Friday, December 24, 2010

Of Tron: Evolution, Betrayal, Legacy, the Soundtrack and my son!

You know, maybe as children we're simply easy to please.  As we age our cynicism grows and the suspension of disbelief becomes something of an aggressive disposition we simply can't seem to grasp, well, most of us anyhow.

I'd like to believe that I'm still a child at heart and I have my kids to thank for continuing this trend.  At the very least I have them to thank for making it "OK" for a grown man to act like a kid and not be looked at as a socially inept member of this society.

That said, my son Jayton has been eyeballing the new Tron: Legacy movie each and every time the trailer hits.  I only felt it appropriate that he see the original before jumping into the sequel, and so we did just that one Saturday afternoon.

What transpired was a painful reminder that our youth doesn't age so well.  The things we found fascinating, well, they don't always stand the test of time.  I remember marveling at this in my youth and thinking it was the greatest thing since Wheat Bread (yeah, not a Wonder kid), but suddenly it was an empty experience...for a moment anyhow.

How critical I had become about a movie that, by all rights, was a pioneer of technology at the time.  Sure, Star Wars was great, but Tron's implementation of animation and live action was something...magical.  The story however, the stuff of nerd dreams.  Guy gets his game stolen and hatches a scheme to get the proof he needs to take it back, gets beamed into the digital world of The Grid...magic happens, happy ending!  It was nothing overly complex, certainly no deep lessons to be learned other than CYA and lock in those copyrights early if you want to protect your goods.  But it was magical...and it was for my son, and suddenly it was once again for me.

This inspired me to motivate myself for the new movie through the comics (Tron: Betrayal) and the video game (Tron: Evolution), both of which served to fill in many of the gaps between the original film, and those in Tron: Legacy.  Well, Jayton was in love with this game.  He loved watching me play and upon completion, wanted me to continue doing so.  I saw, within him, a fire burning for a new love of his.  Isn't it remarkable how kids gravitate towards our interests and really pave their own destinies, but at the same anything and everything we do (with proper parenting of course).

The console release of Evolution details the events of "The Purge" briefly hit on in the film (Legacy) following Quorra and the main protagonist, Anon, a new Tron-like protocol that monitors the system.  The PSP game follows another similar program named BETA, but the story in that game, so far, doesn't really serve to motivate a reason as well as Anon's role in Evolution.  At any rate, the game did its job getting Jayton prepared and equally excited for Tron: Legacy.  You know what?  Just take a look at the timeline HERE.

I then acquired the soundtrack.  First and foremost I have been a Daft Punk for as long as I can remember knowing them.  I always found their music to be uplifting and incredibly versatile (I can seriously listen to it all day).  At any moment the duo of Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Baglater, can send me into a veritable frenzy of electronic delights, and dip me into soothing ballads that seem familiar and alien at the same time.

Taking that talent and putting it into film form, a soundtrack, was something I wasn't entirely prepared for.  Certainly tracks like "End of Line" & "Derezzed" have that Daft Punk signature sound, but the rest of the collection's 2-discs are a treat that I bathed myself in.  Certainly beautiful composition but I wasn't prepared for how much of a character the music becomes in the truly stands out as instrumental to the continuity and delivery of the film and its setting.

Holy shit!  I wasn't prepared for this.  I've seen enough of the trailer to realize I'd have fun with it, but ultimately I felt it would fall to the same hollow foundation of the original and boy was I wrong.  First of all, they've taken the entire lore behind the original and really created an evolution that is not only believable, but engaging.  I don't really want to get into the story as I think it's something that everyone should experience for themselves, but it was engaging and had far more poignant lessons to be learned.  Haste resulting in mistakes, the bond of Father & Son and an ever present lesson on race discrimination on multiple levels are all present and can serve to foster some rather enlightening conversations with my son.

Couple this with the fact that the film never rests on the cast that made the original something of a cult phenomenon and suddenly, it's a rather cohesive film that delivers everything I could ever want.  Relative newcomer Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn) delivers a believable performance, never over-acted even in the presence of Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn).

Olivia Wilde is absolutely lovely, playfully naive, and certainly a wonderful contrast the rather serious and sterile environment of the Grid, and for good reason.

All in all, I am completely floored with how well Disney has handled this.  They've taken a rather aged product and absolutely injected it with enough lore and style to last a lifetime of sequels, offshoots & spinoffs, merchandise and the like.  I just hope we don't have to wait another year 28 years for the next in the line.  Similarly I can't wait to see what the team is doing with the Black Hole remake.  This is a good time to be a fan of relatively under-appreciated Disney films of days gone.

I'd also like to say that leaving the theater, my son holding my hand, he looks up at me and says the following:

"We're on the same team right Daddy?"

To which I replied...

"We're always on the same team!"

Nerd-tears were shed this day!

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