In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb_mv5bmtq1mze4mte3of5bml5banbnxkftztgwotcyndm3nte_._v1__sx1216_sy640_

Amy

Sometimes, it feels as if we are eavesdropping on day-to-day conversations rather than just hearing the usual litany of platitudes and regrets.

Thumb_large_nxcfdsanskih09xq74fjnyhw4g0

Stray Dog

"Stray Dog" largely succeeds because Granik's technique complements her subject. Both he and the film are modest in their goals and cherish the value of…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb_xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Thumb_jrluxpegcv11ostmz1fqha1bkxq

Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Channel Archives
Primary_screen_shot_2014-03-01_at_9.44.49_pm

The Unloved, Part 4: "Tron: Legacy"

Scout Tafoya's video essay series "The Unloved' continues with a piece on "Tron: Legacy". To say that critical consensus has yet to swing around on this film would be an understatement. When it came out in 2010, it was widely dismissed as a ridiculously delayed and altogether unnecessary sequel to a box-office bomb (Steven Lisberger's "Tron," released in 1982) that was fondly remembered by few.

One of the hardy champions was Roger Ebert, whose four-star rave prompted more than a few raised eyebrows.  Aside from its then-groundbreaking computerized vistas—most of which were achieved through old-fashioned analog special effects, and on 35mm film no less—"Tron" was a dud as classically-styled storytelling, especially when you compared it to the other big sci-fi offerings that summer, "E.T.," "Blade Runner," "The Thing" and "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." 

And yet, if you can set the original film's nearly nonexistent dramaturgy aside (perhaps by deciding that if it didn't care about such things, we shouldn't either), there's much in it to celebrate. Roger was right to praise its visual boldness. The film was a sustained daydream, sometimes a nightmare. It immersed viewers in an alternate universe comprised (like the titular universe in "The Matrix") of ones and zeroes, until its "reality" became, simply, reality. Lisberger's approach now seems eerily ahead-of-the-curve. Few 1982 critics understood what he was trying to do. Roger was one. "The movie addresses itself without apology to the computer generation, embracing the imagery of those arcade video games that parents fear are rotting the minds of their children," he wrote. 

Joseph Kosinski's follow up is made in the same spirit, but there's 28 years more technological evolution to chew over. Kosinski addresses it all as Lisberger did: too bluntly in dialogue, but eloquently via picture and sound, with newer, more supple tools.  "Tron: Legacy" captures the buzzing trance of early 21st century consciousness, with its nonstop waves of electronic stimuli eroding the shores of concentration. It's "the Internet actualized," Scout says; "a litany of nonstop emphasis" that is "all surface." The movie "looks into a future where, thanks to motion picture technology, flesh becomes virtual, allowing the vicarious enjoyment of any dream or nightmare we can choose." — Matt Zoller Seitz 


The Unloved: Tron: Legacy from Scout Tafoya on Vimeo.


For more editions of "The Unloved," click here

Popular Blog Posts

Why Can't Sad Be Fat?

A rebuttal to Joni Edelman's piece on "Inside Out."

Sex Symbol Without Auteur: The Strange Case of the Gina Lollobrigida Filmography

Three films starring Gina Lollobrigida have been released on Blu-ray; Glenn Kenny looks at them and her entire career.

“Scream” and “Zoo” Seek to Raise the Summer TV Body Count

MTV's Scream and CBS's Zoo premiere tonight. One is worth your time. Which one?

The Unloved, Part 19: "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford"

The July 2015 edition of The Unloved looks at Andrew Dominik's "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus