Daft Punk’s Best Movie Yet (or, my Tron: Legacy review)

Last night, I organized a 70+ person outing to see the midnight showing of Tron: Legacy. We had an absolute blast in line, starting at 7pm, adding bits and pieces of technology from many different individuals until we assembled a pretty sweet cinema of our own, projected onto the glass wall of the Metreon to watch the RiffTrax version of the original Tron! Later there were board games, tea service, and snacks. Generally, it was a really relaxed, silly party, just up on the 3rd floor of the Metreon. Once we got into the theater, I went practically manic, excited about how much of the theater we’d manage to fill, percentage-wise. We were the rowdiest, but never infringed on any other patron’s experience. We had a give-away of IMAX tickets (we were in the regular theater, non-IMAX) for a lucky couple, experimented with the mechanics of audio manipulation via large scale conference calls, and played the soundtrack on laptops. Trying to involve the whole audience whenever possible. We’d all clap when someone dressed in Tron-gear showed up, and eventually I coordinated a cosplay contest down at the front of the stage. What fun! Anyhow, finally the movie started. My comment after the fact, was that this was Daft Punk’s best film yet.

Having sat through Electroma in a theater, and purchasing Interstella 5555, this was clearly their best film. Often it felt like the visuals were wrapped and modeled around the sound. Rather than having a soundtrack, we may have all purchased tickets to a recital with marvelously fitting visuals created to augment its progression.

The architecture and interiors were inventive and detailed, and they usher you from scene to scene excited more about what vistas and designs will be crafted next than any shred of plot might be explained.

Sam is almost comically empty of character. He feels like a main character in a role-playing game, a vehicle totally built to contain any male 12-24 year old’s personality, to more personally shepherd them through the experience. This can be useful if you’re lazily crafting an 80 hour epic participatory videogame, but in a 2 hour film, feels impressively cheap.

We counted six women in the entire movie, and aside from Sam’s grandmother, seen for all of twenty seconds, they all look, as a friend of mine so elegantly put it “hungry for cock” from the very special boy. Would it have been so hard to get Quorra to come off as interested rather than enraptured?

The plot skips by, pulling deus ex machinas out of it’s hat as soon as a situation gets mildly complicated, but I’m honestly fine with that. They did far worse in the original Tron. In this one they at least attempt an excuse, rather than just accepting that everything would go their way all the time. The nods to pop culture, specifically revolving around Tron and Jeff Bridges are pretty constant, and considering the audience and the weakness of the story, I found it fun, and far less intrusive than the attempts to insert straight up product placement whenever there was even half a frame of opportunity.

The action scenes are well shot, well lit, and fun to watch. The aesthetic of volumetric pixels and glass add a fragility to the world that makes it more satisfying to watch crumble before you. The few side characters worth an action figure are super fun, and I wish that they’d involved them in more than their single one off scenes.

I say it’s worth seeing, and I’ll probably see it again in IMAX. I wanted 2 hours of pretty, and I got more than I’d expected, with a surprisingly deep understanding of how to synaesthetically blend the visuals and audio into a cohesive whole.

Current Mood: (accomplished) accomplished
Current Music: Recognizer - Daft Punk