film review : Tron Legacy

Just saw Tron Legacy on IMAX 3D! For those who may not know I am a growed-up cyber-girl, a HUGE fan of the original Tron, and pretty obsessed with futuristic/cyberpunk films in general.

Overall I thought the movie was a great sequel and definitely delivered on the visuals. The storytelling and the dialogue specifically were okay, but a movie like this was clearly visually driven and I spent most of my brainpower sucking in as much as I could on that end.

Here are specific thoughts (mostly on styling) in general order of appearance:

I liked the development of Encom from a games software company into OSs as well. Software sharing and downloading I thought was a very timely topic to include in the movie, as was “funny videos of animals”.

There were many scenic references to the original movie and Sam Flynn hacking open the secure door to Encom from his Nokia phone was the first one I caught. In another scene that relied heavily on the original film, I was impressed by how faithfully they recreated Flynn’s arcade and the room overlooking it… even the dusty old sofa and mini-blinds were visually consistent with the original!

The 3D effects were stunning, my favorite probably being the pixelated glass shattering, and there certainly was a lot of that to enjoy.

I have to say, first thing I was disappointed by were the Siren cyber babes. I thought the styling was overly simplistic and went for obvious answers: white hair, ice blue contacts, heavy liner… mega lashes? I mean really, who came up with “let’s just put all their hair in buns”? This would have been a great opportunity for a really sick Pepi’s ‘do, or even just strands of plastic tubing blended in with the natural hair. The all-white cyber character has been done in film many times and I wish that the designers had done more to differentiate themselves from what has been done before.

Something about the ladies’ latex suits felt heavy and rigid, tho I am thankful they didn’t go the route of super-modeled boobs like in Batman Forever… no one deserves to have their nipples highlighted in vacuformed plastic!

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Faceting the chest area would have been interesting here, having their boobs mashed up and flat didn’t do much for the intended sensuality of the Sirens.

I was very disappointed with the shoes as well considering they were the focus of a major impact shot..should have gone with Alexander Wang or Raphael Young!

Alexander Wang . image source

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That said, the LED parasol: WANT WANT WANT!!

Moving on, I loved the reference to Zorg in the character design of Jarvis, Clu’s right hand man! I remember coveting a plastic skullcap when The Fifth Element came out and I want one EVEN MORE now!

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I lolled at all the captured programs that reminded me of band members from Orgy and characters from Mortal Kombat.

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I can’t forget to mention Zuse as David Bowie as Ziggy Stardust! They even went for a mullet-y comb back which I thought was an interesting styling choice and clearly intended to reference Bowie. I think the character overall could have had a sharper, richer look to him, his costume was a bit bulky and ill-defined. Awesome name reference to the computer pioneer tho:

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Now here is one of my all-time favorite movie moments: cyber-punk club scenes! The original movie had a lot of interesting and imaginative extras in the city scenes; Blade Runner and others had fun with this theme as well. Legacy sadly skimmed over this opportunity. I did drool over the silver reflective sunglasses but these characters didn’t get more than a moment in the shot and even then mostly out of focus and in the background; it looked like most of them were wearing shiny Neo cassocks… I wanted MOOOOAAARRR!!!

I think my favorite set in the movie would have to be Flynn Sr.’s digital zen abode. The rising white pixels of light around Jeff Bridges as he meditates made me tingle all over and instantly want the same for my life somehow!

I loved the EL strip along the collar of his robe (totally stealing this idea) and in general his digital-zen characterization. After 30 years, Jeff Bridges has the perfect look for this role and his zen master-cyber god angle has definitely beat out Gandalf for top robed meta-magician in my book!  The digital rock in and around his area was spectacular…and the VIEW! Can I haz?

I loved the metallic rubixcube-like objects referencing Bit, a clever wink to the original!

That said, I wished that the furniture selection had gone a little further. I get that the dude is from the real world but even in the 80s the Flynn character wasn’t into marble and old-world carving. The whole blinding white light meets classical french furniture was first done in 2001: A Space Odyssey and the designers for Tron pretty much did the same thing.

There are TONS of designers making stunning faceted dining tables and polygonal furniture and lighting..the traditional chandelier I thought was another MAJOR missed opportunity!

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This is modern furniture 101 and ALWAYS gets included in any “modern” film set. They are even included in Grandma’s Boy (in fanboy-extraordinaire JP’s room) a weed comedy, people. Can we move on please?

Picked up on a bunch of Star Wars references during the flying fight scenes, ship design (X-Wing Fighter and Imperial Shuttle) and more…after all gotta show love.

Disappointingly, I never really liked Quorra, with her Aeon Flux (live action) bob and her “I’m a vicious fighter!” attitude one second and “gee golly” girlishness the next. She just seemed to be whatever the scene called for at the moment: brave, helpless, selfless, shy, it was all over the place. Her outfit too, was ill-defined. Even Yori’s outfit from the original Tron was more body-conscious!

Still, I loved the movie and I think that the themes from the original that carried through to Legacy just go to show how ahead of its time the original film was! I’ll definitely be seeing it again before it leaves theaters; I can’t imagine the regular DVD version will feel quite as awesome.

– Ariana Paoletti

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3 comments on “film review : Tron Legacy”

  1. No mention on how awesome the Daft Punk cameo was and how they did the sound track?
    thats one thing about the movie that really got me going.

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