December 20, 2010

Derezzing Tron: Legacy

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Brad Johnson @ 4:59 pm

Tron Legacy
I didn’t exist when Tron hit theaters twenty-eight years ago, but elements of the film so permeate pop culture that it’s impossible not to be familiar with it, even if you’ve never seen it. When Tron: Legacy trailers began to disperse across the internets, intriguing me with their dark Daft Punk soundtrack and impressive amounts of shiny, I made it my business to go seek out the original film, so that I might be prepared to digest the sequel. Having seen Tron Guy and lightcycles and old jokes from The Simpsons and Family Guy, I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.

It was weird. My impression was distinctly that the film would have been received very different in 1982, but now, as a twenty-something in 2010, there was a real problem. Nevermind dated effects; Tron was a film that only made sense in the loosest way, with simplistic and sometimes unclear ideas. The world of Tron was one that it wasn’t easy to grasp, because the film doesn’t really tell you what that world is. There’s no mythology there, only the bare bones of a concept to fuel a special-effects adventure.

I walked into Tron: Legacy looking for the concepts and ideas of the original film to be expanded and developed into a modern story that would satisfy my need for detail, for understanding, and for a mythology that simply didn’t exist in the original film. Sadly, Tron: Legacy makes a tradition of vagaries and half-ideas, equally unformed and unsatisfying.


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