The Movies: 9/10
First, 3D does nothing for me at all. I couldn’t care less about it if you paid me (as they say). I saw Legacy in the theater in 3D and it did not look as good as it does at home on our movie screen in the regular old fashioned flatness of 2D…so there ya go. Enough technical talk, on with the review…..
It all makes sense to me now..wow. I had watched Tron just last year for the first time. I had been awake for about 25 hours and so I fell asleep. It wasn’t a comment on the movie, just that my mind couldn’t cope with the tired and the awesomeness of the original Tron.
I will talk about these movies as if they are one today. If you don’t like that concept I’m sure there are lots of other reviews you can soak up that lick your fanboy behind.
The concept of Tron was so far ahead of it’s time 30 years ago it’s amazing that it got made into a movie at all. The idea of a powerful entity trying to take over the world wasn’t new, of course, but the whole world of computers and networks and our lives being so linked to a digital reality, well, that was prognosticating at its best.
The story kicks right in as our smart ass hero grins his way through the introduction of an ex-girlfriend, loyal co-worker who doesn’t like the power of the corporate computer, and his own affection for video games. Then, just like that, he’s lasered into a digital world. Even though there is that vibe of the seventies lingering, with the slow opening big door, the climbing of the stairs to the laser work station, the contrast of the scientific laser lab mixed with the casual atmosphere of the arcade, the 80’s are still creeping enough to make it almost timeless.
You’ve got the music blaring from the arcade, the teetering on the edge of computer lifestyles, the revolutionary seeds being planted about rising up against your company’s dictatoral styles, and then BLAM you are smack dab inside the computer itself. People must have been cofused and in awe back in 82 when this hit the theaters. I mean, I don’t even understand every computer term they throw out there and I’ve worked around the little scamps for 20 years. A character called RAM, even today some people might not get it. The design of the sets and suits are so perfectly synced to the inner world of a PC, the circuitry, the physical parts, the angles, the shapes. I was mesmorized.
The 2010 Tron Legacy brings an updated but similar concentration of technical references and inner computer world design. The lighting is more intense, basically because they could use actual lights on the costumes and on the sets as practical lighting. In the original the glowing lights had to be hand drawn on each frame of film. The movie itself was made in black and white, well, the inside the computer parts, versus the modern movie done in HD, color, and 3D no less. Legacy has a more brooding mood about the world inside the computer, more solemn, more desolate. It might be me, but that’s how I see the addition of rolling generic data hills, mountain side swellings, an isolated city perched amongst a barren landscape. I know the idea is to contrast the light, the data connection between that world and ours, and that’s fine with me, it’s just something I noticed. The original Tron always seemed more optimistic in a way. It could be the more cartoony artwork now and then. It is Disney after all. It kind of cheers it up between the moments of realizing that world domination is but a few bytes away.
Our smart ass hero gets thrown into a place where his bits’n’bytes self is pitted against the human representation of computer programs in a game of survival. The place is patroled by a maniacal software tyrant. The only hope is Tron, the little program that was designed to police the system. A little do-good dude in a world of corporate misdoings. That is what Tron is all about, defending the freedom, promoting the little guy’s interests against the domminance and subjecation by a higher power.
It’s the same for Tron Legacy. Our hero, though not quite as smart assish, is just as cheeky. He also is thrown into the digital world without warning, without a clue, and has to survive. His added task is to find his father, the other hero from 30 years ago, who’s been trapped in there all this time. Along the way we encounter modern but true-to-tron dangers, bad guys, strange characters, underdogs, and good music. Oh yes, the music is awesome.
I don’t read reviews. I don’t care what other people think about movies. Strange, I know, but that frees me up to say what I really think and better yet, how I feel when I watch a movie. I loved these movies and the whole experience they offered up to me as a movie fan. I didn’t LOVE either one the first time I saw them, admittedly. The original Tron just came on a poor movie watching day, and Legacy, well, I didn’t “get it” because I was befuddled by the little glimpses of the first one that were floating in my mind. When we watched them back to back I had such a good time. I was totally blown away by the forethought of the original movie and extremly pleased that the newest addition to the Tron world wasn’t just some overly annoying, too cool for school, joke of a follow up. It was a great time at the movies, truly.
The groovy girls who put the uniform on the dude in the new one, I dig them. Quorra, the leading lady of Legacy with her toughness mixed with a hint of naivety, she’s compelling and fun to watch. Bridges does his bit to be a little bit annoying in both incarnations of Flynn, but he’s not supposed to be the charming hero. He’s part hippie, part hacker, part corporate exec-wanna-be (to offer free software and information to all). Flynn Jr. fits in very well. He’s smart and doesn’t just become the action hero type, he is believably partaking of the fights, the action, while not being like TA DA I’M ACTION MAN…I hate it when that happens.
