Friday, January 13, 2012

Film Friday: Tron: Legacy (2010)

Was Tron: Legacy the worst movie ever? Nope. I liked the soundtrack a lot, the effects were excellent and the actors read their words competently. It didn’t offend me either or bore me too much. So if that’s what you want, then this movie certainly delivers. Thumbs up! But if you’re one of those picky people who want more than a placebo for a film, then this one isn’t for you.

** spoiler alert **

I usually start my reviews by outlining the plot, but that’s not possible here because there really wasn’t one. Basically, the hero gets sucked into the computer world, does some disc fighting, has a motorcycle chase, meets the be-breasted NewTron (this time called Quorra. . . which is Latin for “not all there”), finds his dad, gets told how to get back out of the computer, and leaves. It takes 98 minutes before we even find out the bad guy (evil Jeff Bridges) is up to something more than just being evil, and even then we don’t really know what. He’s built an army and wants to do something to the outside world. But what exactly he wants to do is never really spelled out because this film has an aversion to substance. His big beef seems to be imperfection, which makes me think he’s a spell checker gone rogue.

The rest of the movie is pretty much nonsense too. First of all, the film is a scene-by-scene theft of Tron. Indeed, if you lined up the order of events in Tron, and the events here you will see they are identical, they’re just hidden by different effects. Also, much of the film is stolen directly from The Matrix, such as the effects in the digital desert, the techno music during the fights, the wire-fighting, and even the black-clad hero is just Neo with less personality. . . yeah.

The fascinating bit, though, is the utter lack of substance in this film. Observe:

This film supposedly takes place inside a computer world like the original, but nothing tells you that. One of the strongest aspects of Tron was that it was strangely believable. Sure, computers don’t really work this way, but Tron set up a believable world where the characters acted as one would expect computer programs to act if they were given human form. Their actions, their desires, their conflicts all reflected perfectly the kinds of issues that occur inside a computer -- struggles for access, energy needs, security measures, etc.

All that’s gone in Legacy and these programs never really act like programs. They attend gladiatorial games where they cheer the death of other programs. They attend clubs where they dance and drink. One program is suicidal. Several programs seem to be motivated by sex. And through this all, there is no sense that the actors were given rules to follow to make them act like programs rather than just club kids. Plus, in the end, these programs are all pretty pointless to the plot.

Neo is pointless too. He comes, he leaves. He does little else. Also, his character is set up as a generic rebel, but he never mentions anything he cares about -- either pro or con, and this “rebel” owns all the shares of the company and thus controls the company, so his once-per-year “struggle” against the evil company is nonsense. Beyond that, he’s pretty pointless.

The good Jeff Bridges (Neo’s dad) had a purpose before the film began. In flashbacks, we learn he wanted to create the perfect computer world where all of us could move. . . no, I’m not kidding. Then he found these living things which aren’t explained all that well, but they all got killed so now he lives in a cave. Beyond that, he’s pretty pointless except he knows the way to the exit.

Be-breasted NewTron really adds nothing to the story except breasts. It turns out she’s one of these living things, but that goes nowhere. The only reason they mention that is so Neo can take her back to his world and live happily ever after with his electronic dream girl.

There’s a guy who owns a bar. He looks like those Albino things in Matrix II and he seems kind of important for about five minutes, though I have no idea why from the script. All he really teaches us is that he likes to rip off Doomsday when he dances during fight scenes. Beyond that, he’s pretty pointless.

There seem to be some rebels too, but they don’t do anything except show that black and minority programs are socially conscious.

There’s old Tron too, sort of. He grunts a lot and you never see his face. His purpose seems to be to add wire-fu to the film, but that’s about it.

Then there’s the bad guy, evil Jeff Bridges. He’s a knock off of the Master Control program from Tron only he spends his time bored watching the games and chasing after good Bridges’s identity disc because that will give him the power to let his army go forth and do something or other. . . somewhere. His goals are revealed to us in a very bland speech that is meant to suggest fascist tendencies, but is actually nonsense if you listen to it. I honestly could not sum up his plans for you.

