|TRON: A Re-Appreciation-Ish
||[Apr. 12th, 2010|03:42 pm]
International Bon Vivant and Raconteur
Inspired by the recent episode of South Park, my girlfriend and I decided to rent Tron. She'd never seen it before, and I hadn't watched it since it first came out in 1982. (I actually saw it numerous times back in '82; every birthday party that year meant going to see Tron.) When I was 13 I thought Tron was the coolest thing ever. Now? Not so much.
It's not just the outdated CGI special effects, which were considered cutting edge at the time. The light cycles are still thrilling, after all, and those flying Recognizers are still impressive. Much more of a problem is watching Jeff Bridges, as computer programmer/hacker/arcade owner/free spirit Flynn, trying to act all Bill Murray wacky. It's a painful experience.
Also painful was being reminded that everything that happens in the movie is essentially a battle over video game rights. Video games are cool and all, and a multibillion-dollar industry to boot, but as stakes go, they hardly feel high. After all, Flynn is hardly destitute after having his video games stolen by David Warner. He seems to be fine running his immensely popular arcade, which is always shown as crowded with people ready to drop their money into the machines. He even has a kickin' penthouse apartment that overlooks the arcade floor!
And then there's Bit, the floating binary particle, or whatever it is, that comes out of nowhere and does absolutely nothing. I can only assume Bit's inclusion was the result of a Disney memo that said every movie has to have a cute, funny non-human sidekick, presumably to sell toys. Though it's hard to get anyone to buy a toy of what is basically a floating CGI geometric shape.
Not that the rest of the movie is a bastion of sense-making. As we watched it, my girlfriend turned to me numerous times with a cry of, "Wait, what?" To which I could only explain, "Don't try to understand Tron, just go with it." Luckily the movie ends before it tries to make sense of the preceding events, or it would have been twice as long.
Did I mention the giant spinning CGI head that's the bad guy? Yeah. Sometimes Thomas Wolfe is dead on. You really can't go home again.