Community, Film

TRON: Legacy

I almost don’t want to say how much I liked TRON: Legacy. Going into a film cold is always the best way to see it. Although there were doubts from numerous well known critics, with that in mind, did it still live up to my expectations?

Absolutely.

After a long, long, long wait for many dedicated fans out there, TRON: Legacy has finally been unleashed on screens across the world. As with most highly anticipated properties, a considerable number of fans took the opportunity to catch the film at midnight—some brave souls like myself and a few of my newly met peers, even sat through 14 hours leading up to the midnight screening.

When I arrived, I ended up being first in line, and in only an hour or so, another person (David M.) joined the anticipated event. After a few hours of waiting, the line starts to get numerous fans with their own chairs to make the wait less painful.

Now as midnight was creeping, 92.3FM radio station and Walt Disney Pictures teamed up to create this midnight event into an even more spectacular evening. There were glow sticks/bands, rare and exclusive TRON pins handed out, and best of all, the cosplayed Sirens from Walt Disney Pictures were walking around and taking pictures with the fans waiting on line. I have to admit, Walt Disney Pictures had marketed the movie really well.

Photo credit: Amanda Schwab

I think I was given the opportunity to brag a bit about being first that night. Walt Disney Pictures provided an exclusive glow-in-the-dark TRON tee and presented me to take photos with the Sirens for the dedication put towards the anticipated film. I did have a close friend of mine, David C. who showed up around 9 pm, to the line and you can tell in everyone’s minds that he isn’t getting a good seat… At least, not until they saw he was with me.

But… there were some complications too, and I think to make it kinda fun, I’ll have a rewritten lyrics that I wrote to Fresh Prince of Bel-Air Intro.

Now, this is a story all about how
My life got flipped-turned upside down
And I liked to take a minute
Just sit right there
I’ll tell you how I became the uncrowned king of AMC

In south of Brooklyn born and raised
On the computer was where I spent most of my days
Chillin’ out maxin’ relaxin’ all cool
And all waitin’ on people upstairs in IMAX 13
When a couple of guys
Who were up to no good
Startin makin trouble for the rest of us
I got in one lil quarrel and the guys were wordless
I said ‘You’re movin’ to the end or you’re neva comin’ back’

I whistled for a cheer and when it came near
The sirens said fresh and discs in their hands
If anything I can say, this cat is rare
But I thought, ‘Now forget it’ – ‘Yo homes to IMAX 13’

I waited up by the theater from 8 or 9
And I pointed to my friend ‘Yo homes take ya picture’
I looked at my kingdom
I was finally there
To sit on my throne as the uncrowned king of AMC

I have to say, you experience many different and crazy scenarios while waiting on line for midnight screenings. But now, to get back into perspective.

AMC Lincoln Square has teamed up with the Midwest Gaming Classic to trick out its midnight event with arcade games, prizes, collectibles and trivia to get the audience in the right mindset just before the film begins. In addition, to playing the soundtracks from “TRON” and “Legacy” throughout the theater before the show, there was a 30-minute trivia that occurred to test the audience’s “TRON” knowledge. The questions include factoids on the original “TRON,” “Legacy,” computers and gaming.

Dimming lights? Check. IMAX 3D glasses? Check.

WARNING!!! – Contains spoilers below. Do not read if you have yet to see the film and wish to avoid, well, being spoiled.

Mere seconds into TRON: Legacy, the film sucks its audience in. We hear the voice of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) explaining The Grid, a digital space he created years ago in the first TRON film, and the camera swoops in to reveal that he’s describing it to his son, Sam. The year is 1989 and we, the audience, have our focal point. For both us and Sam, so much time has passed since the groundbreaking first film, we welcome the reminder of exactly what world we are in and when Kevin Flynn disappears, we’re just as curious as Sam as to his whereabouts.

Of course, we as the audience knows where he went. He’s spent years on The Grid, a computer generated blend of black, blue and orange hues which is the setting for most of TRON: Legacy. It’s really the stuff that happens before the film that hits The Grid and really sets the tone. Flashbacks and news stories tell the story of Kevin Flynn’s rise, disappearance and set up an intriguing new world. In this world, the grown up Sam (Garret Hedlund) is rebellious and a bit of a brat. We follow him around a bit, collecting data at a pace that simultaneously resets our TRON memory while keeping the mystery at the forefront. So, once Sam makes his way onto The Grid in search of dear old Dad, we’re emotionally invested and ready for a ride.

If it’s anything, TRON: Legacy is most certainly a ride. It hits the ground running with almost non-stop action for the first third of its running time. This is when we see Disc Wars, Light Cycles and all that good stuff you’ve seen from the trailers. Plus, the visuals are awe-inspiring. Then the introduction of Quorra (Olivia Wilde) marks the beginning of a plateau as we’re force fed obligatory expositional dialogue trying to explain the plot. “All your questions will be answered,” Quorra tells Sam and that’s where TRON: Legacy has its first hiccup. Those answers largely come in one scene which feels clunky and confusing. Still, Wilde’s wide-eyed performance and glimpses of Bridges help the film power through until the pace picks up again.

To describe any film as “a roller coaster” is a complete cliché, but TRON: Legacy is almost begging for it. Director Joseph Kosinski, has constructed the film as such: There’s the quick build at the beginning, a whole bunch of action at the front line, a lull in the middle and an exciting twist-n-turn finish. Like a roller coaster, the slow parts are forgivable because the ride is so much fun and that’s what TRON: Legacy is, one of the most fun films of the year. Its biggest flaw though, back to that pesky roller coaster analogy, is that nothing changes by the end.

What does move through to success is the score by Daft Punk. The electronic super stars do an Oscar worthy job of combining pulse pounding electronic beats with hummable themes and bombastic orchestral arrangements. The resulting music is the fuel that fires all of TRON: Legacy and even in scenes that feel superfluous, the score is always there to keep it interesting.

Admittedly, you have to forgive TRON: Legacy for a few things in order to truly enjoy it. The CGI on the young Jeff Bridges character, Clu, isn’t always perfect. For many people, this might be too much to forgive and, most of the time, I’d be one of these people. This time, for some reason, I’m not. The world of TRON: Legacy, with its incredible Matrix-esque visuals and fascinating story, sucked me in making the problems melt away. The film is simply too much fun to care.

So, I have to say that TRON: Legacy is every bit of epic and thrilling adventure you were hoping for and that Walt Disney Pictures have promised to deliver for several years in managing to do justice to its source material without being a slave to it. It also has all the flaws you’ve, unfortunately, come to expect from a big budget blockbuster. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome time at the movies. Forgive and have fun.

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