Thursday, December 16, 2010

Movie Review - TRON: Legacy

There was a moment early in TRON: Legacy that my husband turned to me and said, “Holy Hell am I ever glad I’m not trapped in a videogame. If I was Sam I would have committed suicide by now.” He was joking, of course, but his reaction illustrated how difficult Sam’s task was.

If you’ve seen the original TRON (I hadn’t) you’ll know that Sam Flynn played by the oh-so-easy-on-les-yeux Garrett Hedlund (the young actor from Troy who looks like Brad Pitt and who got his throat slit accidentally by Eric Bana’s Hector) is the son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). In the 1982 film, the elder Flynn created a program called CLU, his digital doppelganger, as well as the do-gooder program, TRON, to help him create a digital Utopia.

For no apparent reason, old-man Flynn was sucked into the digital underworld where he fought CLU (who turned to the dark side) to stay alive for two decades on the deadly grid. In TRON: Legacy, Sam somehow ends up in getting “sucked” into the same game and valiantly goes to rescue daddy-o, who he hasn’t seen since childhood…and who he thought abandoned him.

That be the plot. I wish there were more.

Here’s the good stuff. The soundtrack. In a word - AWESOME. Buy it, download it. Listen to it. Love it. I loved it. At the media screening on Monday night the sound-check ran late so the film started an hour late. It was well worth it. The El Capitan Theater in L.A. shook and rocked and rolled …

The special effects are spectacular – it’s so pretty and crisp. It’s like living a tidy ice-house lit up by the Northern Lights. During the Lightcycle race (think chunky motorcycle covered with rows of Christmas lights), the screen is filled with trails of ice blue and green and purple and red. Uber-modern.

The costumes. Sam Flynn and Quorra a program who helps Kevin Flynn (Olivia Wilde from House) wear skin-tight motocross-inspired suits that light up. She wears platform shoes with cutout heels and some of the guys are in corsets. It’s so stylish, with shades of Barbarella though not the grit of Mad Max or Bladerunner. All in all, the wardrobe has the elegance of The Matrix. And Tronnies (Tronites?) can have a piece of that elegance by shelling out. There’s a clothing collection designed by Opening Ceremony (available in West Hollywood and online) and jewelry designed by Tom Tom.

The actors. Jeff Bridges. It’s obvious he’s having a blast. As the aging and trapped Kevin Flynn, he walks around the grid in flowing white robes and with one touch of his hand shows how much power he still has. He is the creator after all. But he’d rather not show his power. He’d rather find Zen, man.

I'm a fan of Olivia Wilde primarily because her mom is the amazing journalist/producer Leslie Cockburn who wrote a great book Looking for Trouble in which she chronicles, among other things, the destruction of Somalia while six months preggers with Olivia, voyages to Afghanistan and Haiti, and befriending Pablo Escobar. Cockburn was Peter Jenning’s producer and she co-wrote a book with her husband upon which The Peacemaker (with George Clooney) is based.

Wilde delivers one of my favorite lines in the film as Quorra to Sam: “Do you know Jules Verne?” I won’t say anymore. Let’s just say that she needs to get out more.

Michael Sheen (The Queen, 30 Rock, Underworld) who plays Castor is terrific although I didn’t really understand why his character was in the film. Is there any role this actor can’t conquer? He just consumes every scene he is in especially when he’s in a top hat and tails and singing with glee.

All in all, TRON: Legacy is a treat for your eyes thought not necessarily for your mind. It won’t be fun to watch on a small screen like say your iPhone or DROID or even on your 60-inch home telly.

Oh, and not to forget that first fight-to-the-death scene on the grid (that my husband referred to) where the newly arrived Sam fights a growling masked goon/program. Call me chicken but I’d rather jump off the grid by choice and shatter into millions of bits and bytes, than have one of those freakishly pretty Frisbees of death cut through my flesh. But I’m not Sam and my dad’s not trapped in a videogame.

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