Tron Legacy: A Milkshake for Your Eyes

tron Tron Legacy: A Milkshake for Your Eyes

Tron: Legacy in a sentence: If you could live your life wearing Pop Rocks tinted contacts lenses and a hearing aid that played classical-techno symphonies jointly arranged by Mozart and Lady Gaga, you would be in the Tron universe, or as they call it, the Grid.

What made me want to force my body into my XBOX:

Sound and visual fury, signifying everything. Tron: Legacy is the most visually stunning piece of cinema I have ever watched.

Colors and light are manipulated in ways that I hadn’t seen even attempted since Disney’s Fantasia. You could drink a case of Absinthe and rub your eyes for hours in hopes of inducing a brilliant, organic fireworks show from your retinas—but it wouldn’t come close to this.

I could wax steam punk poetic about Tron: Legacy, but feel the best way to communicate its awesomeness is by addressing three common criticisms I have read from film critics, who seem hell-bent on attacking any sci-fi or fantasy film not directed by Christopher Nolan.

1. The film is unbelievable—humans who are teleported to a computer world would not eat food or bleed.

So you bought that humans could be transported to the grid by what appears to be a 1985, long-scoped Kodak camera. But the food breaks your suspension of disbelief?

Why did you come to this movie?

2. The plot is too simplistic and the dialogue is non-sensical.

For me, the plot was refreshingly simple for a sci-fi fantasy flick—boy gets sucked into world, boy confronts big bad evil, boy and long lost father must stop big bad evil from destroying two worlds.

I didn’t have to sit through hours of mindless subplots or wait seven films for the protagonist to take the initiative and try to defeat the big bad guy.

And the dialogue—its prototypical, hippie Zen warrior Jeff Bridges speak. When he says he’s going to “knock on the sky” and see what it says, it’s wildly obvious that since he is practically the god of the Grid, he can meditate and listen in on the major happenings within it. And if you’re not willing to buy that, I again ask, why are you at this movie?

3. The characters are flat.

This is the most preposterous of criticisms. Our hero, Sam Flynn, played by Garrett John Hedlund, nails a difficult performance as someone both surprised yet ultimately accepting of what has happened to him. Additionally, he carefully walks the fine line between being a rebel without a cause and a rebel ready to stand for something greater. Kind of like mixing the DNA of Billy the Kid and Lt. Gen. Eugene Irwin, Robert Redford’s character from The Last Castle.

Jeff Bridges portrays Kevin Flynn with the same coolness, intelligence and wit that he’s exuded with the majority of his roles, from President Jackson Evans in The Contender, to The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

Finally, Olivia Wilde’s performance as Cora, Flynn’s adopted “Grid” daughter, seems to effortlessly create one of the more dynamic sci-fi, kickass chicks of all time— a character that manages to be simultaneously independent, vulnerable, naive, and wise. She is, in a way, Trinity from the Matrix, but without the fear of having your face caved in if you asked for her number.

Parts that made me want to reset the system:

CLU, the villain of the story, is Jeff Bridges, only CGI’d (computer generated imagery) to look about 25 years younger.

Though I had my doubts, the idea works when in the Grid. In fact, it adds an artificial creepiness to the villain that could not have been achieved any other way, like what Taylor Swift sounds like when they don’t CGI her voice in the studio.

That kind of creepy—just working in reverse.

But when they use the same approach for filming scenes meant to portray Kevin Flynn at a younger age, it doesn’t work as well. My bother accurately described young CGI Flynn as both Bobble Head Bridges and Gumby Jeff.

As amazing as make-up artists are at making people look younger—just look at how they can make Nicole Kidman look like she’s in her late seventies—they should have skipped the CGI face on young Flynn and used it exclusively for CLU.

Also, there is a five minute lull at 2/3 mark, where the hero and his love interest prattle on about Earth sunrises, much in the same way two Goth band kids might babble on about Mars Volta—both conversation beings an unholy marriage of self-indulgence and drivel.

Lastly, I saw it in 3-D, but I believe it would have been better in 2-D.

For realz Hollywood, until going to see films in 3-D stops making me feel like I’m wearing Ray-Bans or watching it with a terrorist kidnapping hood over my face, please make sure my theater offers me a flatter, brighter, 2-D option.

However, I am ecstatic that the soon to be released Justin Bieber film that shall not be named, which chronicles the hardships of being young and rich, will be in 3-D. That way when I projectile vomit I can more easily imagine it splashing onto his Tom Brady girl hair.

Tron Legacy’s Legacy:

If you don’t like sci-fi or films with heavy scores and visual effects, stay away. But, if you like any roller coaster at Universal Studios’ Islands of Adventure, or just pretty colors in general, I would get a 2-D ticket quickly, before this one goes off the theatrical grid.

5 Blue Memory Discs out of 5.

SIMILAR TO: The Matrix, Inception, Star Trek (2009), Blade Runner, Avatar, 2001: A Space Odyssey

NOT SIMILAR TO: Why Did I Get Married Too?, Four Brothers, Striptease, Ghost Rider, Pax

Rating: PG

Runtime: 127 min.

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