Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tron: Legacy Review

Jonesy: To start off, I was disappointed by this movie overall. I did not care for the script whatsoever; however, I was very impressed with the visuals. They were perfect. How about you?

Javi: I liked it, despite its many flaws. I didn’t come in with a lowered expectation, but I also didn’t come in thinking there was going to be snappy dialogue. I had the biggest problem with the clunky way that the lines were delivered and the inconsistent way that the actors were acting.  But I honestly liked it. I think it touched in on a lot of themes but never got a chance to develop, which was a shame. It looked pretty. They only worked with 3 or 4 different colors but made it look better than Avatar in my opinion.

Jonesy: Aesthetically, what they did was amazing. What I thought was interesting is how they use shapes and geometry to create a very specific world. About the dialogue, I didn’t expect great dialogue either, but with all of the time and money they spent on making the movie look good, you should make me care for the story and characters, which I didn’t.

Javi: Going into story, it honestly felt like a natural continuation of the original, which you haven’t seen. It upped the ante. In the first movie, the main characters fight so one evil program wouldn’t take over a company, and in the sequel, the “real” world might be affected. I will say, what I call “The Daft Punk” scene was the most useless part of the movie.

Jonesy: But it introduced the best character in the movie for me, Zuse (Michael Sheen). But yes in the grand scheme of the movie, it was a very unnecessary scene

Javi: It was the one point of the movie where the momentum stopped. And fine, it propels the movie into its climax, but it could have been done in a more efficient and snappy way. Once you get into the logistics of it, why the hell do programs want to get drunk?

Jonesy: Then you could get into the philosophical questions of are they programmed that way or did they evolve?

Javi: No they’re programmed like that, they didn’t develop those feelings. The only ones that evolve are the ISOs, such as Quorra. All of the others are Flynn creations.

Jonesy: Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) or CLU? Or are they the same?

Javi: They’re technically the same. The other programs that aren’t ISOs are all programmed in a specific way.

Jonesy: Well Flynn created CLU in his own image, just like God. Whoa deep.

Javi: And who fell from grace? Just like humans?!

Jonesy: Did we just get to another level where it’s a Jesus allegory like in the Matrix?  Anyways, a big issue I had was I didn’t like Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund). I understand what they were trying to do with him because it felt like he had seen Transformers too many times and tried to copy Shia LaBeouf, where he’s a rebel without a cause, riding a motorcycle to look cool, and has a bunch of snarky one liners. He came across as a dude bro, and when finally meets his dad (Kevin Flynn), I didn’t really feel anything.

Javi: See, I felt something because I had seen the first movie, and I was invested in the characters already, so I was able to feel more for Kevin than Sam for that reason.

Jonesy: I could have forgiven the fact that I didn’t feel anything because I hadn’t seen the first movie, but since Disney went out of their way to make sure that the audience knew they didn’t need to see the first one to understand this one, those emotions were lost.

Javi: My favorite character in this movie was Quorra (Olivia Wilde), not only was it because she was Olivia Wilde, but she was the most consistent. She acted naively and spoke with a juvenile demeanor with child like wonder. Whereas, Jeff Bridges sounds like The Dude half of the time; it was bugging me! “Oh you’re blowing my Zen, Sam!”

Jonesy: There were too many The Dude references.

Javi: Yes, Bridges’s tone was very reminiscent of that character. But how was Bridges going to play Flynn, like a hippie meditating? Or this slacker dude? And the same goes for Sam he was inconsistent in the way he was played. First he was a badass daredevilish-superhero dude, then the angsty kid, and then The Reluctant Hero but none of them felt like they were parts of the same character.

Jonesy: I liked the portrayal of Jeff Bridges’ CLU. I thought that was really well done.

Javi: Just the way they use his voice…I’m not sure if it was modified, but Bridges seemed to be doing a younger version of his voice. I hope those were his vocal skills, and then maybe he can have a career with voice acting in Pixar movies.

Jonesy: I loved the motorcycle fight, and it was probably my favorite scene. I felt like I was in Mario Kart. I loved how they used the levels and colors; it was so innovative, and is probably one of the best actions scenes I’ve seen this year.

Javi: After seeing both movies, it did seem a little ridiculous how LEGACY mimicked TRON in terms of the sequence of events. It was almost verbatim to how in the original Kevin gets captured, is confused as hell, gets set up in the world while questioning what’s going on, he gets forced to do a disc fight, and eventually has a light cycle race followed by escape. The only difference is the actors and the updated visuals.

