Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tron is Messin' with my Zen, Man

Things were different back then. it was 1982. Atari 2600 was the rage. There was trouble in the Middle East. Coke vs. Pepsi was a big debate, as was coke vs. heroin. I was six years-old, and I was mesmerized by Disney's Tron. Well, admittedly, I was mesmerized by the blue and red light bulbs that people seemed to be wearing and the really cool light-cycles. The rest of it went way over my head.

My, how things have changed. Sure, Atari is not the rage anymore, but I pretty use my Wii to play those same old games. And Tron: Legacy was cool for the light-cycles and the rest went pretty much over my head. For example, was Jeff Bridges trying to recreate The Dude from The Big Lebowski or is that just the way he acts nowadays?

I have been trying to be less critical of movies lately, and I think overall I've done well (and I actually think seeing fewer movies helps), so when I first heard that they were doing a sequel to Tron, I thought, "Another silly re-make? Forget it." Then I saw some trailers, and I thought it looked pretty cool. Remember, kids; always trust your instincts.

But, Durs, didn't it look cool, you may be thinking. And, sure, the light-cycles, the Matrix-esque fighting with glowing frisbees, the return of the big horse-shoe ships were all very fun. But we have video games for that kind of thing. Come on, including the 3-D glasses, do you want to spend $13 on half of a movie? The rest of it was just a lot of talking about things that actually don't exist (also similar to The Matrix, without the crappy philosophy), and I'm not sure why we should care what happens in the "Tron World" for that very reason: it doesn't actually exist. What are the stakes except that The Dude may not survive long enough to drink another White Russian? And, sure there are movies with less at stake, but if you can make the audience care about these things, then you've written a decent movie. Tron: Legacy front-loaded all the cool stuff in the first 45 minutes or so, then spent a long time explaining what was going on while over dinner.

I think I know the thinking here. Much like the Wall Street sequel earlier this year, coming on the heels of economic turmoil, the folks at Disney probably thought that since we are in this new digital age, the time is ripe for a Tron sequel. The whole Grid thing, and all of us essentially being Programs or Users these days lends it self to the story of Tron. But no. It's a different world now. The games we play on our phones are better than the original Tron effects, which was done mostly with paint and canvas, by the way. For all that talk about Tron being the first movie to use CGI, only about 15 minuets of the film are computer animated, because the technology didn't exist yet to combine digital animation with real-life characters. Not to mention that that the computers they used had only 2 MB of memory. I think that there's more than that in a pen these days. Point is, our standards for what is cool and what technology can and should do have changed. I'm not sure lighty frisbees cuts it anymore. It seems to me that these people were so concerned on whether or not they could make a better Tron movie, that they didn't stop to think if they should (or, y'know, write a script.) We have conquered that digital frontier already, Dude. I don't think we need to hear about it again. If I'm interested, I'll just read about it on someone's blog.

No comments: