Here is an official short film created by Disney that fills in some of the events immediately after TRON Legacy in preparation for the sequel.
Tag Archives: Tron Legacy
To kick off the new year and the future, the Babblers discussed one of the highest anticipated films of the past few years. As super nerds, we have some critical thoughts on TRON Legacy. In this 24 minute podcast we discuss the problems, pains, praises and the legacy of this sequel to the 1982 TRON. Let us know if you agree! Click here to listen to the podcast.
You can also read our review of TRON Legacy that was featured on the WordPress frontpage!
As expected, Christmas weekend was a busy one. What was unexpected was how busy it was for the Little Fockers. Skyrocketing to number one, this sequel proved that people want fun and laughter during the holidays rather than grit and tech. A pleased Jeff Bridges rode a horse and lightcycle to spots #2 and #3 in the box office with True Grit and TRON. Probably the highest anticipated film of the year, TRON Legacy has already become one of the biggest disappointments within 7 days of its opening. Falling to 3rd, the estimated budget of $170-230 million dollar reboot no doubt has some Disney Execs wondering if they should be expecting their Christmas bonus or severance notice. Hopefully with the failure of Yogi Bear it will discourage future pirates from trying to make a quick buck off of a past children’s classic.
Now that my official review of TRON Legacy is done, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of ‘nit picking’. If you are unfamiliar with that term, nit-picking is when you point out plot holes, continuity errors, or just things that hurt the film. I was very grateful that WordPress.com chose to feature my post on their front page this week which in turn attracted tons of traffic and a variety of comments. So I wanted to fan the flames of debate about this much-anticipated and hyped up film. Why? Because I am a nerd and this is what I do. I’ve had almost 30 years dreaming of this sequel so I’ve got to get some of my angst out. Warning, this list is not for the faint at heart. If you aren’t a hardcore nerd then I suggest you turn away now! I agree with this excerpt that explains the overall problem I had with this story:
Joseph Kosinksi’s film doesn’t have a single problem. It’s got problems. Plural. The problem sectors in script and on-screen gravitate towards one another, feeding off of each other’s deficiencies in some kind of perverse, parasitic relationship that results in them swelling in size until their hideous mass – this swirling, twisted orgy of character failings, action shortcomings and single-minded direction – is so big that it simply must be addressed. But even though it has a myriad of them, all of Tron: Legacy’s cinematic malignancies stem from a sole fundamental failure: The Grid is boring. By Peter Hall -Hollywood.com
1. The most colorless colorful characters: Played by the brilliant Cillian Murphy, this was an extremely wasted part. Introduced as the son of former CEO Dillinger, all Edward does is tap on the keyboard during the software meltdown and says a line then walks off. Never to be seen again. Is this a sequel set up? If so, would it made sense to have him play a small part in the Tron world as well? Maybe he should have been CLU’s sidekick climbing to power? His role was non-essential and unimaginative (you are going to read this word a lot so get used to it). Gem, was a very visually striking character that did what? By day she works in a ‘program processing center’ then by night she is a bar fly? Was it by chance she met Sam earlier and did she really just happen to see him on the street that night? The story insinuates a subtle manipulator but doesn’t expand on it. Don’t get me started on Castor. Clearly, he was the only member of the cast having fun, but I think his ridiculous antics just served to cover up the lack of character development. Why was Quorra so confident in trusting him with Sam when clearly she was still a sore subject with Castor? Why did he betray Sam and his belief in the users? The lack of character development for these secondary characters really hurt the richness of this story.
2. Alan’s rockin pager: How exactly did this happen? We are to believe that Alan has been charging his pager every night and maintaining the service for almost 20+ years after Flynn’s disappearance? The Flynn’s arcade phone number has been disconnected and service is down, so does CLU have the ability to manipulate the User world too? CLU has the power to communicate to the outside world and Flynn does not? I understand that it was a plot device to make it feel cryptic and mysterious but it doesn’t make sense. After 30 years of waiting on the CEO of his company, wouldn’t Alan felt a responsibility to ENCOM to explore it himself rather than send a maverick to go snoop around? Or at least go with him?
3. Alan’s 2-D role: Are we to believe that from 1982-89, 7 years of Flynn going back and forth in both worlds that he never felt compelled to tell his best friend about it or invite him to come along? This is a pretty major secret to keep from the only person Flynn trusted. I think it would have made more sense if realizing Flynn’s plight, Alan worked the problem on the outside trying to free TRON while Sam was sent to the Grid to rescue dear ol’ dad. At least it would have given Alan something to do besides pitch an implausible pager story then sit around twittling his thumbs.
