So, uh (gotta quit starting posts or paragraphs with that. God, recapping the Handbooks has made me acutely aware of my tics) Tron: Legacy came out this weekend, and in a short time has become one of the most poorly-reviewed movies of the year, except for that movie where the Devil rides elevators or whatever the hell that was about.
Most of it comes from the fact that people accuse it of being the same ponderous, soulless, expository stuff that tanked the Matrix sequels, and now that I've seen it, I've formed an opinion of my own:
The critics who compare it to the Matrix sequels are still pissed off that the Matrix sequels let them down (of course, the reason they did so was that everything about the Matrix had been tied up in one movie and embellishing on that was just going to piss everyone off, but that's another blog post) Either that or they're still crying in their beers that Scott Pilgrim: The Movie Of Our Generation made $2.65 at the box office and they want everything to fail and watch the world burn burn burn.
Thing is, I saw it . . .and rather liked it. It wasn't deep (neither was the first movie, though this one does allude to some interesting stuff about open-source vs. closed source philosophies) some of its visual thunder has been stolen in the ensuing twenty-eight years since the first movie (kinda like if you've never seen Blade Runner before and when you watch it, you feel like you've seen it before) and it's basically art direction, action set-pieces a whooooole lotta Easter Eggs from the first Tron film (oh, and Disney actually acknowledges they made The Black Hole? Wow.) but in a world where Captain Planet: The Movie made the same amount of money as the gross national product of several Central Eurpoean nations, frankly, intelligence has never been a prerequisite for success.
I will not lie to you and say that Tron: Legacy is a good movie which will thrill you, make you laugh, make you cry and maybe--just maybe--teach you a little something about yourself. I will also not pretend to be objective about it (then again, if you come to this blog looking for objectivity about anything, why are you here?!?) I will say that it's really cool, fairly diverting, visually impressive, and is ideal for twelve year olds who just wanna groove on the cool shit and hopefully prod them into thinking up the next generation of cool stuff. Also--David Bowie apparently lives in computers and shoots lasers out of his pimp cane. So there's that, too.
Ultimately doesn't matter whether Tron:Legacy or Scott Pilgrim: The Film That Defined A Generation And If You Leave It On Your Pillow Is Better In Bed Than You Are made a dime or not. All that matters is that there's a way for it to filter down to the people who need to see it and need to be inspired by it. Tron flopped hard twenty-eight years ago. But they played it on cable, and wore out videotapes etc and the thing endured, and people like me spent the ensuing years doodling on fanfold computer power drawing universes of superheroes and occasionally giving them Tron-like circuitry (it's what I thought all those red and green Bic pens were for, really) or figured out how they'd transform or combine into a giant robot, whatever--all it or anything else has to do is start the dominoes of inspiration rolling for the next generation.
That same process happened with dozens of movies in my lifetime alone--sometimes they just take time to be rediscovered and appreciated. Hell, that's almost exactly how A Christmas Story became a holiday standard.
So even if the movie is not the cure for cancer or still doesn't salve the wounds left by the Matrix (seriously, that's getting like revanchism, now--every time a movie has computers as the subject or a trope in it--people get militant as shit and fight that war all over again.) maybe some 12 year old will see it and either because of or in reaction to it, they'll do the next cool thing that grips everyone's shit when they're 25 or something.
So, in that sense, I would guess its worthwhile. Oh yeah, and old fogies like me can have a great time at the movies on Saturday morning where it's pissing out rain. It's a rising tide that lifts all boats, really.