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Tron: Legacy

Posted in Action/Adventure, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 18, 2010 by Mystery Man

 

PLOT:

For twenty years, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) has been haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin (Jeff Bridges), an innovative software programmer and former CEO of ENCOM International. During a board of directors’s meeting before the launch of the 12th version of ENCOM’s operating system, Sam breaks in to the company’s headquarters and leaks the OS to the public for free while simultaneously uploading a malicious program into ENCOM’s mainframe. He is arrested and later released by the police. An executive consultant for ENCOM and friend of Kevin, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), propositions Sam into investigating a mysterious page originating from the long-abandoned Flynn’s Arcade. While exploring his father’s old stomping grounds, Sam discovers a hidden bunker beneath the arcade, and as he attempts to find information by hacking into his father’s computer, accidentally activates a digitizing laser which transports him to The Grid, a world existing inside the computer.

Sam is quickly captured by The Grid’s sentinels and taken to the Gladiatorial Games. After defeating his first two opponents and attempting to escape, he is pitted against Rinzler, a master of the Games. Sam is subdued and exposed as a human “user,” rather than one of the Grid’s programs. He is taken before The Grid’s leader, Clu (Jeff Bridges), a program created by and resembling Kevin Flynn, whom Sam initially mistakes for his father. Clu forces Sam into a lightcycle battle, which he nearly wins before Clu destroys his lightcycle. As Clu makes his approach to kill Sam, Quorra (Olivia Wilde) intervenes and takes Sam to a hidden fortress “off-grid,” the residence of the actual Kevin Flynn. Upon meeting, Kevin explains that The Grid is his creation, which Clu and Bradley’s Program, Tron, assisted him in building. While working on The Grid, a new life form known as “isomorphic algorithms” (ISOs) manifested, with the potential to unlock huge mysteries in almost every field of science. Clu, designed with the command of creating a “perfect system,” saw the ISOs as imperfect beings, and after betraying Kevin and “derezzing” Tron, seizes control of The Grid and enacts genocide upon the ISOs. Sam proposes that he and his father could escape The Grid via a portal to the real world, but is dismayed when Kevin, despite being trapped on The Grid for 20 years, refuses to pursue an escape. Kevin then reveals that if he were to be captured by Clu, it would be possible for his creation to escape into the real world through the use of his identity disc, which is effectively a “master key” to The Grid.

Upset at the idea of losing his father again, and being stuck within the grid, Sam retreats to his room. Likewise displeased, Quorra gives Sam information leading him to Zuse, who she believes may be able to provide safe passage out of The Grid, while also neutralizing Clu. While searching for Zuse, Sam meets Gem (Beau Garrett), one of the Sirens, who armed him for the games. She tells him that she can lead him to the person he needs to find and takes him to the End of Line Club, run by Castor (Michael Sheen), who is later revealed to be Zuse. Rather than assisting Sam’s escape, Zuse betrays him to Clu’s forces, which arrive and begin an assault on the club. Kevin and Quorra arrive to rescue Sam, and in the commotion, Quorra’s arm is derezzed. The three manage to escape, but not before Kevin’s disc is seized by the Black Guards. Castor offers the disc to Clu in return for control of the city, however, Clu takes the disc and destroys the club, derezzing Castor and Gem in the process. Meanwhile, Sam, Kevin, and Quorra depart the city via a “Solar Sailer,” with the intent of reaching the portal. As Kevin attempts to heal Quorra, she is revealed to be the very last of the ISOs, and that she had been disguised as a Basic by Kevin in order to protect her true identity. After allowing her system to reboot, Sam and Quorra engage in a conversation in which she reveals her desire to see the real world, and in particular, watch a sunrise.