Heck, even the action is pointless. This is one of those “go to point A so they can tell you to go to point B where you will fight someone to win the movie” kind of movies. There is no actual plot. The bad guy has no plan except stop the good guy. The good guy has no plan except stop the bad guy. There is nothing the good guy really needs to do to make this happen except arrive at the end of the film. The people who help him along the way impart neither wisdom, clues or skills which the good guy will need, nor does he really need their help. Basically, they just help him pass the time. And the few times they venture into something that could generate substance, the characters spit out meaningless dialog before they start fighting.

I am not kidding when I say this movie is truly substance free. . . it is Michael Bay’s wet dream. And I find this pretty shocking. They’ve stolen two movies -- Tron and The Matrix -- which crawl with philosophical and moral questions and they turned them into village-idiot-grade pabulum. Tron established a world where users are as much a mystery to the inhabitants as God is to us. The Matrix deals with the nature of reality. And Tron: Legacy stole these two films wholesale yet somehow managed to ensure that not one single idea actually comes across to the audience.

I don’t know if I should be horrified at the idiocy of these plagiarists or stand in awe at their achievement. Was this a mental tour de force where they brilliantly showed their power to suck the life out of something inspirational? Or did they just leave out the hard parts they didn’t understand? I honestly don’t know.

In any event, as someone who loves science fiction, let me suggest that films like this are ultimately very destructive. Films like this mock the idea that science fiction is capable of anything more than blowing stuff up. Films like this are undoing the legacy created by films like 2001, Blade Runner, The Matrix and even Tron.

68 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

Couple thoughts here. I have never, ever, been compelled to see TRON the original or TRON the reboot. It is not that I don't like science fiction, I do. the original Star Trek, 2001, Star Wars, etc. Loved them all.

However, I think as a genre, it is not where I am first drawn. As proof, I offer that "I much preferred Hardy Boys to Tom Swift" (Jed said fluidly.) What that means is since I don't watch as many films as I used to, I'll watch but s.f. genre films are going to have to find a way to successfully market to me. It is going to have to shoulder it's way past historical drama, military, film noire in order to become "must see."

Perhaps, that is why Star Trek (the original) appealed so much. It's premise really was "wagon train to the stars; moral delima and human drama.) Then, for subsequent versions, I avoided them because I suspect I felt like they wouldn't live up to the original.

ScottDS said...

Yeah... again, I saw the film and while it's visually and aurally stunning, I couldn't help but feel it was totally unnecessary. I also thought the lead actor/rebel was rather bland. I know you weren't a big fan of 2009's Star Trek reboot but I kept asking myself, "What would Chris Pine have done with the role?" At least he has some charisma.

Also, while the visual effects are excellent, the "young Jeff Bridges" CGI wasn't quite there. Close, but no cigar... and it did take me out of the movie every time he (it?) was on the screen.

On the plus side, Olivia Wilde has never been hotter and it's always nice to see Bruce Boxleitner.

But the plot... yeah, it's all rather forgettable and a mishmash of other (better) material. I don't know what happened but it would seem all the life was sucked out of the movie at some stage of production. I wouldn't be surprised if Final Draft has a template for this sort of thing - it would explain why so many movies come across as generic.

I may be wrong but I hope the dumbing down of the material (assuming it was smarter at one point) doesn't have anything to do with foreign sales. I'm sure it's the usual "We need to sell this to teens!" line of thinking. Yeah, because today's teenagers just love the original Tron! ;-)

tryanmax said...

"His big beef seems to be imperfection, which makes me think he’s a spell checker gone rogue."

Brilliant!

Kenn Christenson said...

Rented this film and proceeded to fall asleep half way through (really!) The home big screen probably wasn't the best venue to see this particular film - which confirms Andrew's analysis - pretty pictures - no story -'nuf said.

Individualist said...

Andrew Andrew Andrew

You just are not up with the Hollywood rhetoric of the times. Sure if it was 1940 or something and someone then would say "This is pointless" and maybe wonder why the spent the money to see the movie.

