Archive for December, 2010

The Big Lebowski meets The Matrix

Posted in Review with tags , on December 23, 2010 by JonH

Given that the first Tron movie came out in 1982 and alluded to such contemporary issues as artificial intelligence, computer hacking, viruses, and digital representations of physical matter years before anyone else (i.e. The Matrix), I thought the second installment of the series, Tron: Legacy would have taken it a step further and explored things like the current dichotomy and ramifications of open source programming and operating systems like Unix, and Linux, as compared to the more profit oriented systems like Apple and Microsoft, and somehow turned that into a battle for humankind’s future. Maybe not the most original storyline, but it would have beaten the hell out of what Disney offers in this one.

Come to think of it I’m not even sure what the story was. The film opens with a creepy digital recreation of Jeff Bridges some quarter of a century earlier talking with his son, Sam (played as an adult by Garrett Hedlund) about how he’s discovered something that’s going to change the world as we know it. Everything from science and philosophy to talk shows and needle point will somehow be affected. Flynn kisses his son goodbye and then makes off for the office never to be seen again. Well, at least, that is, until Sam finds his way onto the grid 20 years later.

Aside from that there are only a few things in this movie I can be certain about: Sam is a late-twenties deadbeat who has evidently inherited his father’s aptitude for computers. Clu, Flynn’s alter ego on the grid, maintains the creepy digital youthful appearance of a thirty-year-old Jeff Bridges. Bridges characterization of Flynn comes across more like the Dude from Big Lebowski, which makes it kind of funny, but woefully destined to fail. Everyone, with the excpetion of Bridges (who doesn’t wear one), looks good in the form fitting, glow in the dark outfits. Bruce Boxleitner wears bad shoes, and something about the creation of a new life from called ISOs (Isomorphic Algorithms). Seriously, and the last part was glossed over so quickly I had to look around the theatre to see if anyone got it.

Additionally, while the movie offers pretty cool visuals it seems to suffer from pretty bad editing and character development. Characters and plot elements are introduced only to either be rendered inconsequential (i.e. Cillian Murphy’s character, Edward Dilinger Jr.) or overlooked as to create weird moments with other characters (i.e. Zuse’s reaction when he sees Quorra.)

In the end, what could have been a really great looking film with lots of depth came out as a pretty cool looking film as shallow one of the dude’s cocktails. And unfortunately for the dude this one was sucked dry and couldn’t be saved from floundering in a digital daze.