Saturday, March 5, 2011

Additional thoughts on Tron: Legacy

I went with Jenwa to see Tron: Legacy in the cheap theater, and I have some additional thoughts to add to my review.

Again, I was really impressed by the visuals, and this time, because I wasn't so immersed in the story, I was able to savour the visuals. Two particular details really stuck out for me. Firstly, in the real world, the light bled a little, giving me the impression that it was filmed with digital cameras, such as the Red One camera. I was reminded of Collateral a lot, or of Fincher's later films (some of which were filmed with the Red One). It's a striking style that isn't utilized enough. Digital film lacks the grain of 35mm and it can't quite keep up with motion or light, but the colour and resolution is far better. Anyway, that's my nontechnical opinion regarding digital film.
The second detail that struck me was the simulated effects of light in the scenes on The Grid. Instead of having light make lens flares, as in the Star Trek reboot, the director has the light mimic the reflection of light on glass, as if The Grid is behind a computer screen. It's a subtle effect. Because it's not nearly as distracting as lens flares, and the mimicry never calls attention to itself, it's very appealing.

I saw this movie first in the IMAX theatre, and I was disappointed in the 3D effects. The field of depth wasn't anywhere near as deep as in Avatar, and just like in all 3D movies, I got so used to the 3D that it was not noticeable by the halfway point. In my second go-around, I wanted to avoid 3D so that I could enjoy the colours better. However, that was not meant to be. I saw it again in 3D, but this time, I purposefully removed my glasses for the 2D scenes, and I have to say, it was better in 2D. I don't care if part of the movie was filmed in 3D, because it's just not that noticeable.
Colour plays such an important role in this movie that the 3D damages the experience by muddying up the image and dulling the colours. I am not an opponent of 3D movies. In fact, I've seen many and most of them entertain me, but not quite enough to justify the exaggerated price tag. It's a fad, and it will pass. I'm going to be more choosy about which films I see in 3D.
Tron: Legacy was better in 2D, which means to me, that I didn't have to fucking wait until February to see it. Oh well.

The character of Tron plays a huge role in both the original and the sequel. A huge role. But in the sequel, we only see his face for a few moments, and it's all in flashback. If the makers of this film went to the bother of de-aging Jeff Bridges (a special effect that is both impressive and unnerving - thanks to the uncanny valley), why didn't they give Tron more face time? This sort of leads into my next point, but I'll get to it in a second. Tron's change in behaviour, both leading up to and then occurring through the movie, aren't detailed enough. If he's so important, why not let the character's arc breathe a little?

Another hour of material could have easily been added to this movie and I would've been happy. Here is a movie that's shouting for an extended version. First and foremost, more screen time for Tron (see the above point). We never see his face, and we should. We should see what happens to him, slowly but surely. There could be more exploration of the Grid itself, rather than just the games and the bar from The Matrix: Reloaded. There's so much that's implied by little things here and there, and you could easily expand on things. Maybe not add a character, but just have the cast explore the world a little bit more.

The technobabble is ludicrously inane upon the second viewing. Isomorphic algorithms? What the fuck does that mean? By strict definition, an algorithm is a way to calculate a function, and isomorphism is a type of mapping that shows relationships between two objects. Therefore, a self-aware program with biodigital DNA is not a mapping of two different functions. That doesn't mean anything. Oh well.
There's a line where Flynn hears about Wi-Fi and proclaims that he thought of wireless linking of digital devices in '85. No shit, Flynn, anybody who knows what radio waves are was working on wireless technology. We had fictional wireless devices since before Flynn was born, so shut up.

Overall, I fucking loved the movie a second time. It's amazing that the movie managed to live up to my ridiculous expectations. Now, let's start working on a sequel, Disney.

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