Tuesday, December 28, 2010

See this, Not That – Tron Legacy(2010) / The Tourist(2010)

A lot of people find themselves with some extra time off towards the end of the year, with a little more opportunity to catch up on the season’s blockbuster moneymakers and awards contenders.  But even with the vacation days and bonus dinero from Grandma, Joe and Jane Moviegoer can’t see them all.

  See This -  Tron: Legacy… and if you can, see it in 3D.  In Disney’s long gestating sequel to 1982’s Tron, what’s old is new again – a somewhat underwhelming story about hackers and tech geeks transitioning into gladiators doing battle in arenas of technical wow.  The original Tron holds a lot of value (and influence – see: The Matrix, and the band Daft Punk, who supply the very strong soundtrack/score here), but it is largely sentimental.  The once state-of-the-art animation and technical achievement has aged horribly, and Legacy comes with a huge upgrade.

  Some twenty-odd years after his father Flynn (Jeff Bridges, recreating his role with a little more “dude”) disappears, Sam (Garret Hedlund) finds himself beamed into the cyber world Flynn helped create.  Following in his father’s footsteps, he’s dueling in games and racing lightcycles, wooing the ladies and fighting the good fight of liberty and coolness. 

  This, of course, is where the 3D kicks in, and where Tron proves the most worthy of your gimmick money.  Disney continues to be at the forefront of 3D subtlety, consistently opting for visual astuteness over props flying in your face.  Tron’s additional dimension adds a blanket of definition, never sacrificing the quality of the background for the trickery of the foreground.  This art of the craft is topnotch.

  Unfortunately the story is not.  Predictable and underwhelming, Sam’s journey is exactly what you expect it to be, and sometimes that a good thing.  But when the story stalls out and the numbers become to clear, the 3D paint is enough to keep us interested.

  Tron: Legacy is more of a demonstration than a film, but at least it’s a good one.

Don’t See This – The Tourist.  With it’s world traveler’s approach to rom-com adventure, twisty narratives, mistaken identity and quippy dialogue, director Florian Henchel von Donnersmarck (…yup) flick hums the same tune as 1963’s Charade, but does so dully.  Stars Johnny Depp and Angelina Jolie have absolutely no chemistry, and their story is just boring.  You can twist and turn us in every which way, but if we don’t care where we’re going or where we end up, it’s all for not.

  Shot in Venice, the film looks very nice.  But that is absolutely the only positive thing I can say about it, save for it being harmless… and an excellent flick to fall asleep to.

See This – Charade.  It really is quite splendid

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