4. What in the world?: This is a pretty major one for me. The world crafting in the Legacy was pretty careless and unexplained. Sure it looks visually stunning but how did it de-evolve into its current state. Why are there dedicated neighborhoods, street lamps, buildings, etc? The recognizers are kicking up dust, really dust? Why is their virtual dust flying around? If Flynn programmed it to simulate a real world environment that’s fine but we don’t know that. When Quorra’s dune buggy appears and skids around, she starts kicking up all kinds of smoke. You need friction, physics, and weight to cause impressive peel outs. She also says that CLU’s vehicles can’t drive over the rough terrain to pursue them, what tha what? They can’t build off-road tires? Then why doesn’t CLU just fly after them? What exactly are they eating and drinking anyways? Why do their drinks need ice? Why are they so physically limited to transportation. The original Tron had some limited teleportation and it would make sense there would be some here instead of taking public transportation everywhere. It’s also raining and storming at times. For what? Here’s another random thought, when CLU plants bombs in Caster’s bar, why did he need so many? Is mass of the explosive really that important? There is no physics so it in theory could have been the size of a dime with the same effect. We also discovers Sam bleeds! He now has a physical, blood pumping body in the virtual world? There is air? I thought he was digitized? The world crafting for this Tron incarnation is just lazy and unimaginative. It was more like an alien world or parallel universe rather than a world inside the computer. The original Tron did a better job delineating the real world from the virtual one. Instead of it being a computer world that mirrored the human world, Legacy did it the other way around. Boring.
5. Thank the Users it’s Friday: It’s nice to know that after a long days work that the programs can crack open a cold one and chillax. We see them eating, drinking, carousing, and going out for entertainment. So these programs are not always working? Do they work 9-5 jobs? Do they take vacation and sick leave as well? When was the last time you clicked on WORD and a note popped up that said ‘out to lunch’? Every program should be focused on their design, doing the menial labor like Gem was in the first part of the movie. Seeing how the world operated was much more interesting than seeing downtime at the local bar. There are even homeless people! So there is also unemployment and other society problems. Apparently, CLU’s perfect system is not so perfect. The culture the film develops is really important. It tells so much without using words. So when you see that these programs are no so different from us then it takes the viewer out of the fantasy. I felt the original TRON did a much better job of creating a stronger people culture. I also think it was unfortunate that the ’belief in the users’ talk was dropped. The lack of the religious overtones made this a more shallow experience. Again, an unimaginative direction.
As a die-hard fan of the original TRON, I have been dreaming of this day since the first visuals appeared at Comic Con ’08. When I saw the light cycle in person at SDCC, I knew it was destiny that I would be there for opening day. Two years later, standing in the rain for an early showing, the prophesy came true. I even took my 5-year-old son to hopefully capture some of the same magic from 2 decades earlier. I then went back for a second viewing that night to get a second perspective of the movie. The original TRON had ground breaking effects, introduced an original universe, and a great score. However, that same original had terrible character development, confusing story devices, and a low-stake plot. To my own dismay, 28 years later, the sequel does the same. The difference is that TRON 1982 held a significant place in our pop culture heritage while I fear Legacy will not.
Unfortunately, the pros can be summed up in a handful of visuals and a compelling sound track. You could tell that before the movie was barely conceived or the first story line written, that there were a few scenes that were already being crafted in the mind of director Joseph Kosinski. The first 10 minutes of the movie felt like something out of a Christopher Nolan movie with urban tunnels and swooping cityscapes. The capture of Sam into the TRON world, his outfitting, and the first battle sequences were all stunning. The first third of this film is very inspired stuff comparable to my experience seeing the first Matrix. Unfortunately, when they leave the game grid they also leave the best parts of the movie behind. The sound track from Daft Punk could not be any better. It’s as if Daft was genetically engineered (or programmed) for this movie. The music is so epic that it almost fools you into thinking more is happening than it really is. I immediately downloaded it and I am considering it an instant score classic. Now on the cons.
While the first act is by far some of the best visuals I have seen in years. The 2nd act of the film comes to an almost grinding stop. It becomes very ponderous with a bunch of ‘talky, talky technobabble’ and a few boring flash back sequences. Not only is it not that interesting but it doesn’t help bring clarity to the quickly developing murky plot. Legacy tries to create space for Flynn and Sam to reconnect but the emotional thrust is not there. Legacy becomes so serious so quickly that there is nothing fun about it once you get to this part of the film. Then it really blows it by the final act of the story. It turns into a typical ’Star Wars-esque’ chase sequence and showdown with the villain. Sure there were explosions and ships zipping around (and the deceptive pumping score), but it was not nearly as creative as the earlier 1/3rd. While the action serviced the plot, what everyone will leave talking about is the earlier arena battle scenes.
The next huge con is the lack of character development and plot. Different characters start out interesting but it goes no where from there. There is no real character arc for anyone and characters are dispensed with as quickly as they are introduced. The loss of one particular character is very unrewarding. Being the master of stereotypes, it’s no surprise that Disney character exit the movie the same way they are introduced. The problem is that you don’t know who to ‘root’ for or identify with. There are several obvious choices but there are not obvious reasons why. You simply want the good guys to win and the bad guys to lose- booooring. Besides trying to get Flynn back out to civilization, another plot device is introduced but it’s importance is not totally clear and by the end, I honestly could cared less about this secondary plot. Unfortunately, Legacy is a two-dimensional story and characters placed in a stunning 3-D world. Instead of it being the story 28 years in the making it ended up feeling more like 28 minutes. Like the original, the characters never seemed like they were ever in real jeopardy and I never felt like the stakes were very high. For a moment, I thought I was caught up in a bad re-mix of Matrix Revolutions and Episode II Attack of the Clones. Either of which are not good to be associated with. I found myself ‘re-writing’ the movie while I was watching it, which is usually a bad sign. I accepted the story but it was against my will.
End of line..?
With all my pros and cons out of the way, I still have to say I enjoyed this experience. Much like the orignal, its doesn’t have to hit on all cylinders for me to leave with a partial smile on my face. I actually enjoyed the CGI doppelgänger of the younger Jeff Bridges. Sure the effects were pretty sketchy at times but I appreciated the ambition. If there is a ’legacy’ to this film, it might be the introduction of artificial actors in cinema. This was only about 75% there but I imagine we will be seeing the perfection of this technology in the years to come. As frustrated and unfulfilled I was with this film, I still recommend it- especially if you are a fan of the original. The first 1/3rd of the film is worth it alone. There is also a sense of nostalgia which is becoming more rare over time for children of the 80′s like me. Plus, it has sequel potential written all over it which might give Disney a chance to right it’s wrongs with this one. The 3-D is pretty ‘meh’ but the IMAX experience is superb. To my sadness, history may regard this as an incredible visual ride but ultimately a failed sequel. I guess we will see what my son will say about it 2 decades from now and if he will have the same nostalgic memories as I did as a child.
I give this the same rating as the original, a 3 out of 5 Babbles.
Check out my earlier review of the original TRON.
Bonus: I had an incredible opportunty to ask Jeff Bridges a question about TRON at Comic Con 2010- here it is:
After almost 30 years, TRON comes back online with TRON Legacy coming out in theaters tomorrow. As a product of the 80′s, I am one of the generation of nerds that was greatly impacted by the first ever computer generated adventure put out by Disney. TRON, ahead of its time in many ways, is arguably the most nerdiest movie ever. We are not talking about a fantastical story that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away. TRON happens inside a hard drive where programs fight other programs (does anyone remember Archon?) in a gladiatorial type 3-D world. That is about the geekiest thing I have ever heard of. I mean, this makes Star Wars and Star Trek nerds sound like varsity football players and super models. Anyways, the story… Continue reading
As approach the release of TRON Legacy, I have heard many complaints about the lack of availability of the original TRON on DVD. An interesting phenomenon has occurred that I have never seen before. A few years ago, Disney released the TRON 20th Anniversary Edition on a 2-disc set and this appears to be the last copy circulating around. I did some research to discover why. Disney, fearing the aged graphics will turn off younger viewers, has pulled all known copies of TRON from the shelves and online stores. You may even noticed that there have been no releases of images, books, or toys referring to the original TRON. Disney is trying to keep the public from seeing the outdated CGI and out-of-style design from this early 80′s cult classic. Currently copies of TRON on DVD are going for $100-150 on Ebay, it’s that rare! It’s like Disney is the MCP trying to wipe out the TRON program from existence! Whoa, so meta. Continue reading
In honor of TRON Legacy opening in one week, check out this newly modernized version of the original TRON. It really makes the antiquated CGI 28 year old film look more exciting than it actually was. It also looks like this was inspired by Christopher Nolan’s Inception trailer. Pretty amazing what creative editing and music can do.
This is the most complete trailer to include the story. Looks pretty amazing. Tron Legacy opens Dec 17th.
Go behind the scenes and see a little bit of the creative process in making this film:
Now that Disney owns Marvel, we are seeing a little bit of cross marketing.. We’ve seen Disney and Final Fantasy Mash-ups with ‘Kingdom Hearts’ but now Disney and Marvel? Could this broaden the audience for both genres? Or has Disney gone too far?
4 more after the jump. Continue reading