Thursday, March 18, 2010


Like most geeks on the internet, I recently watched the trailer for the upcoming Tron sequel and nearly shat my pants by how cool it looks. It looks to be both innovative and visually stunning, while still remaining utterly faithful to the original. After all, both Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner signed on, so it must have some promise, right? And this has to be oddest follow up any actor has ever made after winning a best Actor Oscar. But that's what makes Jeff Bridges so cool, man.

Anyway, if I was going to be excited about this new Tron, I figured it would behoove myself to rewatch the first one. I hadn't seen it since it first came out in 1982, though to be sure most of my memories are based on the videogame that followed. I remember the blue guys and I remember the discs or whatever, but my main memory is of the light cycle scene that was recreated in the game. That was awesome.

But that's what Netflix is for, right? For watching movies like Tron that no normal person would ever need to have any use for. What, I'm going to walk into my local Blockbuster and ask, "Do you have Tron on DVD? Because I want to spend St. Patrick's Day watching that!"

Long story short... this is one weird damn movie. I'm going to go ahead and say this is one of the strangest -- if not the strangest -- movies I've ever seen. Visually, it's completely surreal and unlike anything that had ever been made at the time or anything that has ever been made sense. The film takes place "inside the world of computers" and the incredible contrast between the "real" world and the fantasy world of the computers is, all things considered, incredibly well done, if a little dated. The computer effects still look really good in places, and some of the visual ideas are incredibly brilliant and beautiful. The action sequences in particular are stunning, though too few and far between to call this any kind of action movie. Most of the film is plodding and paced around characters standing around, looking off into the scenery.

And it's still all about the light cycle. This is still one of the coolest scenes from any movie:

But, for the most part, the film makes no sense. And I don't just mean because it's fantasy, but because it's so poorly written, badly directed, and oddly edited that it almost seems as if no two scenes go together or follow any real, logical order. I'm all for leaving things mysterious and having certain questions left without answers, but if I'm confused throughout the entire movie because the script reveals nothing right down to providing proper motivations for the characters, I'm just going to get annoyed. Worse, I'm going to get bored. There's just never any real sense of conflict in this film, nor is the quest ever explained to any real extent that would make anybody care about anything that's happening. Throw into that the fact that the film makes no sense visually as well and you've got a huge mess of a film... but at least it's got those light cycles.

And it has Jeff Bridges, who seemed to be just as confused while he was making the film as I was while watching it. He still gives it his all in every scene he's in, giving an awesomely fun performance even though the film around him was constantly letting him down and giving him little to do. Just watching him walk through the scenery at times with that goofy look on his face was entertaining. Jeff Bridges is awesome.

From a tech point of view, it'd be interesting to know how savvy with computers the filmmakers were. Other than the fact that this film had computers and a few terms like "ram" thrown in here and there, this film was way too fantastical for me to think the writer had anything more than a passing knowledge of anything tech related. I'm willing to bet this film was even written on a typewriter. Obviously computers were used to make the still stunning special effects, but you'd think one of those programmers would've spoken to the director about how the world they created to take place in the computers was completely and utterly childish and stupid.

But I'm still going to see the sequel... because Jeff Bridges is in it. I'm sure he's wonderful in that movie where he won the Oscar, but all in all I just want to watch him ride a light cyle.

1 comment:

stupescommaruth said...

i'm thinking you need to use more "shat my pants" and "skull fuck" verbiage in the work setting, even if it's technically unprofessional. I have been giggling all day at this.