|Tron: Legacy (2010)
||[Dec. 18th, 2010|11:00 am]
Tron: Legacy was disappointing. And I was looking forward to it.
For Tron, an original film that was stunning for its vision of computing's future, Legacy was the opposite ... a paint-by-numbers effort. There simply wasn't enough conflict to sustain the story. I also saw their big twist involving a background character coming (trying to avoid spoilers here), and the way they left him in the story ... puzzling.
For the most part, I liked the new characters, especially Olivia Wilde's Quorra. She was a nice contrast to the other characters. Many of the other characters were either dull, lifeless, depressed, or angry, while Quorra carried hope, patience, trust, and a general energetic presence. I think Wilde did a great job portraying Kevin Flynn's (Jeff Bridges's) in-Grid disciple.
Other characters, well, I wasn't all that pleased. In a boardroom meeting at Encom, Cillian Murphy plays Edward Dillinger Jr. ... son of Ed Dillinger (David Warner), the nemesis from the original film. Let me get this straight ... it's 2010, you're a top international company, worth billions, and you're going to hire the son of a former employee and convict who got pinched for stealing intellectual property from Kevin Flynn, the originator of the company's success? I understand bygones be bygones, but REALLY?
Also, there was one strange scene in which we've all seen parts of it from the trailers ... Kevin's son, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) goes to meet a program who could possibly help him, going by the name of Castor (Michael Sheen). Sam is led to Castor by Gem (Beau Garrett), who was not truly outrageous. That whole sequence was ... well, bizarre.
Literally ... Barbie and Ken, about to meet ... Ziggy Stardust.
Despite that weirdness, Garrett Hedlund did a good job being Jeff Bridges's son, Sam. In fact, there were times in Legacy in which Hedlund sounded like a young Bridges. To paraphrase another Jeff Bridges character, far out, man.
There's one critique floating around about how awful Jeff Bridges's 'face-lift' looks, and I disagree immensely. The fx-work with making Bridges's younger self is amazing. They truly can do anything now. If you can make Bridges look as he did in the 1980s, then you can make a deceased actor rise from the grave. Hollywood is no longer bound by time and missing cast. That's brilliant and somewhat scary. I imagine it makes for a huge upcoming battle with companies, actors, and the rights to image and likeness.
While all of CGI-Bridges was awesome, it wasn't really necessary to the plot. Bridges's computer alter ego, CLU, could very well have had no face. I'm not sure why CLU had to be the 30-something version of Jeff Bridges.
Also disappointing with Bridges was a random interview I saw on Jimmy Fallon's show, last night. When I came home, NBC was on, and I happened upon it, not planning on watching it ... Bridges spent a large amount of time in one of the most painful (think Fallon's 'lovable' ineptitude) interviews I've seen in some time, like Conan his first NBC year, but worse. Bridges, man ... he spent the entire interview talking about True Grit. It seemed like 15 seconds were devoted to Tron: Legacy. If I'm a Disney executive, then I'd be shocked by his disinterest.
However shocked I'd be, if I was Disney, looking back, I'd have to say the executives ultimately brought disappointment upon themselves. When you have a cherished original film like Tron, plenty of time to craft a sequel, and you're willing to spend on it, hire a Christopher Nolan or the Coen Brothers to run it, not people who are relatively new at this. Obviously, Nolans and Coens were relatively new at one time, but I don't see that in Legacy's director, Joseph Kosinski, and the writers, Edward Kitsis & Adam Horowitz (from the "Lost" TV series). Kosinski handled it well enough not to ruin it, but the application was average. They also have a person named Lee Sternthal, who has one story credit on his IMDB profile ... that being Legacy. I don't get why they wouldn't hire more experienced people. "Lost" may have been a hit, but this screenplay wasn't. Anyway, despite all the inexperience, Legacy's gonna bank. If it doesn't make back its mysterious budget from box office, then rentals and merchandise will end up covering it, I'd guess.
Regardless of the film's quality, Daft Punk's score is a gem. They added a lot of orchestra to their palette for this offering, and if you're looking for a dance album, only a couple tracks fit that description. However, you can listen to the soundtrack from start to finish, and it sharpens what is otherwise a dull film. Pitchfork, you're wrong giving this soundtrack a 5.5. Stop listening to trite self-serving odes to douchebags so much.
If you're gonna see Legacy, see it in 3-D, because that's about the only reason to see it. Despite all the negativity, I did like it. It simply wasn't more than an average film. I'm just going to be way more harsh than some critics are willing to be. It's a 5 out of 10, one of the few 5s I've liked.