Jonesy: I have issues with movies like these, where the main character gets thrown into another world. I hate how they have to fight, and somehow they automatically know how to do everything? Like how did Sam know what to do with the disc in the arena? I know he saw his opponent do it, but what if there was a certain way of throwing it? Or the light cycle stick… how did he know to jump to make it appear? I know you learn the control schemes in video games, which button does what, but it takes time to learn these things, and you always have to die a few times to get the hang of it.

Javi: I will say the excuse for the light cycle is that he saw the other guys doing it plus he already was a motorcycle expert apparently.

Jonesy: It’s just an annoying aspect, where everyone is an expert for anything all of a sudden, or that the main character isn’t ever scared. If I was him, in that situation, and I didn’t know what would happen, I’d be frightened, and not making dumb one liners like, “let’s play.”

Javi: I guess it’s supposed to be more believable because he’s supposed to be crazy, like when he jumped off of the building in the beginning.

Jonesy: What was your favorite scene?

Javi: The army scene a.k.a. “The clone wars scene”. I kind of dug the movie from when they get to Clu’s command ship till to the end; it was very non-stop. I’ll say in terms of the story, Tron was horribly underused. His role is one we have seen before in many fantasy and sci-fi stories, but his particular pay-off was lackluster. I understand that the first movie was named TRON for a reason, and  they have to keep the name in order to create a franchise.

Jonesy: Since I haven’t seen the first movie, I wouldn’t know why the movies were called TRON and TRON LEGACY. The significance was not explained.

Javi: They sacrificed a lot just so it could be open for a sequel, and that bothered me. There were little aspects that felt open ended, but at the same time, it did have a beginning, middle, and end. The attaching LEGACY to the title makes me feel that if there are more Tron movies, then the LEGACY name will have greater meaning. Even though you didn’t believe the father/son relationship, I loved their banter, and the dinner scene is appropriately awkward. It does reinforce your point which makes Sam more dislikeable because he just seems like a bratty Bruce Wayne going “Oh no Daddy went missing, so instead of training with ninjas I’m gonna get a rescue dog!” Let’s go ahead and bring that most of the aerial ships looked like Star Wars ships. There were ones that looked like an Imperial Shuttle, and Clu’s command ship looked like the Tentative IV Blockade Runner at the beginning of A New Hope.

Jonesy: The fact that I could tell which ships they seemed to be ripping off was troublesome, but then I had a bigger issue with the lightsaber-type sticks.

Javi: As a side note, since this has been such a big part of the movie, what did you think of the soundtrack?

Jonesy: I really enjoyed it. I loved the music with the visuals. It reminded me of movies like The Social Network and How to Train Your Dragon which had great soundtrack, and added with the visuals, just adds to the experience. Your thoughts, since I know you’ve wanted to write a piece on the soundtrack?

Javi: Here are two different thoughts. As a standalone soundtrack, I didn’t like it as much; not because it was bad, but because it was disappointing. You do get all of these great tracks that are very moody, electronic, and cool, but the biggest fault is that the songs needed to be longer. I also feel if you had given any of the awesome composers we heard this year the instructions to take a standard orchestral score and add some synthesizers and drum machines, you would still end up with the same soundtrack. It’s just that there’s a stigma to it because of Daft Punk, and their name is the biggest reason for it getting attention. With the soundtrack coupled with movie however, I felt it was very well integrated. Big problem  was that it was very up front and pronounced in the mix. I wouldn’t put it as one of my favorite soundtracks of this year only because of the latent disappointment.

Jonesy: Overall impression is TRON LEGACY the prettiest and best looking movie this year. I don’t like the story and dialogue whatsoever. I won’t be seeing this movie again. I would recommend this to people that are interested in seeing how it looks. This is a movie to see in the theater. But if you’re on the fence, then I couldn’t recommend this to you. Oh, and I did like the 3-D once they were in the grid world. I thought it was used well, but I will say that it sucks the “real world” part wasn’t in 3-D. It would have been fun to have a cheesy message to put on your 3-D glasses in the middle of the movie instead of having a message at the beginning.

Javi: It's very misleading to advertise that the whole movie as being 3-D, and I feel if people pay for a full 3-D price, then they should ask for their money back. Overall though, I enjoyed it even with the flaws, and I’m very aware of the bad dialogue and weird acting. With the story, we have seen this movie before, but that’s not a legitimate complaint as long as you’re creating a great version of the same story. I’d recommend it as long as people know what they’re getting into. If you go in with right expectations it should be a good time.

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