns out you can only take them so high up.
- And what I did like was the Tron-ified Cinderella's Castle Disney Logo, that was cool.
- Wait! Wait! So who paged Son of Flynn? And how? And for what purpose? Because Clu seems a little surprised that he's shown up. Do you think he could have told his Recognizers "Listen, if anyone shows up stumbling out of the Flynns Arcade we have here in Tron-world (which was weird), would you let me know right away?"
- And . . . so, at the end of the movie, where are we? Kind of back where we started, right?