Review: Tron Legacy

***originally written 17 December 2010***

I want to add a strong caveat right up front on this one that I might not be the best person to take an opinion from on this movie as, for a period of about 10 minutes in the middle I think, I simply gave up, closed my eyes and had a little doze. I was that bored and disinterested. Actually, if I’m honest, the only thing that stopped me walking out about 30 minutes in was the awkwardness of having to get by other people in the row. Me and this movie did not get on.

I could go off on one and write a big flaming, overtly biased chastisement of this hollow, soulless fuckcake of a movie, but that would be boring I expect, and liable to get people’s backs up. I’m not interested really in being controversial or in trying to attack something people are going to love and enjoy. That said, I decided at the year’s beginning to review every new release I saw at the cinema, and I didn’t like this one. I didn’t like this one quite a bit.

But let’s talk about what’s good here. Because there IS good here, and good that anyone can see. Firstly, the design of the ‘Tron’ world is gorgeous throughout. You look at it and go ‘ooh’. You wouldn’t for a minute want to live there, and if you did you’d want to take quite a lot of torches or maybe a trail of breadcrumbs, but from a design perspective, gosh it’s lovely. The outfits, the vehicles, the landscapes – pure eye candy.Then there’s Olivia Wilde, who is even prettier than the world she’s given to inhabit. Super eye candy.

What else…? Umm… Oh, Michael Sheen turns up in the middle portion of the film and proves he can add David Bowie to his range of impressions…

Jeff Bridges occasionally sounds like The Dude…

And Daft Punk’s score is brilliant. It fits the tone and pace of the movie as snugly as those neon-piping suits fit their hosts. I’ll be picking up the soundtrack album at my convenience in the not-too-distant future I’m sure. It’s a little cheesy maybe, but cheesy in that particular way that Daft Punk get away with so well. In fact, if this was being sold as a 100+ minute Daft Punk music video, I’d probably have reacted much more favourably. But it’s meant to be a movie. And it’s when taken on these terms that it all falls down.

For a movie with such a simple premise really – boy attempts to rescue father from self-created prison – Tron Legacy is surprisingly obtuse. Make no mistake, this is a sequel. If you don’t already know the lingo, you’re probably going to fall behind very quickly. There’s a brief recap at the beginning, but call me stupid, I needed a bit more than that. The stakes weren’t laid out plainly enough. The world wasn’t built for me. Stuff just happened. What is Tron world? I don’t know. I didn’t see the first movie, and this one isn’t actually interested in telling me. It’s ‘digital space’ is it? What the fuck is that then? Can you die there? Don’t know. The movie completely fails to establish itself, and thus, to a newbie, voids any sense of drama or cost. What’s important? No idea. This makes all the action sequences completely redundant. I just didn’t care.

Also, whilst Garrett Hedlund might be Disney’s wet-dream idea of a leading man (all straight-lined features and neat hair) he is the single dullest person I’ve ever seen on a cinema screen in anything. He’s just awful. I actively hated him because of how relentlessly bland he was. At least Tommy Wisseau had a demented charm. It’s not that he acted badly, it’s that I couldn’t ever tell when he was trying to act at all. And the 3D? (which, by the way, is the main reason I wanted to see Tron Legacy, the assurance that THIS was the movie to prove 3D’s importance) I didn’t notice it. It added nothing.

So it’s a mess really. An endurance test of a botched ball of buggery. I could go on. I have a fair few more points, but I really don’t see the point. It’ll only anger people, and as someone who has to live with the bane of really liking Avatar, I know how tiring these rants can be. It’s going to make big money. It’s going to have fans. Fine. Just don’t ever ask me to sit through it again.

Score:  1

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