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I kept dreaming of a world I thought I'd never see.
January 13, 2011

Had a chance to catch the new Tron: Legacy a time (or two) over the holidays. Enormous fun. Like the original Tron, the whole deal hinges upon the willing suspension of disbelief that a guy can get zapped into a computer. Which is fine. And that inside the computer is a glossy little city with avant-garde nightclubs and hot chick programs. Fine, again. And the program/citizens of the city are occasionally forced to fight to the death gladiator style in an arena full of crazy games, at least one of which involve futuristic motorcycles. Way more than fine, obviously. Here's the full GBU:

The Good:

  • It's difficult to imagine a better soundtrack + movie union. Daft Punk gives everything weight, with an electronic ambience that falls right into place with the story and visuals. Read somewhere that many scenes were cut to the music, rather than the other way around. The result is powerfully effective.
  • The industrial design of "The Grid", filled with dark, crisp spaces and fantastical networks of illuminated racing stripes, was a marvel to behold.
  • Solid in all the required areas: action, special effects, and action.
The Bad:
  • The story is a little thin, but by no means terrible. Hard to notice under all the pounding music and zippy fighting. The dialogue was often more difficult to ignore. In fact, I think it could've worked fine with no dialogue at all.
  • Definitely could've done without the over-the-top Ziggy Stardust nightclub owner.
The Ugly:
  • The "photo realistic" character animation FX that puts a young Jeff Bridges up on the screen isn't fully baked. The effect as it stands today is close, but "close" in this application is not nearly good enough. The result is amazingly distracting. They should've either owned the limitations of the technology with some manner of Tron-ical explanation (e.g. he's an antiquated Dude interpretation from the time before Flynn wrote the Believable-Face upgrade, whatever). Or, keep buddy in the shadows or under one of those awesome helmets, with a single big reveal of his youthful face (and no talking). Hopefully they'll have scaled the uncanny valley in time for the 10th Anniversary Deluxe Special Edition.

See Also:
Tron Legacy Official Site
Soundtrack Official Site
Comic-Con Teaser Trailer (very interesting - no scenes from the actual movie)
Tron Legacy 8-Bit Version
Old Tron New Tron comparison video
Lightcycle design article