Thursday, December 23, 2010

TRON: Legacy

First the Identity update. Chapter six is 3/4 of the way done; now that I'm off from school, I have much more time to devote to writing, and I'm hopeful that the chapter will be finished by Monday or so. I want to post the prelude Wednesday and post act one next Friday. We'll see how that goes. I must admit, speed of writing since I went home for the semester break was probably helped by not having internet until Tuesday night. Just goes to show how much discipline in writing is needed to push through even difficult times.

But anyway, let's talk TRON: Legacy.

As a child, my parents told me a story once--of how my mother, her seven sisters, her two brothers, and their mother somehow managed to all fit in my dad's 1963 Chevrolet and (he included) drove to Knoxville for the 1982 World's Fair. They met my dad's father there as well and saw a revolutionary new movie, one that promised the awe and wonder of computer graphics in a story of the miracles of modern technology.

That movie was TRON.

Now, I must say, almost 30 years later, I don't think what I saw this Tuesday was as revolutionary or ground-breaking as that. To make history is something difficult to do once, let alone repeat, and indeed, perhaps it's best not to try to repeat, only to tell the story one set out to tell.

At heart, Legacy is about purpose and what happens to a being created for a purpose when that purpose has been fulfilled. Taking "self" out of the equation, as is said and repeated in the film, exactly shows the difference between CLU and Quorra. CLU couldn't handle that his mission had been completed by something else, something new, whereas Quorra, despite knowing her importance, saw fit to put herself at risk for Kevin and Sam.

Jeff Bridges' performances as Kevin Flynn and his program CLU can't be lauded enough. He handles both roles with a distinctive feel, and the effects required to paint him as the ageless CLU versus the old and weary Flynn are excellent. Hedlund's portrayal of Flynn's son Sam I thought to be a little less compelling. The character seems to have nothing special about him, and the actor brings little overt wit or determination to make up for it. Olivia Wilde's Quorra I thought to be a delightful surprise--much was made of her androgynous appearance, yet instead of a robotic, stoic character, we were treated to a much more lively individual: truly a daughter to Kevin Flynn, and Wilde captured her quirky curiosity as well as her faithfulness to both Kevin and Sam. I admit, I was disappointed to see so little of Bruce Boxleitner--when TRON reasserted his programming near the end of the film, I thought surely he would return in the final battle scenes to cast aside his helmet and fight alongside the Flynns, but to no avail.

Truly, the effects were impressive, but CGI is basically the norm nowadays, and this movie wasn't going to bring out anything new or extraordinary that I could see. It definitely wins in terms of visual style, striking a good balance between modern capabilities and the overall thematic impression of older technology. It makes the Grid a very distinctive, unique universe.

I do think TRON: Legacy to be a quality film; I think the innovation award for recent memory probably goes to Avatar, but I think the story here was actually much better: I think the story of purpose and direction is more timeless and widely applicable in this time than that of exploitation of nature and indigenous populations. The latter, while certainly worth bearing in mind, just seems like something out of the Wild space. Legacy, on the other hand, has a distinct grounding in the human mind.

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