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iApprove: Tron.

February 3, 2009

Tron is a funny thing.  On the one hand, it’s an entirely shallow movie, heavy on the eye-candy but light on character depth.

On the other hand… the eye candy.

And I’m not just talking about Ram here (although he was gorgeous).  The movie contains eye and brain candy of various types from start to finish – from the oh-so-80’s costumes and sets to the insanely dated but mind-boggling computer world.

I will not deny that it looks pretty bad nowadays.  The colors in several areas are washed out, and the CGI is way outdated.  The fact that the art was cutting-edge for its time is not an excuse for this.  The computer-generated effects leave some things to be desired.

But oh, the artistry.  The brain porn. Silly as it may look, there is something awe-inspiring about the giant glowing structures, the characters’ intricately-patterned costumes, the lightcycles.  Oh, the lightcycles. Widely lauded as the single most awesome thing about the movie, and with good reason – having played a modern lightcycle game myself, I see that scene as the most hair-raising part of the movie.  Those suckers are hard to maneuver.

Then there’s the campiness.  Some of it doesn’t pull off so well – the dialogue of the protagonists, for example, which often feels forced and occasionally becomes narmy.  (Hearing Ram grunt “Oh, my user!” is just weird.)  Other of it, such as numerous Pac-Man references and the MCP’s wry sense of humor, are awesome and still send me into occasional giggle-fits when they happen.  It’s 80’s moviemaking at its peak, and it doesn’t disappoint.

There’s also David Warner.

I’ve heard tell that Mr. Warner isn’t especially pleased with the movie.  This is, after all, a guy who does Shakespeare.  But of all of the main actors, he provides without a doubt two of the deepest performances in the movie – the self-satisfied but somewhat cowardly MCP (and his dry sense of humor), and the less-self-satisfied, equally as cowardly Dillinger, whose sense of helplessness at his position in the movie’s scenario comes across very well.  It’s a bit like examining a child’s drawing and, although everything fits together, you can pick out the bits that were filled in by an adult.

So, although the movie is cheesy, dated and quite childish (de-resolution?  Seriously?) it retains a certain appeal that makes it well worth watching, especially if you have a particular sense of nostalgia for the 80’s.

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