Wednesday, December 29, 2010

TRON: Legacy

Tron: Legacy is one of those movies that just clicked with me in every way. I think that it must be unique to me, or perhaps to my generation, as those whom I saw it with brushed it aside as mere eye candy. Certainly, it was that, but also so much more.

But before you enjoy it, you must accept the fact that you must suspend your disbelief. Tron: Legacy is as science-fictiony as you can get; it is set in a fictional world where you can be sucked into a computer that has its own unique and vivid landscape populated by programs and artificial intelligences. It is about one man and his son, a creator and his progeny. And it is probably one of the most stunning movies I've ever seen.

World Building

Part of what made Tron: Legacy appeal to me was the premise of a man creating his own digital world. The Grid (the world of Tron) is incredibly unique, but with an artful retro feel that gives it a sense of age and permanence. After all, this is the sequel to a movie made over twenty five years ago, back when humanity's impression of computers was basic, simple, but having yet to tap into their true potential. And the concept is fantastic, looking at the lines and weaving patterns upon a hard drive, and then imagining it into a full-blown world. It is symbolic of childhood. Do you remember looking up at the patterns in the ceiling, picturing animals and people interacting amongst the creases and curves? Do you remember shaping order out of the chaos of the clouds? Tron: Legacy gave me that feeling again, imagining and discovering an impossible world made out of simplicity and expanded into magnificence.

Thus it was very easy for me to feel for and empathize with the character of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the creator of this virtual universe. I felt a rapport with the character, a connection that I think came from having written stories before. Like bringing ideas and people out of the void, breathing life into them and watching them interact and love. Kevin Flynn is the architect and, though the main character is his son, it is engrossing to watch him interact with the world he has created out of nothing, his past with it, his mistakes and victories. And none of it would've been possible without the excellent acting skills of Jeff Bridges, who breathes into the character a sense of age, wisdom, humor, understanding, and regret, all at the same time. He turns Kevin Flynn into a flawed creator, yet also one that perfectly embodies the God metaphor. And it is awe-inspiring, particularly seeing the reactions of those who live in The Grid when Kevin is nearby.

Father and Sons

One theme that really impressed me throughout the movie was the relationship had between fathers and their sons, and how that can affect both people in positive and negative ways. We see through Sam Flynn (Kevin's son) how the unexplained absence of a loving father can change someone. And when they finally meet once again, it is compelling to watch them both get used to knowing one another once more. It is a process that is difficult and not without failures along the way, and through it we get a glimpse of the difficulty inherent in being a proper and good father. And we see how working at it can make both men come out better people for it.

On the other side of things, we have Kevin Flynn's AI creation, Clu. The villain of the movie, Clu was created by Kevin in order to help him perfect the world of The Grid . But along the way, Clu decides that Kevin's approach is flawed, and feels compelled to remove him from the equation. However, one gets the sense that Clu is the child who is forever motivated by his actions by the need to show his father that his way is the right way. Almost unwittingly, Clu seeks Kevin's approval and, while he does his best to sublimate it, it is clear that Clu is impossibly flawed by it. Thus does Clu become sympathetic and makes one hope that he and Kevin will be able to achieve reconciliation before the end.


And here I am, nearing the end, and there is still so much about this movie that I loved that I've yet to talk about. I didn't get the chance to mention how interesting the character of Tron/Rinzler is; a near analogy to Darth Vader of Star Wars; a former hero needing redemption. I didn't mention the concept of the ISOs and how their story mirrors that of Jews throughout history. And I didn't mention the proud and capable character of Quorra, and how she effectively dominated every scene she was in. Needless to say, this is a movie that has a good amount of depth to it if you're looking for it. The question is whether you can contain your instinctive desire to say, "This is all freaking impossible!"

I loved it, but the movie did have some flaws. The dialogue was occasionally corny/wince inducing. In the end, the plot is rather simple. But it is the world of Tron: Legacy and its creator that was so powerful and effective for me. Not to mention truly awesome and jaw-dropping scenes of visual brilliance that helped make the world ever more vivid. And the soundtrack was glorious!

But I'm not sure if the 3D part is necessary to get the 'full experience'. I would say it was the best 3D movie I've yet seen, but I say that just because I loved the movie; I can't remember if the 3D part was all that important.


+ 10 for pure awesomeness
- .5 because nothing is perfect
- .5 for occasionally questionable dialogue and a simple plot

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