Friday, December 31, 2010

Movie Review: Tron

I've been aware of the movie Tron for a while now. As far as I can tell this is the first cyberpunk film.[1] I've seen snippets of it on TV, but until recently I'd never bothered to watch the whole thing. I finally buckled down to watch it for two reasons. First, I saw a trailer for the sequel, Tron: Legacy, and was intrigued. Second, I had an idea for a story but I suspected it might be too similar to the plot of Tron.[2]

The conflict didn't entirely make for an engaging story. This, in turn, harmed the characterization and the dialogue was, for the most part, pretty cheesy. And because the characters weren't engaging or endearing, the movie felt shallow.

The graphics, though cutting edge for when they were made, are now embarrassingly simplistic. And despite the appearance that the movie is almost entirely composed of computer graphics, only 15–20 minutes worth of CGI animation were actually used.[3] The soundtrack, created using a Moog synthesizer, sounded like the sound effects for an early arcade game. I suppose this was okay in the 1980s when synthesizers were taking over many music forms, but now it sounds silly.

My verdict: The movie is kind of fun. However, the music and special effects are dated, which makes it difficult to watch. This is probably why they're coming out with a sequel with much superior production value.


[1] Even though the term cyberpunk wasn't coined until 1983 (a year after the release of Tron), Tron has most of the tropes associated with that science fiction sub-genre, so I feel comfortable making that claim.

[2] It wasn't; but it could still be similar to Tron: Legacy.

[3] See (film)#Pre-production.

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