Monday, 3 January 2011

TRON: Review

Watching TRON: Legacy is like conducting  an anthropological investigation of pop culture as the film turns out to be a very interesting hybrid of themes nostalgically recalling the glorious 80’s and a very 2010 (or should I say 2011) spectacle of sounds and visuals. The moment the film begins the audience is bombarded by the synthetic sounds of the Disco Era and it is indeed the audible experience that becomes the most memorable part of the film. The design of the film is also note-worthy – it certainly resembles the aesthetical approach taken by the film's predecessor – Tron (1982), but the costumes are upgraded into sleek and sexy muscle enhancements. The costumes even though weigh in on the original designs introduced by the original movie from the 80’s, are a bit more cautious about avoiding any sexual ambiguity (with the exception of Zuse probably). The distinction between male and female is quite clearly drawn by not only exposing particular body parts but also by a very clear role played by each gender's representatives in the story. At the centre of the plot stands Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), an old patriarch, a father who disappears into a cyber reality where he is to create some wise programmes that will cure all problems troubling humanity. He is followed by his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) who is driven by a deep desire to get to know his father and follows his steps of wisdom. Sam exemplifies the willingness to sacrifice everything he has and finish the master plan imposed by his father, exemplifying by that some serious Jesus-like qualities. The duo is then joined by a female companion Quorra (Olivia Wilde), who is chosen by the patriarch to be granted a passage from the cyber world into the realms of Earth. But before the trinity leaves the cybernetic space they must face Clu (digitalised Jeff Bridges, almost believable) - a clone of Kevin who rebelled against him, as the film's jargon notes, 'many cycles ago' and builds an army of reproduced old programmes who will destroy the Creator's, as they call Kevin, world. All of this is just too similar to the Biblical mythology of God and Devil fighting over the salvation of human kind. Clu, just like Lucifer in the Biblical myth, was the wisest of the beings that the Creator has produced and as he was consumed by pride and jealousy, he decided to challenge the authority of the Creator. If the clunky script where every emotion or action needs to be reinforced by clear statements said out loud by each character was not clear enough about its intention to portray a battle between good and evil, the film’s creators prepared a set of aesthetics that will make any moral distinction childishly simple. The film embraces the light blue colours to symbolise the ‘good’ characters and juxtaposes them with diabolical red/orange colours surrounding the evil forces. It's all a bit too obvious and predictable, which is very sad because judging by the film's nostalgic look into the classic sci-fi sight and sound of the 80's, likes of THX-1138 and Blade Runner, not to mention the film's own predecessor, TRON: Legacy had a potential to become something truly unique but its stale script fails to achieve anything else than mediocre. The only entertaining character showcased in the film is Zuse, played formidably by Michael Sheen, whose sense of irony and sarcasm turns his cheesy lines into an outburst of humour and self-pity. I would not want to watch this film again, but will definitely listen to its soundtrack and look forward to Academy Awards hoping that the Daft Punk's ambitious re-enactment of the 80's will be granted an Oscar.

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