Andrew this is the 21st centruy and we are neo progressive, environmentally conscious creatures that are at one with the universe. The Beatles introduced us to eastern practices by some guy claiming to be a Hindi yogi so naturally we understand all about Zen Bhuddism.

See by have no plot and being pointless it perfectly illustrates the philosophy of No Mind. It is very eastern which makes it better for some reason we don't have to explain. You simply sit back take your medication and be the movie.

Later after enough exposure they will tell you which Obama Slogans to mindlessly chant.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, People enjoy different genres, there's no crime in that. I tend to like most everything, so I'm try to see most movies eventually. But it absolutely makes sense that give that people have a limited amount of time and money, it just doesn't make sense to "invest" in every film unless you have a reasonable belief you'll enjoy them.

And addressing science fiction specifically, I think science fiction has failed lately because so little of it is intelligent. In the past, you could find loads of thought provoking films, cool films, and just simply enjoyable films. These days, it's the rare science fiction that it's just a blockbuster dressed up -- entirely vapid.

What I ultimately found so fascinating about this particular film is that they took that to the extreme. They went through the motions of producing an actual film, but they honestly took out ANYTHING that approaches a moment of substance. It's like someone scrubbed the script to ensure it said nothing.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, My guess is that three things happened to the plot.

First, they were worried about foreign audiences so they decided to make sure it was all extremely simple. The dialog is third-grade level and the plot is so simplistic monkeys can follow it... because there's nothing to follow.

Secondly, there is no doubt they dumbed it down for teens. This movie is full of things that are supposed to "speak" to them -- such as his pointless (and very comfortable) rebellion. None of the issues addressed are real and what little there are "why can't we give it away for free man" are at a moronic, idealistic teen level. Also, the hero fits their lives. He lives a very comfortable life based on other people's money doing cool stuff like riding motorcycles and base jumping, yet he's cool because he's a rebel. Many teens think of themselves in the same way. And just as they have no idea what they're rebelling against, neither does he.

Third, I think there was a total aversion to politics. I have suspect for a while now that Hollywood finally realizes it's in trouble politically and I suspect they scrubbed anything that could be latched onto by conservatives as "more damn socialism!"

On your other thoughts, Olivia Wild was pretty, but 100% forgettable. Ditto on whoever the hero was. They couldn't have found a more lifeless lead except Sam Worthington or a store mannequin.

AndrewPrice said...

BTW, Scott, I think they picked Tron to remake because it was a property with some built in audience (it's shown its longevity) and it had the potential for a total CGI make over.

P.S. I too am a fan of Bruce Boxlietner.

P.S.S. I read the other day they have finally decided to remake Police Academy

AndrewPrice said...

Thanks tryanmax! In all honesty, I simply cannot tell you what his plan was. It was like the underwear Gnomes only less so.

1. Gather army.
2. Get power to do ????
3. ????

AndrewPrice said...

Kenn, I didn't fall asleep through it, but I did really have a hard time paying attention because I just couldn't care. Nothing was nothing at stake, the characters weren't interesting, and what little plot there was was nothing more than pretty pictures.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, "No mind" is right. This is the kind of film that is so forgettable that if a character suddenly said "do you remember when X happened twenty minutes ago" you probably wouldn't be able to remember.

Interestingly, I was expecting to be blasted with a political message of some sort. These seems to be a film set up for that. But it never came. Instead, all you got is that there is some evil program who wants power and the reason he does is because he has some plan. That's as deep as this sucker got.

DUQ said...

Andrew, I think you nailed this one. I saw most of this and just didn't care about anything. I had a hard time even seeing why I should care. I didn't like the characters, didn't understand what they were fighting for, and saw no reason to worry about who won or lost.

Joel Farnham said...

Andrew,

I forgot what Tron: Legacy was about.

;-)

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, That's the problem with the bland/pointless approach. It can give you some interesting images to look at, but it doesn't feed your brain because it gives you little to care about. It's like looking at a kaleidoscope.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, LOL! So has everyone else... including the writer!

Ed said...

This was a dud. It didn't stink, it didn't highs or lows, it was just a dud. Excellent analysis.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, "dud" is a good word for it because it's like a bomb that never goes off... it just sits there.

