Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tron: Legacy

It’s been a while since I reviewed a nice, big, loud, dumb action movie (I think the last I did was Prince of Persia, and that one was far from nice), so it was kind of fun to try to watch Tron and Tron: Legacy back to back earlier today (I say “try”, as I kind of fell asleep halfway through the original -- I don’t get to sleep much during the week). If they aren’t exactly “good” movies, per se, they’re at least modestly entertaining ones, and sometimes, that’s all you really need.

The film, directed by newbie filmmaker Joseph Kosinski, is every bit as video gamey as movies get. It keeps the plot both minimal and incomprehensible, and the action fast-paced and beautifully gaudy. Basically Jeff Bridges (the star of the original film) has been missing for over a decade, and his now-adult son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) is a sort of directionless youth that indulges in screwing over his dad’s company Encom and parachuting off of skyscrapers. One day, however, he gets a page from his dad back at his abandoned arcade or whatever, and when he goes to investigate he finds a portal that sucks him into the Tron universe. There he quickly discovers the place is ruled by Clu, a program with his father’s face CG’d onto him, who has him fight in the various arena games. Just before he’s killed in one massive group race, however, he’s rescued by a mysterious woman (Olivia Wilde), who takes him to his father’s secret lair, where they can then plan out how to fix everything that’s gone wrong. Or at least on how to escape. Or at least on how one or two of them can escape.

As flimsy action movie plots go, this one is retarded but serviceable, and provides us with several action sequences, the best of which is the group race that I just gave away the ending to. There’s also a big climactic battle with a bunch of planes that starts off rather exciting, but drags on far too long, and has way too many cutaway scenes of Jeff Bridges saying things like “Yeah!” and “All right!”, which reminded me of nothing more than young Anakin during the equally lengthy pod race scene in Phantom Menace. A little goes a long way, people.

I also have to take some issues with the color scheme. It’s become almost a cliché that half the movies now just obsess over showing blue and orange color contrasts since they’re at opposite ends of the color wheel, so did we need an entire movie world that’s solely those two colors? It’s about as lazy a method of visual design as we can get in such a film. Though it is still a great deal better than the “All brown and gold all the time” color scheme used to such fugly effect in Prince of Persia.

I am, of course, being too unkind to the movie. For what it is, and what it tries to be, it succeeds moderately well. There may be no real soul to any of the characters, but you don’t go to a big effects-driven movie like this expecting really memorable characters and stories, do you? No, you go to these expecting some really flashy effects and a few cool action sequences, and that’s exactly what this movie delivers. It goes on a bit too long, and it never really excels at any point, but at least it’s never boring or tedious like so many movies of its kind. It’s a movie that’s just the right amount of idiotic, without making you feel like everyone involved fully believes you are an idiot for watching it, you know?

Rating: **

No comments: