I don't go to the Cinema often- in fact, just twice this year. My first visit was to see the 3D Avatar which totally blew me away- though I admit I did cry a lot and get very frightened and my girl-friend had to threaten to take away my bottle unless I stopped jumping out of my seat to throw popcorn at the bad guys.
I saw Tron Legacy on Saturday and was considerably underwhelmed. Why?
Was it simply because the Tron Universe is constrained to be digital and monochrome- well, not monochrome, what's the word for a 2 color palette with glossy Kouros black and shiny neon white? Naff-Stringfellows-type-Nightclub-chic-from-the-benighted-Eighties? Okay that's not exactly a word, but it would be in German- only they'd manage to add in a lot of bleak theological stuff and finish it off, phonetically, with a fine brutalist stamp.
This palette is seriously underwhelming in 3D. Avatar's vivid tropical forest colors and xeno-biological hyper-organicism, on the other hand, made it the ideal movie for 3 D treatment.
Tron, back in 1982, was a breakthrough movie in that it went the other way- it took us from a 3 D world to a 2D world, like Edwin Abbot's Flatland.
Recall, that it was only during the second half of the 70's that people began to see that the future was digital not analog- Martin Cruz Smith's 1972 novel about a super-computer manipulating people was entitled 'the Analog bullet'- and that, in some sense, there was going to be a flattening of networks with the focus shifting to operating systems- an economist might say mechanism design- rather than the emergents on the Social sphere that demand our loyalty and seek to prescribe life's proper meaning.
Tron Legacy- dominated by Jeff Bridges, except this is a guy at his best if there is a ironic counter-current to his surfer dude machismo as in 'the Big Libowski'- in taking 'the grid' 3 D and introducing a theological element- God the Father creates a Lucifer in his image to take care of the boring bits involved in formulating Perfection, but Lucifer turns against the autonomous life forms which spontaneously arise because they are necessarily imperfect- this sequel does not actually add a dimension to its topos but, rather, subtracts from its mythos by foreclosing its possibilities.
The result is that a huge talent like Michael Sheen is wasted as analogue to the Matrix's Merovingian- and comes across as a silly poofter rather than a sinister cyber Machiavelli.
One thing that puzzled me was the chicken wire effect in the flashback scenes. Is this to suggest the older l.c.d projectors from ten or fifteen years ago? Dunno. But it looked ugly.
On the other hand, a lot of Daft Punk fans are going to be watching this movie and, for all I know, maybe the whole mise en scene works for them.
What stamped itself on my mind, however, was not the cinematic mise en scene but Tron Legacy's scenes a faire script- I mean who cares about freeing up Operating Systems in the age of Cloud Computing and hand held wi-fi toasters and so on?
This film is like legacy software- no doubt a legend in its day- which just don't play well with what we're now using.