Ed said...

More of a wet squib?! Lol!

I fear that this is the future - bland films with nothing in them.

I think Scott put his finger on it with the foreign markets. Hollywood seems to be catering to those now and this is what happens when they do that.

AndrewPrice said...

Ed, I fear there is a lot to that. Things like the Chinese market are now more than half of Hollywood's business.

Of course, that leaves an unsatisfied market here for others to exploit.

ScottDS said...

Andrew -

Re: any political messages, the folks over at Libertas did an excellent review of the film and said that it could've been about the dangers of totalitarianism but the filmmakers simply didn't go far enough with it (or, for that matter, anywhere).

They also jokingly suggested that screenwriters should lay off Joseph Campbell for a while and that the Hero's Journey itself has become cliche: call to action, old wizard, funny sidekick, etc. It's been done to death at this point.

And since you opened that can of worms...

Re: Police Academy... whatever, man. :-) Truth be told, I grew up watching these movies and, while a couple of the sequels still make me laugh, I watched the first film a year or two ago and it's dated horribly! Not only that, it's simply not edited or directed very well and, like many "institutional comedies" of the period (like the infinitely superior Stripes), it's like two movies in one: the first half is all training, character intros, hijinks, etc. while the second half thrusts the characters into some arbitrary conflict.

Incidentally, my favorite character was always the gun-crazy Officer Tackleberry but actor David Graf sadly passed away several years ago. Per his IMDb page, he was attending a family function and died of a heart attack. He was only in his early 50s.

ScyFyterry said...

I so wanted to like this. I saw it in 3D and everything. The effects were great in 3D (though Scott's right about the young Bridges), but there wasn't anything else to care about. I hadn't put together the lack of substance you outline, but I agree that's the problem. I never thought about the bad guy's plan at the time but it never did seem real to me then and I see now why not -- he has no plan.

ScyFyterry said...

I also want to say you're right that much of modern science fiction is ruining the genre. They've gotten away from interesting stories and cool views of the future and they've replaced them with CGI-action films.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I didn't know that. That's sad. He was my favorite character from the series too. RIP

I enjoyed Police Academy but haven't felt a need to watch it again in a decade or so. But I figured they would remake it because it's got a structure that can be turned into a plug and play kind of film -- every decade plug in new actors and a couple new ideas and instant blockbuster comedy.

On the politics, I think they wanted to suggest an anti-totalitarian film, but they never even came close. There is no government here, no politics, no nothing to latch onto. In fact, he's a dictator of nothing with no particular power except to kill. In other words, yeah, he's supposed to be a dictator, but what exactly is he ruling, what orders is he giving and what is he getting out of it? He's basically a dictator character in the abstract.

I absolutely agree about the Heroes Journey. That has become standard operating procedure for almost all films these days. That and the origin story for heroes are both so overplayed that it people should be ashamed for continuing to use them. But not only does Hollywood know no shame, it is stepping up the number of films using these premises.

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, I think that's the problem. No substance means nothing to care about. Nothing to care about means uninteresting film.

I agree with you about the current state of science fiction. I think they've turned it back into the science fiction of the 1950s -- mindless monsters and explosions aimed at kids.

I think there are exceptions, but the overwhelming "feeling" of science fiction at the moment seems to be the blockbuster mentality.

Just Your Averrage Teen said...

But Dude....

The chick was Hot!!!!

AndrewPrice said...

And everything was big and shiny too, wasn't it? LOL!

Kelly said...

I enjoyed this in the theater as a way to blow a couple hours, but I forget what I'd seen by the time I reached my car.

Doc Whoa said...

I haven't seen this yet. I keep meaning to, but I just can't bring myself to do it.

On the science fiction point you make, I do think there have been some good science fiction films later -- like "Inception" -- but overall, it's gone the way of everything else. Right now the only creative films are in the horror category.

AndrewPrice said...

Kelly, I had the same feeling. I actually had to rewatch parts to write the review because it seemed so forgettable that I feared I'd missed things.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, It might make a good article to take a look at what has been produced lately that falls into the thoughtful science fiction category compared to what there was in the past. I may have to do some research. :)

Doc Whoa said...

That would make an interesting article. So would your take on why you think Hollywood is listening and becoming less political.

tryanmax said...

Andrew, I agree that films like Tron: Legacy are destructive, not just to the genre, but also to the culture. You’ve discussed the bland, comfortable rebellion of Flynn Jr. and how attractive it is to teens and, I would hazard, 20-somethings.

Used to be, such rebellious types were portrayed as anti-heroes with hard lessons to be learned. They weren’t glamorous. They weren’t admirable. At best they were understandable but still misguided. The Wild One and Rebel without a Cause keep dancing in my mind. Probably because movies like Tron 2.0 are trying to capture that Brando/Dean cool.

"What are you rebelling against, Johnny?"
"Whaddaya got?"

Problem is, that kind of cool doesn’t come in such a polished package. And Brando and Dean are unforgettable, unlike whazzizname? What the film ends up projecting is the possibility of a contradiction. He’s an outsider that eschews the norms and yet still has or gets all the niceties that are “normal” goals. Even in Fight Club the guy blows up his apartment and then squats in a dry-rotten sieve. The notions championed in films like Tron 2.0 aren’t possible, but they reinforce the expectation of them.

More, these sorts of films normalize youthful rebellion beyond what is actually normal and into what George Santayana described as a savage, perpetual infancy across generations. No wonder, that description immediately precedes his most famous observation that "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

You were looking for a political message. Perhaps it was so subtle that even the writers didn’t catch it, but it is the ultimate leftist message: “Rebel though you know not what you rebel against.”

***

You are on a roll today! I love the deconstruction of—
1. Invest
2. ????
3. Profit!
—into something even more ridiculous!

***

Averrage Teen, you just think so because she was in tight clothes the whole time. On the street, she'd be a '7.'

tryanmax said...

Scott, in response to the folks of at Libertas, the film could’ve been about anything if it gone somewhere.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, I'll see what I can do! I think those might be good articles too.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, LOL! Nice response. I think this is a moment where there truly is no message and no message intended but there are elements to let you think there was a message... kind of like Obama in 2008.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Excellent point. In a way, this form of rebellion perfectly fits the OWS crowd. They come from rich families. They live at colleges which are nicer than most people's apartments. They are angry at the world. But they don't really care about anything specific. And at night, they go back to their comfortable place and enjoy the trappings of everything they claim to hate. It's protesting for people who don't really want change.

I agree with you about how rebels used to be shown. You had the anti-heroes who stood for nothing, but were shown to be foolish and eventually had to learn to believe in something or die. OR you had the rebels who had a vision and stood against society to demand a change. In the past, that's what you had.

Flynn Jr. is the exact opposite of those. He's a guy with no real views except "I don't like what you've done" and no vision of how to make it better, but he's living comfortably among everything he hates. And yet we're told he the ideal way to be... the hero. If I didn't know better, I would say this film could be totalitarian propaganda: "protesting in your mind is sufficient, do not upset society and don't actually think of what you would really change".


Thanks on the Underwear Gnomes! As I said, I'm not sure if this film was shocking or brilliant. ;)

tryanmax said...

"protesting in your mind is sufficient, do not upset society and don't actually think of what you would really change".

Ooh! Now that is dark.

I just have to repeat how insightful this review is. Before reading it, what irritated me most was that Zen Bridges doesn’t seem to be the logical maturation of Flynn from the first Tron. Albeit, I haven’t spent the majority of my adult life trapped in a computer, so I don’t know what that does to a person, but it just strikes me as a simplistic, Hollywood means of making a stark distinction between good Flynn and evil Flynn.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Thanks! I'm glad you think it's insightful! :)

It is very dark and I don't think that was actually anyone's intent here. I could see that being something a totalitarian government would try to work into films, but I don't think anyone in Hollywood actually wants to promote that idea. In this case, I think it's just an accidental by-product of what they've rammed together to make the film. In sucking out all the meaning, they've created a creepy message of conformity as rebellion.

I went back and forth with the question of whether or not they got the Flynn's right and I found it too hard to tell because there wasn't enough to judge his character by. The new old Flynn was so flat as a character that I couldn't really tell who he was or what motivated him. The original Flynn was a shoot from the hip, rash kind of guy. The new guy is like a Buddhist monk or something. But I guess living trapped in a computer could do that to you?

DUQ said...

It is like looking at a kaleidoscope. Good analogy.

Interesting idea too that you and tryanmax are discussing. That sounds like it's out of a science fiction film where some evil government is trying subliminally to convince people to stay calm.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, Thanks. It does sound like something out oaf a dystopian film doesn't it? So I guess, sadly, we're drifting into dystopia by accident?

LawHawkRFD said...

Pretty much what I said the other day, but at least you had the patience to sit through the whole movie. I gave up a little over halfway through.

AndrewPrice said...

Lawhawk, It was bland, but I didn't see any reason to give up. Plus, by that point I was getting interesting in seeing if they actually could pull off the whole substance-free film thing.

thundercatkp said...

Andrew,

I watched this movie a few days ago...it wasn't great but...it did leave me wanting a suit with LED lights...they looked cool.

I've never seen the original one, I'm wondering if it's on Netflix.

AndrewPrice said...

thundercatkp, That would be a cool suit! LOL!

I'm not sure if it's on Netflix, but it's worth checking out. Its effects are definitely dated and it's not a super complex movie, but it's a solid movie that's worth seeing.

tryanmax said...

The difference between Flynn and Zen Bridges probably caught my attention because, in typical fashion for myself, I watched Tron 1.0 and Tron 2.0 back-2-back. If I had allowed any time to pass between them, I probably wouldn't have noticed. And again, there is the mystery of what living inside a computer does to psyche. Maybe we should ask some WoW players?

tryanmax said...

Also, if it give you any clues as to how the sequel stacks up to the original, Legacy is available on Netflix streaming, but the original is only available on physical disc. The rule-of-thumb is that nothing good is available streaming.

AndrewPrice said...

LOL! I don't know that you can actually talk to WoW players unless you venture into the game. ;)

I never really thought about that with Netflix, but it does seem to be true, doesn't it? I have noticed that the good stuff that does come available on streaming doesn't stay very long.

T-Rav said...

I heard lots of bad things about it from friends when it came out and decided not to go watch it. Sounds like I saved a few brain cells that day.

I never saw the actual TRON either, and it's kind of hard for me to grasp why it became embedded in pop culture. I understand that it was very advanced for its time and so on, but I don't really get it. I guess TRON and Transformers are the two things from the '80s or whenever that I just draw a total blank on. If that wasn't the case, maybe I would feel something about doing a remake, the same way I might have been interested in going to see the movie version of Transformers. Instead, it's a giant "meh" for me.

T-Rav said...

Also, one of your comments got me thinking: If the director had to choose between Sam Worthington and a store mannequin for the lead, who would they have gone with? ;-)

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Tron was never big. It had about the same impact as The Black Hole. It's big for film/sci-fi aficionados, but no one in the wider public saw it. And really the only reference I ever remember to it in pop culture was in a Simpson's episode where they all say they haven't seen it (except Homer and the Chief).

Lately, there's been a marking push for the new one, but that's about it.

AndrewPrice said...

T-Rav, Tomato... tomato. I'd go with the stone because you can pay it less.

I have to say, I've never seen a more emotionless actor in my life and yet they keep jamming him into leading roles for some reason.

AndrewPrice said...

Here's the Tron scene from the Simpsons: LINK

tryanmax said...

T-Rav,

Don't feel bad. Somehow I entirely missed out on the Thundercats phenomenon. Instead, I latched onto SilverHawks, another Rankin/Bass with essentially the same premise, except with birds and set in space.

On Tron, I remember seeing a couple of times as a kid when it was aired on the Disney channel, but I remember thinking it was kinda boring. It was only later as an adult and animation aficionado that I could really appreciate the technical achievement. If you are interested, there's a lot of "making of" stuff on the original Tron on YouTube. Look, here's one with Walter Cronkite!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, In many ways, Tron called out for a remake because it's premise was so potentially complex and deep and because it has everything else you can ask for in a film -- action, neat effects, complex motivations, etc.

So I would have loved to have seen a genuine remake. But somehow, when they made this remake, they managed to lose all of that.

USArtguy said...

I was hyped up when saw the original Tron's debut, but was disappointed. Yes, it was landmark animation for the time and, more interestingly, it came at a point in our history when the personal computer was still a new thing, which in itself was very intriguing. But I felt the story left a lot to be desired then. I remember feeling the original was a 20 minute story dragged out to fill an hour and a half. The ads I saw for Tron: Legacy looked like more of the same. I didn't even want to see it months later at the discount theater.

AndrewPrice said...

USArtguy, I like the original Tron a lot, but I'm clearly in the minority on that.

I agree with you that the story is a little light for the run time, but it also does need to be pointed out that the film was aimed at kids and so getting much more complex would have been difficult.

The new one, is much worse in that regard, by the way. It's a 2 minute story stretched out to two hours.

Just your Average Monkey said...

I like Shiny

AndrewPrice said...

Shiny's nice, but big and shiny's better.

USArtguy said...

"...a 2 minute story stretched out to two hours"

lol. Touché!

I saw a short film at an Astronomy convention back in 1998. It was about niche technology, that is technology that filled a gap between two more dominant technologies. Most of them lasted only a few years at best. I'd like to see it again, but I don't remember the name of it.

Referencing the time when Tron was released, (when the personal computer was still a new thing) made me think a neat article would be how certain films either took advantage of the new tech at the time or, like Tron, made the whole movie revolve around it.

I don't recall which Bond film it was, but I distinctly remember the audience being wowed by how cool it was when he looks at his "LED" wrist watch. That's an example of a niche technology. Products with LEDs were everywhere and in everything until people realized they sucked batteries dry in days, then LCDs became huge.

It would probably take a lot of research, but it would be a cool article.

thundercatkp said...

Tryanmax

Thundercat phenomenon...what's that???? j/k LOL :)



Andrew,

Shiny things are distracting...but really fun to look at.

AndrewPrice said...

USArtguy, That's a fascinating point and it would make for an interesting article though I suspect it will be very hard to come up with a list of such films. Let me think about it -- and if you would like to take a shot at such an article, please let me know, I'd be happy to post it.

Two films that spring to mind in that regard, by the way, are Hackers and Lawnmower Man.

Hackers took place right at the point when computers were just starting to hit desktops and people were only beginning to hear of viruses and worms. And they basically turn the whole experience into a videogame-like experience where hackers and security guys fight each other like they're in a game to kick the other off the system.

Lawnmower Man happened right when virtual reality became the big thing. What I think was interesting about that one was how dated the film felt even a few months later when their version of virtual reality turned out to be just silly.

AndrewPrice said...

thundercat, That's why you can always make a profit selling The Big Shiny!

Individualist said...

Just a quick note Andrew.

The We are cyber Samarai..

We are the Keyboard Cowboys line from Hacker was almost lifted verbatim from a novel by William Gibson. IT may have been Nueromancer but I think I forget the title. I remembered the line however.

Gibson is noted as one of tghe groundbreakers in CyberPunk science fiction.

Average Monkeys said...

Andrew

If it is big then we can't get our hands out of the vase and then we will be stuck.....

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, That's interesting because the computer they keep talking about hacking in the film is a "Gibson."

I never knew there was a connection to Gibson in the film. I did know that all the hacker names they use were the names of real hackers though.

AndrewPrice said...

Average Monkey, Stick to bananas. They're safer! ;)

rlaWTX said...

the good thing about this movie was that only part of it was 3D, so I could watch most of it w/o the glasses and not miss much (3D makes me motion sick - I made the error of seeing Avatar - yeah, I know - and was a miserable puppy!)

a lovely waste of time and money...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, It's my understanding that about 10% of people simple can't see the 3D effects and another 10-15% get sick from watching them. I think they're gimmick that will slowly disappear from theaters again.

"a lovely waste of time and money" is a great way to explain this film!

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