KJ (owlmoose) wrote,
KJ
owlmoose

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Hello Computer

I finally watched Tron today. Not the new movie; the original, which I'd never seen. Getting my hands on it was surprisingly difficult. Apparently, Disney yanked the film from circulation about a month ago -- pulled the DVD from inventory, set its status to out-of-print, even got Netflix and iTunes to remove it from their services. Seems an odd decision to me, when they could capitalize on the interest in the upcoming sequel and make a few bucks, but I guess that's why I'm not a studio executive.

Fortunately, the library has a copy, and after a few weeks of just missing it, I got my hands on it a couple of days ago, and we watched it this afternoon.

Before I get into the details of the movie itself, I must confess my amusement at watching a much-younger Bruce Boxleitner in action, wearing bad 1980s glasses. Being a Babylon 5 fan, Boxleitner will always be Captain John Sheridan to me, and it's much more in my mind right now because I picked up my rewatch and am currently in early Season 2. I started watching B5 the first time toward the end of Season 2, and when I went back and watched Season 1, I never quite warmed to Sinclair. So Sheridan is "my" captain, especially the Sheridan of Seasons 2 and 3. I was less enamored of the latter half of his arc, when he moved into being less space captain and more messiah figure. But re-watching Season 2 has reminded me of just how much I liked him before the events on Z'ha'dum.

Also, Peter Jurasik was in it, which is just amusing.

Where was I? Oh, right, Tron. I went in expecting that the special effects and animation were going to look cheesy to the modern eye, and I was not surprised. I'm sure the compositing and computer animation were state-of-the-art in 1982. I would say that the computer animation has held up pretty well -- the style is a bit blocky and outdated, but the animation itself is seamless, and by now it feels more retro than anything. The composite shots, though... not so much. Everyone's eyes and teeth are this scary shade of blue-gray, and there were many places where the blue screen was obvious. I have to wonder how it will look if they ever do a BluRay release. The story wasn't much to write home about, either. Still, it was fun, and I enjoyed finally getting to see scenes I've seen referred to in many other places. (Especially Kingdom Hearts II, which makes much more sense to me now.)

One thing that I really wasn't expecting was the nature of the framing device. Somehow, I had always assumed that this was about a game player who somehow gets sucked into the world of a video game, not a tale of corporate espionage. When the very first scene focused into the game grid to show personified programs already living in the world of the program, I was surprised -- that seemed like something that would be revealed to us along with Flynn. I'm not sure whether I like my expectations or the actual movie better.

One thing I know I would have liked better was seeing more connection between the virtual world and the real world. Show us Linda and Alan discovering that Flynn is missing; show us Alan frantically writing the code that will enable Tron to stop Master Control; show us Alan and Linda having to work around Dillinger; show us Master Control exerting more influence in the world outside the mainframe. It would, I think, have made the stakes seem higher -- it was too easy to forget that what happened in the mainframe could have larger consequences than some programs being erased. I hope the new movie takes that tack.

I did enjoy the visuals, and the conceit that only Flynn can change the environment, and the friendship between Flynn and Tron. (I'm not going to go looking yet, because I'm sure I'd come across spoilers for the new movie, but I have a feeling there's got to be fic out there about them.) And Flynn's pet bit, who can only say "yes" or "no" -- that was a neat touch, and nicely timed for humor.

And now, to see the new movie, probably sometime this week. Hooray!

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Tags: movies, television
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