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Back on the grid!

On Monday night I had a last-minute opportunity to see TRON: Legacy, the culmination of 28 years of waiting for geeks everywhere (24 year wait for me, as I didn't see TRON until 1986).

So, is it worth the wait? Is they hype justified?

Short answer: Yes. Go see this movie!

I can't really write a full review without giving away plot spoilers, so instead here's a list of observations.

* If you don't already have a strong familiarity with the original, I suggest a refresher viewing. The movie seems to assume that the viewer doesn't need the back story explained, and a lot of the fun of the movie is, IMHO, in catching the many nods to the original. TRON Legacy was clearly written by fans, for fans.

* TRON is more fantasy than sci-fi. The basic premise of the TRON world totally violates the laws of physics, but that's just the way that universe works. Remember that and just go with it.

* However, the beginning and end of the movie, which take place in the real world, have a few elements that are rather far fetched. Nothing that ruins the movie, but there's some Hollywood physics going on, and apparently Encom's security staff are as loyal and selflessly dedicated as samurai! Pretty absurd, but it does move the story along.

* In retrospect, I wish I'd been spoiler averse. The trailers and preview don't give away all of the surprises, but I think it did reduce the overall impact of the movie.

* Obviously the movie is beautiful. In seeing the whole thing I'm much less bothered by the greater "realism" of the computer world, and things like weather, smoke, and rocks don't feel as out of place as I'd feared. However, I think that the TRON 2.0 video game that came out a few years ago is more visually true to the original, and I personally prefer its aesthetic sense.

* Likewise, TRON 2.0 set a high bar for originality and overall story. I think TRON Legacy meets that standard for originality, but the plot isn't as tight. It's enjoyable and introduces quite a few interesting new elements to the mythos, but the plot requires some unrealistic behavior in the real world to move the story along, which rubbed me the wrong way.

* I have a complaint about TRON Legacy that TRON 2.0 shares. Not enough tanks!

* The recognizers got the badass makeover!

* The soundtrack kicks. I had reservations about Wendy Carlos not being involved, but Daft Punk nailed it. Incidentally, a couple of the tracks are great for when you're driving 80-90 mph from Tampa to Orlando to make a last-minute screening! (Hypothetically...) My only complaint about the soundtrack is that I was hoping that it would contain at least a short riff from Carlos' TRON Scherzo. Alas, it doesn't.

* Also, there are some plot elements that deserve greater depth. There's obviously more depth than what we're shown, and I hope that the games allow further exploration.

* ENCOM OS 12 is a UNIX system! For that alone the movie wins. I can't wait to watch the terminal screens in frame advance when the Blu-Ray comes out, but I was able to spot a few commands that were correct and appropriate for what was happening in the story. *geek joy*

* The Armory scene is very obviously there just for the sake of eye candy. I'm okay with that. :-)

* They eat food? Really? Even though it's users we're watching, the idea of solid food on the Grid that looks like green beans and ham just doesn't seem right.

* Not directly related to the movie itself, but the Alternate Reality Game (ARG) viral marketing campaign for the movie has been amazing. Really well done! The central web site for it was/is http://www.flynnlives.com, but the game itself has spanned numerous web sites and had a lot of content and activities, both IRL and online games. I'll be sad to see it end.

I'm still looking forward to catching the midnight show Thursday night. I'll be there with my recognizer t-shirt and Encom badge (Group 7 access!), complete with buttons from Arcade Aid (part of the ARG) and the Flynn Lives button they were giving out at the advance screening. (Just in case there was any lingering doubt about my geekiness.) I hope to see you on the grid!


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 16th, 2010 04:05 am (UTC)
Excellent non-spoiler review, thanks! I'm looking so forward to seeing this.
Dec. 16th, 2010 08:03 am (UTC)
Glad to hear it! I'm really looking forward to the movie, and was worried that I had hyped it up in my mind too much.
Dec. 16th, 2010 06:51 pm (UTC)
Legacy viewer
Thanks for the review. I enjoyed the original and have been wondering if this would be worthwhile. You sold me. :-)
Dec. 17th, 2010 01:56 am (UTC)
I never saw the original...not yet anyway...
Dec. 19th, 2010 12:35 am (UTC)
Tron Fan no more.
While i concur on the graphical wow, I completely disagree with the general synopsis of the movie. In so few words....it was lame. It was Speed Racer all over again. Shame on Disney for this sorry attempt. This movie was meant to appeal to children from the get go. There is absolutely nothing in it for adults or teenagers what-so-ever. BTW....the CGI done on the young Jeff Bridges....absolutely retarded. If realism was the target they missed by a mile. I think Disney might get some hacktivist blowback on this one.....DO YOU HEAR ME ANONYMOUS?
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )