I’ll never say a bad thing about Twilight. I’ll also never say a good thing about Twilight. I’ve never seen a frame of the movies nor have I read a word of the books. Frankly, I don’t want to. Therefore, I have nothing to base an opinion on. While I’m a self-admitted angry geek, nothing bothers me more than the nerds who constantly bash or unnecessarily praise media they’ve neither seen, heard, or read.
A common complaint amongst the trolls is the recent increase of sequels and remakes. With technology allowing us endless entertainment at our fingertips, it’s difficult to get out asses into theater seats these days. So the movie studios try to get us there with promises of familiarity. On paper, it’s not bad idea. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. Without seeing the result, the concept always has some geek creaming his pants or some troll shedding tears of hate. That leaves to question, is either side right? Do the new films give more credit towards the originals? Or do they tarnish their predecessors? Better yet, are these nerd-centric movie classics really all that sacred to begin with?Most recent example: Tron:Legacy. With its release, not to mention decent box office performance, nerds were torn. Some were excited, wanting to see how updated technology could improve the “CGI classic”. Others were angry, feeling it was another excuse for a 3D piece of shit. What’s unique about this is that it’s a direct sequel to a film released nearly 30 years ago. Given the hate, praise, circumstances, and frankly having little else to do, I decided to put myself through the Trial of Tron, watching both films back-to-back.Tron stars Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn, a computer hacker trying to uncover evidence that the CEO of a software company he worked for had stolen his designs for video games. While attempting to hack into The Master Control Program, Flynn is forcibly digitized into computer code and trapped in The Grid, a world in which computer programs are sentient beings who are oppressed by The MCP for viewing their programmers as deities. The MCP forces Flynn, along with the oppressed programs, to play video games in gladiatorial combat, in hopes of destroying them.Tron, released in 1982, is celebrated for being one of the first films with extensive use of CGI. Despite that, I never had much interest in seeing it. It appeared to be nothing more than a one trick pony. However, after having watched the movie, I can actually say: FUCK TRON.Have you ever thrown a party and some asshole shows up an hour early? Nothing’s ready yet, it’s awkward, and they don’t even compensate by bringing chips. Well, that’s Tron. The filmmakers had an idea, but computer technology was too limited to allow them to really do anything with it. Most of the action scenes are unexciting and feature nothing more than a bunch of bright lines and squares. If you’ve ever played a game of Asteroids and thought: “This would be cool if I could just stare at it and not play it for two hours”, then you’re retarded and you’ll love Tron.On top of that, it has nothing else to offer. The plot is Swiss cheese cut with a deli slicer, the characters are all one-dimensional, and the acting is wooden. For a movie that’s based on visuals, it’s horrible at visual storytelling. It’s always telling and never showing. Every trait of the characters is only displayed by another character talking about them. Even the awesomeness of Jeff Bridges couldn’t make Kevin Flynn interesting.While the color scheme of The Grid is well done, the visual style of the film is pretty lackluster. It was Oscar nominated in Costume Design, which is something I can’t understand. The villains don’t look menacing in the least. Sark, one of the lead antagonists, looks like he’s wearing the bed sheets I had when I was five and his henchmen’s armor look like they’re made from couch cushions. Don’t even get me started on the high priest Dumont.I never thought I’d be able to use the term: “dressed like a penis.”Tron is simply a movie based on some visual tricks that don’t hold up anymore. Before anybody thinks I’m spoiled by modern film making technology, look at Terminator 2. T2’s effects have barely been topped, but the story is strong and it was only made ten years later. If that’s not good enough, try North By Northwest. A classic popcorn film with amazing cinematography and suspenseful action scenes that still holds up by today’s standards and it’s 23 years OLDER than Tron. The quality of a movie should not be limited by what year you watch it in.Tron: Legacy focuses on Kevin Flynn’s son, Sam. After the events of the first film, Kevin Flynn was named CEO of ENCOM and became obsessed with The Grid, viewing it as some utopia. While Sam is still a child, Kevin disappears. Growing up the biggest shareholder of ENCOM, Sam uses his time and skills to mess with the structure of the company. After responding to a mysterious page from his father’s old office, Sam is digitized into The Grid and discovers CLU-2, an old program of his father’s, is trying to escape into the real world while Kevin is trapped inside.After watching Tron, you can imagine I had trouble going into the sequel with an open mind. Seeing it in Imax 3D didn’t seem fair since it’s not a timeless form of movie watching. Not to mention, you can’t feel like more an asshole seeing a 3D movie by yourself. However, Imax 3D is the perfect format for a Tron sequel. It’s all about the bells and whistles without adding anything to the actual quality of the movie. With that being said, I was actually surprised by how entertained I was.Is it a great movie? Fuck no. Is it a good movie? Hardly, but it has some redeeming qualities. Since Jeff Bridges was the only actor in the first film that seemed to be trying, the filmmakers decided to cast him as both a hero and the villain in Legacy. He does a damn good job of it too. Kevin Flynn has a cool combination of Obi-Wan Kenobi and The Dude going for him this time around. Bridges did the best he could with the role, as did the rest of the cast. While the script isn’t exactly Shakespeare quality, I felt the interaction between characters was more genuine and not just two people spitting exposition at each other. There’s actually some improvement with the villains too. They not only look and sound evil, but they operate with understandable motivation. In Tron, the MCP and Dillinger were merely arrogant and greedy. In Legacy, CLU feels betrayed and lied to by Kevin Flynn. While he’s a computer program, he actually has relate-able human qualities. Obviously, the effects are awesome. The action scenes are not just two guys playing jai alai in dumb looking Power Ranger costumes. They’re reasonably suspenseful and exciting, albeit excessive at times. Thankfully, The Grid is not entirely made from blue screen. There’s some element of decent set design this time. Also, kudos to the filmmakers for finding use for Daft Punk besides auditory water boarding. I don’t care how far technology has come though; we should not be digitally de-aging actors.Ahhh!!! Kill it!While I found the movie enjoyable, it’s very, very flawed in the story department. It has the reverse problem of the first film. While the plot of Tron is paper thin, Legacy suffers from trying too hard to be complex and ends up confusing and not making any sense. The presence of the ISO race is a plot point that drives the story, yet their purpose is never really explored. I suppose it could help to see the first movie, but you really wouldn’t be any less confused. Mostly, it just makes tongue-in-cheek nods and anything else relating to first installment was inconsequential. You’ll often find yourself thinking: “Wait, why the fuck did THAT just happen?” Both films seem to be trying to have some underlying subtext about spirituality and striving for perfection, but when your main plot is neither interesting nor making any sense, having a message is just nauseating. I will admit though, I’d rather have a movie that’s unclear and confusing over one that just flat out insults your intelligence like the first one did.While slightly more entertaining, Tron: Legacy has Avatar-Syndrome. I can’t imagine watching it on a normal TV or even in a regular movie theater . It’ll probably have the same fate as the original and not hold up over time. Although, I can at least give it credit for trying to be something more than just a movie magic trick. The VerdictAfter the Trial of Tron, I found the original to be overrated and the sequel to be a harmlessly dumb popcorn film. They’re colorful action films, but they’re pretty empty beyond that. However, watching Tron: Legacy didn’t make Tron any shittier and it sure as hell didn’t make it suck any less.Does this represent the relationship between all movies and their sequels? No, but I think it displays how we over romanticize old movies simply because they came first. In the right situation, the right person comes along and learns from these movies. They can make bad movies good and good movies better. There are times when the wrong people get involved and it doesn’t work out that way, but does it change the movies that came beforehand? Not really. If you can’t separate the two, that’s nobody’s fault but your own.I have nothing against anybody’s opinion. If you want to praise a movie, great. If you want to talk shit about a movie, go ahead. It’s a lot of fun. However, you should try to watch them first so you can at least know what you’re talking about. Don’t be so quick to judge something based on its’ hype or cultural status. It’s the quality of the movie that matters.The rest is all bullshit.