Friday, July 15, 2011

Tron: Legacy (Joseph Kosinski, 2010) -- B

As far as franchise flicks go, Tron: Legacy quickly ascends the ranks merely through its emphasis on form, streamlined and devised with the image in mind. Director Joseph Kosnski doesn't necessarily have an acute eye for movement and dimension (his images don't develop a social level needed to constitute feeling or emotionality), but between his bleak, Fincher-esque aesthetic and infusion of Daft Punk's electro-chic score, there's a surface-level visceral quality driving the thankfully sparse narrative. Familiarity with the 1982 original isn't a prerequisite, but Kosinski doesn't conform to reboot banality, less interested in reconstructing the mythology than utilizing details for spinning a new yarn. The four screenwriters play with fantasy/sci-fi standard narrative, allowing brash young Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) less a plethora of daddy-issues than minimal motivation for sling-shotting him into "the grid," a digital realm of creatively rendered mano-y-mano battles (light, sound, aura) and posturing baddies, namely Clu (Jeff Bridges), a tyrannical doppleganger for Sam's father, trapped for years without recourse. Though a more thoroughly felt narrative would constitute deeper consideration, Kosinski at least refrains from expositional overload, thankfully forgoing self-indulgent pop mythology, rather constructing giddy set-pieces of physical grace. An early scene of Sam driving his motorbike through city streets perfectly reflects these interests. If Tron: Legacy wears thin in the final third, Kosinski's previous emphases make comparable boy vs. the world epics like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings seem simplistic and aesthetically unsophisticated.

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