Friday, October 29, 2010

First Impressions: Tron: Legacy Sneak Preview

Last night Event Cinemas and Disney treated the public to a free 20-minute sneak peek of TRON: Legacy, the upcoming update-cum-sequel to the influential 1982 cyber-reality cult classic that's due for release on December 16. I'm not usually one for short "sneak peeks" like these, but my curiosity got the better of me (plus I needed some sort of feel for the film for a feature I'm writing on it).

The screening took place at the IMAX, and if there's one place I'd rather not be watching 3D anymore, it's here. Those big plastic glasses are crapola, and for an effects-spectacle-driven thing such as this, it's going to be headache city staring at the IMAX screen for two hours (20 minutes was almost enough...). Anyway, so around 5 scenes from the first hour of the film were presented to us - I won't go into too much detail, but I'll give you a general idea of the vibe I'm getting.

The first scene was purely exposition (a lot of this appears in the trailer), a meeting between Tron's original programmer Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner reprising his role), and Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), son of Jeff Bridges' Kevin who has disappeared. Next Sam visits his father's now-old-and-dusty arcade shop, finds an underground office, and soon gets zapped into the cyber world. It was kinda cool seeing the old arcade, but I don't think I like Hedlund as a lead at all, too bland (stiff?).

The next few scenes showcase the effects and action a lot more, drawing us into the freshly rebooted Tron universe. The basic neon circuitry design - the suits, the buildings, the machinery - is still there but with noticeably added dimension, sleekness, and general Blade Runner-sized epicness. Visually, it's impressive and trippy as hell, especially in 3D - but I don't know if the film will be as striking in the acting and writing department. At worst it brings back bad memories of something like Spy Kids 3D or any other soulless video gamey/3D-oriented sci-fi flick, and in the scene where Sam and Kevin are reunited, you feel like the film's mythology and seriousness will eventually bog things down in turgid Matrix: Reloaded fashion.

Anywho, I don't doubt Tron: Legacy will deliver some snazzy action and visuals to satiate your eyeballs in some way, I'm just a little skeptical about everything else.....

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