BITS, BIKES, BRIDGES, AND BEYOND!
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Sat, Dec 25, 2010
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
The original release of Tron was like nothing else. This was far beyond the comprehension of so many, with words like the “Grid”. But now pretty much everyone has a computer and I think Osama buried deep in cave somewhere most likely has online access. So, Tron Legacy connects with the majority right? Well, maybe. The bottom line is this does have rocking CG effects. Disney really hit the nail on the head with the Light Cycles as well as the other transportation in this follow-up to the original. Even if this had no plot at all Tron would still reap kudos. The achievements that have been reached since the first Tron installment are nothing less that incredible. But, this movie does have a plot. While simple, it is tired and true. A child (Sam Flynn played by Garrett Hedlund) is left without his father (Kevin Flynn played by Jeff Bridges). The search begins. This basic premise pulls the audience into another world, a world of bits and programs.
This alternative reality, like the original, is a dark world. This is the inner sanctum of the digital world. It’s a violent place where programs that don’t work within the system get terminated in dramatic fashion. The technology we know and depend on is represented in a manner that we can relate to. This leads to radical interpretations of what we know of transportation. In terms of the Light Cycles, which replicate the signals that are carried across the circuit board and so forth in the digital realm, take a design cue from superbikes on steroids. Additionally, the rings, which are representing the data, work brilliantly as well. All is well with the theme, but it’s frozen in time. When Disney originally released Tron in 1982 it clearly represented what was happening digitally at that point in time, and it looked into the future. However, we don’t see the current state of the art being integrated into the dialogue of this movie, even thought there are many opportunities to do so. It’s almost like the internet never existed, let alone any other advances since the mid-eighties. Yikes!
Fortunately the monumental efforts in effects, costumes, sound and sets make this a must see. Tron Legacy, a contradictory as the name is, stands alone as a complete picture. Unlike almost any other movie of this genre, this isn’t about the future, this is about another world, a universe within our own world. This really allows the designers to be liberated from many of the constraints of what’s important in the flesh and blood, here and now world in which we live. As a result we get to fantasize what the world would be like inside the workings of a computer game. The transportation in this seems to have a foot in reality and the other in the imagination of the designers. Everything is a bit conventional and real life-like, giving the transports a footing that most people can relate. At the same time all of the products, costumes, and environments really push the bounds on what we are familiar with. The designs for these are strong and show brilliant conceptual thought, as none of the technology really exists. Daniel Simon is the Vehicle Concept Designer having to reinvent the initial Light Cycles created by the master, Syd Mead. Another Art Center alumni involved in this movie is Concept Illustrator Harald Belker. Both of these two, along with Vehicle Set Designer Karl Strahlendorf are able to provide a sense of reality to the products we see, as these guys have also cut their collective teeth in the auto industry. One has to wonder what we would really be driving today if these guys had their way.
These come to life right before our eyes, and envelope the rider/driver. The hyper-speed pursuits lead to spectacular wipeouts. The action is no less exhilarating than that of Roman gladiators going at it mano-a-mano. Tron was unique in its original release. This sequel does lean on the 80’s version, as it should, but we taste some influences from well-known movies that range from Star Wars, to Clockwork Orange. This break in the suspension of disbelief knocks this down a peg or two. In spite of the very small missteps, this is only slightly less addicting than say coffee (or heroin for those that are so inclined). Tron might be able to unleash the imagination of a world of creative talent to show us worlds where we have never seen, which might only provide us better insight and direction to the future.
Hail to the mouse! Directed by - JOSEPH KOSINSKI Screenplay by - EDWARD KITSIS & ADAM HOROWITZ Story by - EDWARD KITSIS & ADAM HOROWITZ and BRIAN KLUGMAN & LEE STERNTHAL Produced by - SEAN BAILEY, JEFFREY SILVER, STEVEN LISBERGER Executive Producer - DONALD KUSHNER Costume Designer - MICHAEL WILKINSON CAST Kevin Flynn/Clu - JEFF BRIDGES Sam Flynn - GARRETT HEDLUND Quorra - OLIVIA WILDE Alan Bradley/Tron - BRUCE BOXLEITNER Jarvis - JAMES FRAIN Gem - BEAU GARRETT Castor/Zuse - MICHAEL SHEEN Rinzler - ANIS CHEURFA