I TRON Think So…
Right.. and so I just returned back from the movies. I watched Tron: Legacy, a movie I was anticipating all year long. Before I went to watch it, I did some prep work by watching the first Tron. Funny thing though.. I thought I had seen Tron like a thousand years ago. Turns out it didn’t ring any bell whatsoever, which led me to the revelation that I hadn’t so far watched Tron, which in itself is quite a blasphemous thing considering I am a sci-fi aficionado.
So I sat through the first movie, whispering to myself “Oh the humanity” having to endure not just 1982′s visual effects, which were probably the dog’s bollocks back in the day, but through totally uninspired dialogues, slow pace, plot holes and a script that was so weak, it couldn’t lift its own super market bags.
But I can’t really be impartial, since it took me some good 28 years before I watched the movie. It is a classic, it has pioneered a lot in visual effects, not to mention that it basically gave birth to Perlin Noise.
So once I was clued in about the story and events in Tron, I went along with my good friend Spirit (or Quivering Palm if you’re into EVE Online), and watched Tron: Legacy in 3d. Wasn’t really keen (and generally are not) on watching it in 3d, but all “2d” showings were really early on. There was a disclaimer in the beginning of the movie that not all scenes were actually 3d enhanced. It turns out that the only 3d enhanced scenes are the ones inside The Grid™, while everything else is plain old 2d. But even the 3d enhanced scenes were mostly not noticeable. In the end I tried watching the movie without the 3d glasses, which worked fine for the most part, and was forced to wear them on the “enhanced” scenes in order to save myself from the blurred picture you get for not having a third eye… All in all the 3d enhancements were meh.. and I felt like I was robbed of the extra money that the 3d showing costs compared to the plain 2d one.
Which brings me to the real 3d work done on the movie, and I’m talking of course about the modeling, animation, rendering and special effects. The animators must have been working like bees to cope with the amount of effects and 3d work needed for this movie. While not seeming “phenomenal” to the untrained eye, there is tons of work and inspiration behind them and it gives the movie the fresh “retro” look that is needed to convey the cultural impact set in place by the first movie. Lots of kudos for the 3d modeling and animation of the young Jeff Bridges/C.L.U. The result was stellar, and even though, having a keen eye on all sorts of graphical things, could tell that it was actually CG, it nearly fooled me.
What really lifted the movie a lot was the music. Solely written by Daft Punk, it is mostly electronic combining orchestral sounds and variating on the movie’s main theme. I did listen to the movie soundtrack prior to seeing the movie, which led me to the conclusion that it was a batch of relatively easy listening music, very well produced, but totally boring. However, along with the movie, the visuals and the sound effects the music was actually very fitting and it gave a very good impression.
What really cripples the movie is what crippled the first movie. Bleak dialogues, weak script and an uninteresting plot. The only thing that is interesting is the twist in the final scenes in the grid, which if was expanded throughout the movie, it could easily lift Tron: Legacy in being in one of the top movies ever alongside The Matrix.
All in all Tron: Legacy is not a bad movie, but it’s not a movie that either stands out, or lives up its hype. Definitely worth to see for its effects.