The original Tron was on TV a lot when I was growing up. My cousins had a satellite (back when it was an investment to get a satellite; the thing weighed about a ton, cost as much as a vespa, and took up a parking space) and it seems like every time I went over there, they were either watching Tron or horror movies (I found out later that this was because they were often high). They wall said that Tron was the coolest, that it was like living in a video game. That was about the time that they all ordered black lights for their rooms and I never really saw them too much after that.
I disagreed with them at the time; I didn’t think Tron was like a video game at all. Video games in the early 80s were exciting every second. They were exciting every second because you only had to do one or two things in the games in order to keep playing: jump on a turtle or shoot things from your canon-arm or shoot down other planes. If you couldn’t do these things or if you found one of these things boring, you just moved on to the next game; if you didn’t like Frogger, there was always Dig-Dug or Spaced Invaders or even Q-Bert. Tron, on the other hand, was a few exciting moments followed by a lot of boring exposition follwed by a few moments of “I should make special effects. This looks good.”
About eight years ago, when video games were at their worst, I had the chance to watch Tron all the way through. This time I agreed with them. Tron was fascinating – and I could understand why other people liked the movie – but I couldn’t identify with them. Much like with video games, I never understood why someone would go through all the trouble of making such a movie at such a budget and through such hardships, only to have it full of boring sub-plots and action that takes us nowhere.
Tron: Legacy does the same thing. I went to see it because people were saying “It’s like the Wizard of Oz: everything that happens in the real world is in 2-D, but everything in the video game is in 3-D.” I wasn’t impressed by the 3-D. I went to see it because the commercials make it seem like it’s wall-to-wall action. It’s not; it’s just like the original. I went to see it because the special effects looked awesome. They were, but then I remembered that it’s not that hard to make kick-ass special effects anymore.
The Tron sequel maintains the legacy of the original Tron: good looking and kind of boring
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