Did I mention the music is awesome? It is. Daft Punk can hit that nerve in me that makes my head do that slidy thing forward and back about a half inch to the beat. It’s not a head banging thing, or a nod, but like someone has a string attached to my chin and is pulling it to the beat….if you know what I mean, you KNOW what I mean.
Alan is the programmer of Tron, and in both movies he’s kind of your generic corporate worker guy. He’s young in Tron with a hopefulness that’s about to be dashed by the insidousness of big business. He’s older and wiser in Legacy with a hint of being kind of crushed down by the decades of the same working world, a little sad, but resiliant and with that glimmer in his eye for the days gone by with his rebel friend Flynn.
I didn’t love the Zuse character, actually i didn’t even like him much. I like the guy but the character, well, he might seem interesting and quirky, but it felt out of place in an awkward and unneccessary way. If he was toned down just a little and make the part more involved throughout the movie, that would have patched that one small leak in my lovefestriver of drooling praise of these movies.
It’s so fun to think back over it all I’m tempted to watch it again this weekend.
- The Next Day Flynn Lives Revealed – A docu-style bit about what happened after Flynn disappeared and what’s happening now that Flynn Jr. is on the scene. This short film bridges the gap between the two movies.
- First Look At Tron Uprising – A trailer for the new animated series that will appear on Disney XD later this year.
- Launching The Legacy – How do you offer a modern version of such a classic to the die hard fans?
- Visualizing Tron – How do you make a modern Tron world look modern but stay true to the original?
- Installing The Cast – Who’s who of the cast, and why.
- Disc Roars – The fans at Comic Con do the cheers and jeers for the movie auditorium scene, this featurette shows how that all happened.
- Disney Second Screen – A new feature that allows you to view concept art and facts about the movie on your Ipad or Laptop, it’s a cool feature but wasn’t actually active at the time of review. For more info check here.
- Original Tron Movie Classic Features Including 88 Minute Making Of Tron – LOTS of good stuff to watch here if you are a true fan, infact all five hours of extras that were featured on the old Tron DVD are included.
- The Tron Phenomenon – How a movie that didn’t do much for the boys who want big returns on their cash, did so much for a generation of geeks and lovers of all things computers.
- Photo Tronology – The director of the original Tron (Steven Lisberger) takes a trip to Disney’s archives with his son to reminisce and look over lots of old assets. A very interesting feature that paralleled the storyline of Tron legacy.
Cover Art and Menus: 5/10
My husband, the great and powerful Ascully, will disagree with me on this (because we have the poster in our movie room) but I am not a fan of the cover art. I understand the significance and it’s nice and shiny, but these movies have soooooo much going for them visually that to plunk that one image of them doing the trip up data stream river (haha) just isn’t compelling to me at all. The menu is digital and stuff, functional.
Audio & Video: 10/10
Ladies & Gentlemen we have a winner. Yes you heard right Tron Legacy is the winner of best Blu-Ray transfer of 2011 so far. The 5 disc Blu-Ray set we took a look at also contains the original 1982 classic for the first time on Blu-Ray and while the movie does look good, (much better than the older DVD release), it is plagued with some odd noise and strange banding issues. Even with that, comparing this to the DVD you can tell Disney did a lot of restoration work.
Tron Legacy on the other hand is as pristine and cutting edge as you could possibly ask for in 2011. The Blu-Ray release of Tron Legacy is presented in a varying aspect ratio (2.31:5 & 1.78:1 similar to the Dark Knight) this results in a greater vertical resolution in the Imax filmed scenes. The it movie looks fantastic, in fact, it seemed cleaner and crisper than when we saw it theatrically. If you are a fan of the movie you will not believe the quality you are geting here.
Audio on Tron Classic sounds great for a movie from the early 80’s. There are the occassional moments where dialog gets lost in the action but other than that it does sound fine.
Tron Legacy has a DTS-HD Master audio 7.1 track that not only showcases Daft Punk’s brilliant soundtrack it brings the whole movie to life. Like I said, this is the audio track to beat this year. LFE is reserved for most of the dance beats and everything else is as razor sharp as the visuals. If I had to throw a complaint into the mix it would be that perhaps the track is mixed a little high, but really that is nitpicking this is an outstanding showpiece disc on every level.
Tron is a classic. It’s 30 years old. Legacy is a new flick. I know it’s packed with history and nostalgia, and extras and technology, but it’s not worth 40 or 50 bucks. I would pay, hmmm, let’s say $18.50 for the set. It’s just a couple of movies in a box. I say wait for the price to go down, around the holidays maybe, or rent it for now. I’m going to stand firm on the premise that these movie companies need to get their thumbs out of their own asses and realize, movies are a vital part of life, a distraction, fun, thoughtfulness, ideas, more fun. They should not cost as much as a week’s worth of food or a month’s water bill. Get off your high horses. If you can’t make back the money from a huge budget movie without sticking it to the fans, don’t make the movie…we’ll live.
Overall Score 9/10