Armageddon Sydney 2011

Revenge of the Film Nerds have continued their noble mission of exploring the world of Sydney geekdom by attending Armageddon at the Dome in Olympic Park this weekend.   Our reviews and photos are in progress, but please feel free to see what we have made available online so far….

Armageddon Sydney 2011

Film Nerd and Bride of Film Nerd Summary

 

Film Nerd, Matrix style

 

 

Tron: Legacy – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Bruce Boxleitner, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, Beau Garrett

Synopsis: A few years after Kevin Flynn (Bridges) escapes the virtual world with the aid of Tron (Boxleitner), he disappears, leaving his million dollar company and son behind without a trace.   When Flynn’s son Sam (Hedlund) has grown up, he receives a visit from Alan Bradley (Boxleitner), original creator of the Tron program.   He has received a page from the disconnected phone in Flynn’s office at his old arcade.   Investigating this, Sam is drawn into the Grid, the computer space his father had been developing before he disappeared.   As it turns out, Flynn was trapped in the Grid as a result of the actions of his own program, Clu (CGI young Bridges).

A review by Film Nerd.

Given the anticipation for this film, I have been led to believe that it has had a disappointing box office.   I find this quite a shame, as personally I found the film quite entertaining.   It is of course visually spectacular, and given it was filmed in 3D using an update of the technology that was used for Avatar, the images on-screen are really beautiful to watch, as opposed to the retrograde 3D garbage that has been thrown around a lot of late.

The beauty of these images alone is enough for ticket price alone, but I am also pleased to report that the story was also quite enjoyable.   It is certainly not a ground-breaking piece of drama, and perhaps does lean toward cliché at times (estranged father and son reunited, learning the truth of one’s past, hot guy meets hot girl, how aging affects one’s perspective), but it is cliché that is at the very least well told.   Perhaps it would have been nice if it had been infused with a bit more hard biting social commentary.   I did mention in my review for the original Tron that stories of people living entire lives in a virtual world would be very apt in today’s social environment, a reflection that was not touched on.   So perhaps that was a wasted opportunity, but the tone of this film does not gel with that perspective, so this is a case of enjoying the director’s story rather than the story I myself would have tried to tell.

Bridges moves from strength to strength.   He has honed his talents in the years since the original film, and affectively pulls off both versions of himself.   The CGI makes him look young, but his acting gives Clu the brashness and self assured nature that comes with youth, and indeed this does connect with the way he originally portrayed Flynn.   His portrayal of elder Flynn is spot on, a more wise, somewhat weary version of the same man.   Hedlund I was not sure what to expect from, and was pleasantly surprised with what I saw.   If he makes the right career choices from here, he could be one to watch.   Wilde was also quite entertaining.   Her laughing early on I found a bit forced, but when her role required more drama, it was really good.   It also does not hurt that she fills out her skin-tight outfit quite nicely (I claim celebrity immunity on that comment my Bride… please don’t hurt me!!).   I would have liked to have seen more of Boxleitner, especially aged backwards into the Tron character, but there were many hints of a sequel to come, so perhaps that might still be a possibility.   Final mention should go to the always delightful Sheen, who grabbed his character by the horns and gave a delightfully OTT performance.

I was also quite pleased with how the virtual world was updated.   The lightcycles were much more fluid in motion, and the lightcycle battles as a result were quite edge of your seat stuff.   They also impressively updated this concept with lightjets, providing a gripping climactic action sequence for the film.   Technology has clearly come a long way.   Of course, the joy of these updates is most clear to those that have seen the original film (Tron Guy reportedly cried in ecstasy when he first saw Legacy).   I did gather the girls sitting behind us in the cinema got somewhat confused.   This indicates to me that knowledge of the original goes a long way to enjoying the update.

So yes, criticisms can be levelled at this film, but they can be washed away by seeing the original film first, then going to the cinema with no expectations.    Get taken on a visual ride that is really quite spectacular, and enjoy a familiar but reasonably well told story.   All I can say is the minute that 3D films get plot lines to match the effects, the format may indeed still really take off.

3.5 stars out of 5

 

Tron: Legacy on IMDB

Tron: Legacy on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L9szn1QQfas]

Tron – A Review by Film Nerd

Director: Steven Lisberger

Cast: Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan

Synopsis: Kevin Flynn (Bridges) is attempting to track down evidence that an executive at his former company, Ed Dillinger (Warner), stole his programs for video games that could have made him millions.   In the process, however, he is abducted into the computer world by Dillinger’s Master Control Program.   The only way to victory is by defeat of the MCP, which he can only manage with the assistance of a program created by his friend Alan Bradley (Boxleitner).   When he meets the program, it resembles Alan in appearance, but refers to Alan as his “user”, whereas he himself is Tron.

 

A review by Film Nerd.

Following on from my last review of The Thing, there was one other 1980’s film that I was aware of that will very shortly have a follow-up feature released in cinemas.   Tron is one of those films that images from it are absolutely iconic, whether for good or bad reasons (yes, i am referring to YOU, Tron Guy), and yet its original performance was poor, and it is my understanding very few people have seen it in its entirety.  I have always intended to see it, and with a lot of promotional material now out for the sequel, Tron: Legacy, I thought now was the perfect time to get moving.   When popping in the disc to watch it with Bride of Film Nerd, our consensus in the first ten minutes is that this was just weird, and it is somewhat understandable why it failed to spark more interest than as a cult favourite.

I am the type of guy that will stick with any film, despite the necessity to cringe all the way through it.   And I do think in this case I was rewarded by that perseverance.   An element I find common in Baz Luhrmann films is that they have such cringe-worthy starts, yet the extent to which the beginning is ridiculous puts you in a frame of mind that anything slightly less ridiculous afterwards strikes the viewer as comparatively normal.   Given what would have been an outrageous concept in 1982 (people living completely separate lives within computers….ummmmm?), the film benefits from this, though I still would not put it on par with a Baz Luhrmann epic, of course.

The film is largely passable throughout, after one gets beyond the initial concept.   The scripting is cookie-cutter good versus evil, with big bad corporations against the innocent little guy.   The acting is nothing spectacular, yet it progresses the story-line along effectively enough.   Bridges I always find very watchable.   At this stage he hasn’t honed his craft to the level it is at now, but the hints of what to come are there, and he is still a delight on screen.Warner’s villain could have had more shades of grey, and Warner’s talent is capable of a lot more as evidenced by his Captain Sawyer in the Hornblower series), but he does make the most of what is available to him in the script.   Boxleitner and Morgan are passable, but as their work is not quite as familiar too me, it is difficult to narrow this down to scripting or talent.   Given the former is on the cast list for Legacy, I may be able to refine my opinion of him then.

I also must comment on the special effects.   By today’s standard of CGI, they are amateurish at best.   Taking it in context though, this was really one of the earliest attempts to combine computer style graphics with live action performance.   Given that the graphics replicate gaming graphics of the time, the standard is really forgivable, and also almost affectionately retro.   Given what we are capable of today though, I am now very keen to see what Legacy‘s update is going to do.   Given that people now do live entire lives in a virtual realm, the film will have a lot more significance and impact for a modern audience, making the franchise ripe for an update.   I have kept myself away from the promotional material until now, wanting to approach the original unaffected,   I am hearing some very good things though, and might go now to download some trailers!!

3 stars (out of a possible 5)

 

Tron on IMDB

Tron on Rotten Tomatoes

Trailer [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3efV2wqEjEY]