Geek card on the table – I was never really that much of a fan of the original Tron. Sure, there’s a hell of a lot of innovation there but it’s never going to be mistaken for a masterpiece. Going into the sequel I had the same feeling – a massive jump in terms of technology but pretty much little else. My initial gut feeling was right.
It looks gorgeous, and all of the design work, R&D and technological razzle-dazzle is up there for all to see, but it remains a somewhat soulless experience. Even more critical is its failure to really be about what the original was – it feels less like a man exploring the world of a computer than a generic science-fiction film that just happens to be inside a computer. Remove all references to the characters being programs (which makes no sense what-so-ever in the context of the film itself) and say it’s just a different dimension and you wouldn’t lose anything. Tron Legacy has very little to do with Tron itself.
The usual problems of pacing also make there presence felt, for a two hour film very little happens and when it does it’s lost amid the usual blur of jump cuts. Part of this may be down to the studios desire to make it more kid friendly (it’s PG certificate never feels threatened) but it could do with more of the imagination shown in the opening half hour where concepts such as gravity are explored in a way that would have made for a far more interesting film.
I’ve had a love / hat relationship with 3D so far. Avatar & Piranha both used different means to achieve the effect with success and it didn’t feel like a gimmick in either (unlike Clash of the Titan for instance). It doesn’t feel like a gimmick here (the 2D / 3D Real World / Tron split is well done) but it feels curiously flat – a quick check without glasses showed that the split image wasn’t that distinct to make it unwatchable without the way that Avatar was.
It’s probably worth seeing to see how they’ve pushed the envelope again, but I’m not really sure it would appeal beyond those who like to view it from an innovation point only. Certainly the story isn’t up to much.
Before this becomes to negative there is one glorious aspect to it, but unfortunately this can be experienced without the need to see the film itself. Daft Punk’s soundtrack is nothing short of superb, a bizarre mix of lush orchestra with distinctly French electronica. Much of the time I found myself concentrating on it far more than the film itself – it certainly is the most memorable aspect.
So 2010 ends with a small “meh” rather than an astounding success, roll on 2011’s incoming batch.