The three unexpectedly arrive at a station onboard a Regulator, a massive warship, where Clu is addressing an army of programs that he has repurposed. Clu reveals his plans to use Kevin’s disc as a means to send himself and the army into the human world in order to “perfect” it. After encountering Rinzler, Quorra opts to sacrifice herself as a distraction so that Sam and Kevin may safely reach the portal, surrendering her identity disc to Kevin in the process. Watching as Quorra is captured, Kevin first lays eyes on Rinzler, whom he immediately recognizes to be Tron, apparently reprogrammed by Clu. As Kevin attempts to secure transportation off of the Regulator, Sam proceeds to recapture Flynn’s disc and save Quorra. The three escape and again head for the portal; however, Clu is informed of the breach and, alongside Rinzler, gives pursuit using their “lightjets.” Sam, Kevin and Quorra manage to destroy majority of their pursuers, until only Clu and Rinzler remain. As Rinzler closes in on the fleeing ship, he makes eye contact with Kevin, and experiences a flashback of himself (as Tron) telling Kevin to run and save himself. Immediately re-discovering his true identity as Tron, Rinzler declares that he “fights for the users,” and uses his lightjet to ram Clu. As the two plummet through the air, Clu forcibly commandeers Rinzler’s spare lightjet, leaving his enforcer to fall toward the sea of simulation below. As Rinzler sinks, the illumination from his armor shifts from red to white, signifying that he has become Tron again, and is a free program.

Sam, Kevin and Quorra finally arrive at the portal, all under the impression that the threat of Clu has ended. However, the still vigilant Clu manages to arrive before them. Kevin attempts to talk Clu down and make amends, but he is cast aside, and Clu again seizes the “master key.” After discovering that the disc in his possession is actually Quorra’s, and that she possess Kevin’s actual disc, an enraged Clu desperately tries to reach the portal. As Sam and Quorra stand in the light of the portal, Kevin connects to The Grid mainframe and merges with Clu, destroying himself and obliterating the surrounding Grid just as Sam and Quorra are transported through the portal and into the real world. Back in Flynn’s Arcade, Sam downloads a backup of The Grid onto a portable device and contacts Alan Bradley, informing him that he will start working at ENCOM on Monday, and that as the controlling interest shareholder of the company, he would name Bradley as chairman of the board. Sam leaves the arcade and meets up with Quorra, whom he takes to watch the sunrise. The ultimate fate of Tron remains unknown

REVIEW:

 Tron: Legacy is not a remake, but rather a sequel to 1982’s cult classic Tron. It does seem a bit odd to wait nearly 30 years to make a sequel, but hey, I’m much rather a sequel than a remake any day.

Let me take care of the elephant in the room, first. This film is in 3D. The problem is that it wasn’t originally made in “spectacular” 3D. As has been proven with other films that were converted to this format after they were completed, it just doesn’t work. Thusly, audiences are made to shell out extra to rent cheap glasses to watch something that doesn’t look any different than it would had they have seen it in 2D.

Having said that, there is a disclaimer before the film begins saying that it was originally made in 2D. I suppose they get credit for letting us know, but I can’t help but feel ripped off about the whole 3D experience. If there was any picture that was screaming to take advantage of the technology, this was it. Unfortunately, the only thing that really took advantage of the 3D was the commercials (not the trailers) before the film started. Such a shame!

The story, in a manner similar to the original Tron, is really not even about Tron, but rather Sam Flynn and his search for him father, and himself in some ways. Sure, you can make the case the guy has some daddy issues, but if your dad disappeared every night and then was mysteriously vanished for 20 yrs, wouldn’t you?

In a contrast to the original, this one moves along at a steady pace, and the audience can actually keep up with what is going on. Best thing is, there is no technical jargon to confuse the non computer savvy viewers.

The action is top-notch, but I couldn’t help but wish there was a bit more. One of the problems I had with the original was that it was too heavy on the drama and not enough on the action. This one gives us more action and less drama, but I still wanted more.

Just as Tron pushed the special effects boundaries when it was released, the idea is that Tron: Legacy will do the same thing. I’m not sure it does, but it is still a visual marvel, even if everyone seems to look like some kind of flashlight.

As the film was progressing, I couldn’t help but notice two things that were prevalent. The first was how Flynn was perceived as God in the world of the Grid. To an extent, I guess he is. I mean, he did create the place.

The second was the numerous Star Wars similarities. From the fighters that resembles Imperial starships to the guards and army that might as well have been Imperial Guards and Storm Troopers, at times this felt like a rip-off…or a brilliant homage. I’m not sure which, though.

For a movie that has Tron in the title, you’d think he’d have been in this thing. If you’re looking to see the guy though, you’ll be severely disappointed. He appears in flashbacks, but that’s it. That made no sense to me, especially when one considers what happened to him.

Jeff Bridges reprises his role as Kevin Flynn. Through the miracle of special effects, we get to see him as he was when the original was released, as well as the rugged old man that he is today. As Clu, he is as deluded and deranged as his Obadiah Stane character in Iron Man. As Flynn, he is this strangely serene guy, which is a true contrast to how he was in the original film, making us think that the 20 yrs he’s spent in the grid have mellowed him out.

Garrett Hedlund doesn’t do a bad job as Sam Flynn, but I just didn’t seem to connect with his character. At times he was like Shia LeBouef, always screaming when something bad was about to happen, and at other times, he was like a brilliant action hero.

Olivia Wilde, ironically, looks more human that she normally does. On top of that, she looks like she ate some food. Her character appears to be an apprentice of sorts to Flynn, and it works for her, giving the audience a reason to get behind her character.

Michael Sheen appears as the treacherous Castor/Zuse. As with almost everytime I see this guy, he is almost unrecognizable. I really liked his flamboyant mannerisms, though. It was a bit of Russel Brand, Mick Jagger, and David Bowie all wrapped up as one. He was indeed a joy to watch.

So, what should you do about Tron: Legacy? Well, first of all, you should go watch the original Tron. Then, go check this one out, but don’t waste your money on the 3D version. It just isn’t worth it. The only reason the studio did that is so they could squeeze an extra buck or 2 out of the movie going public. All that said, Tron: Legacy is a really good film. You will have a good time watching it…much better than watching a bunch of magical teenagers run through the woods for 3 hrs. Go..watch…enjoy!

4 out of 5 stars

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Tron

Posted in Action/Adventure, Classics, Movie Reviews, Sci-Fi/Fantasy with tags , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2010 by Mystery Man

PLOT:

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is a young and gifted software engineer who works for the software corporation ENCOM, creating several video games on the company’s mainframe after hours, aiming to start his own game company. However, another programmer named Ed Dillinger (David Warner) locks Flynn out of the system and presents Flynn’s work as his own. Dillinger earns himself a series of executive promotions, while Flynn is relegated to opening a video game arcade, featuring the games that he created. From then to the present, Flynn tries to hack into the ENCOM mainframe to find evidence of Dillinger’s wrongdoing, but his program, Clu, is caught and erased by the Master Control Program (MCP), an artificial intelligence running on the ENCOM computer system.

The MCP, with Dillinger’s authorization, shuts down access to the security group Flynn is using, inadvertently locking out another ENCOM employee, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner). Alan goes to speak to Dillinger and reveals that he was working on a security program, Tron, which would monitor communications between the MCP and the outside world. After Alan leaves, the MCP confronts Dillinger about this, stating that it cannot afford to have programs monitoring it. It reveals its intention to break into the Pentagon and other military mainframes, claiming it can run things “900 to 1200 times better than any human.” When Dillinger attempts to assert his authority, the MCP essentially blackmails him into complying with its wishes.

Meanwhile, Alan and his girlfriend, Dr. Lora Baines (Cindy Morgan), go to warn Flynn that he has been noticed. Explaining what happened, Flynn convinces them to sneak him into ENCOM’s laser laboratory, where he can access the mainframe via a different security group. Lora, who has been developing a method of digitizing real objects into the computer, sets Flynn down at her terminal in the laser lab, where a laser is pointed directly at the terminal. As Flynn attempts to break into the system, he is confronted by the MCP, who takes control of the laser and suddenly digitizes Flynn into the ENCOM mainframe. Flynn finds himself standing in the digital world, where Programs resemble their human creators, the Users.

Flynn is taken first to a holding pit, where he meets the Program RAM, then is taken with a number of other Programs to meet Sark, a Program that resembles Dillinger. Sark informs everyone that they can either renounce their belief in the Users and join the MCP, or be forced to play games that will result in their eventual elimination. Despite Sark’s misgivings over harming Flynn (who he knows to be a User rather than a Program), he is forced into compliance by the MCP and compels Flynn to play a game against another Program. Flynn emerges victorious, but is horrified when Sark “de-rezzes” his opponent.

Flynn eventually meets Tron (Alan’s Program), and he, Tron and Ram escape from the Light Cycle arena into the system, prompting Sark to send out his forces in pursuit. Eventually, a tank fires at the group, killing Ram and separating Flynn and Tron. While continuing to follow Tron, Flynn gradually discovers that as a User he possesses god-like powers within the computer dimension, enabling him to manipulate its ‘physical’ laws at will.

Tron makes his way to an input-output tower, where he receives instructions from Alan on how to destroy the MCP. He then makes a getaway aboard a Solar Sailer simulation with the help of Yori (Lora’s Program), and is reunited with Flynn, who is disguised as one of Sark’s forces. At this point, Flynn reveals that he is actually a User. Moments later, Sark’s ship collides with the Solar Sailer, destroying it and capturing Flynn and Yori. While Tron is believed to have been killed in the collision, he in fact escapes aboard Sark’s shuttle (the command line), which flies down to land next to the MCP’s core. Sark de-rezzes his command ship, but Flynn manages to keep it and Yori alive, and they pilot the ship toward the MCP.

The MCP has gathered a number of Programs and tells them that they will become a part of it. Sensing Tron’s presence nearby, the MCP sends Sark out to investigate, resulting in a battle between the two Programs. Tron gains the upper hand and severely damages Sark. In seeming desperation, the MCP transfers its functions to Sark, causing him to grow to enormous size. Tron begins attacking the MCP directly, but his attacks are blocked by a shield. Flynn then jumps into the MCP’s core to distract it long enough for Tron to throw his disc into the core. This destroys both the MCP and Sark and frees the system. All the backed-up I/O requests with the outside world start flowing freely again, including the I/O request to return Flynn back to the real world. Flynn is sent back to the terminal in ENCOM’s laser lab, where a nearby printer is finally printing his Priority One request for the evidence he needs to prove Dillinger’s piracy.

Dillinger comes into work the next morning to find the MCP non-functional and the same evidence displayed on his screen. Flynn later becomes the new CEO of ENCOM.

REVIEW:

With the forthcoming Tron:Legacy, I figured it would be a good time to watch the original Tron and catch up.

Now, I’m sure there are more than a handful of you out there that want to sit there and say that the graphics in this thing are subpar and outdated. Say what you will, but remember that this was released in 1982, and for that time they were cutting edge.

If you’re going to make a film about the inside of a computer, then obviously, the scenery and special effects are going to be the thing that really makes your picture. Tron does not disappointing in that department.

Each of these sets is amazing, but my favorite had to be the light cycle race. I’m not a fan of racing, by any means, but if you were to put something like that on as a real sport, I’d be there with bells on.

The plot to this film is a bit flimsy, or maybe it is just that it wasn’t really well executed. I’m not sure, but for some reason I just couldn’t seem to really follow it. I know what the basic premise is, but how it all comes together is still, after as many times as I’ve watched this film over the years, a mystery.

Be honest, are you really watching a film like this for the acting? However, if you must know, the acting ok. Nothing special, but I blame the script. It didn’t do them any favors.

Tron is one of the greatest, yet underrated sci-fi films of the 80s. It is often overshadowed by the holy trilogy and other films of the like that came out during this time, but it is more than capable of holding its own against those juggernauts.

Should you take the time to check this out? Well, duh! Seriously, though, yes you should. Especially if you plan on seeing the sequel that comes out in the next couple of weeks. Trust me, you won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars