Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tron: Legacy (IMAX 3-D)

After a year of promotional events and marketing, Disney’s much anticipated and highly touted sequel to the 1982 cult classic finally released, surprisingly without much of the fanfare that accompanied the preview of Tron Night a month ago. Nevertheless, being an ardent Tronian (I just made that up) I began my trek to the outback — IMAX, Wadala — in earnest and waded through a surreal world of traffic, dug-up roads and truck exhaust fumes in something a lot less maneuverable than Tron’s iconic Light Cycles. Two hours later, I’m just in time for the movie event of the year as I carefully wipe my finger print-infested 3-D goggles, a spit here and a spit there and voila, crystal clear viewing.

This year has seen a multitude of 3-D offerings from drab and flat movies like Clash Of The Titans to outstanding and visually ebullient ones like Toy Story 3 and Legend Of The Guardians. But for the most part 3-D has been used more as a gimmick or to pull in the audiences rather than to show off any cinematic advances. Let me then say that Tron: Legacy is by far the best use of IMAX and 3-D ever seen. Purely as a visual delight, as an experience to immerse your senses of sight and sound in a world unlike any other you’ve seen.
The reason I’m not going to get into the plot and characters here is that if you’re just being initiated into the world of Tron then it may not make much sense to you and if you’re already a Tronian then you’ll know your Light Cycles from your Recognisers. Oh and for those fans who ask how it can be called Tron: Legacy without actually having the original character of Tron in it (his absence from the promos is conspicuous), you’re in for a bit of a treat.
A lot has been said about the CGI character of CLU — Codified Likeness Utility, a younger version of video game visionary Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). Emotion Capture technology used to create the young replica of Jeff Bridges is cutting-edge but attempts to make it true-to-life didn’t quite pan out. Still, in profile and at certain angles throughout the movie, CLU appears very real and does a fantastic job of portraying the villainous computer programme hell-bent on perfection. A couple of years more and real actors may have a run for their money.
French duo Daft Punk’s thunderous, electric and electrifying score is by far the most outstanding accompaniment ever heard. A chill ran down my spine several times as the electronic manna thumped through the surround system. The music gets you, pulsating in tandem with the fluorescent world of Tron. The 3-D is never used for the sake of it (like most animated films that use similar techniques to give you a three dimensional feeling, like snow fall), it’s there for depth, for technique and it’s done masterfully.
I was never really expecting much of a story but convoluted and slightly far-fetched as it is, Legacy actually does try to establish a plot and link it to the original movie. Performances from the sassy Olivia Wilde (Quorra) and the campy Michael Sheen (Castor) give the film some humanity and humour. Jeff Bridges is solid but one gets the feeling that after an Oscar-winning performance in Crazy Heart he just did this one for a bit of fun and probably a lot of dough. Let’s hope the film leaves a legacy of better 3-D movies to come. For now, trudge along to your nearest IMAX and watch Tron: Legacy. Twice!


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