Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Tron: Legacy (2010) Dir. by Joseph Kosinski

Sam Flynn, the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn, looks into his father's disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 20 years. Along with Kevin's loyal confidant, father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous. Written by ZootCatchy on IMDB.com

With a first time feature Director at the helm, I didn't know what to expect when I finally got around to watching Tron: Legacy. It wasn't like I wasn't excited to watch it, but the situation just never came up. I missed it in the theater, which I kind of regret, but seeing it for free on Starz proved to be just as satisfying. I really don't know the story behind Joseph Kosinski, but I can say that, watching Tron: Legacy, I could tell he is a fan of the original. There were several little quips thrown in regarding the original, and the story itself plays directly off of it. The film doesn't waste any time, as it throws Sam almost immediately in to the Grid. This made me happy, and left some things better left unsaid. It gave him a shadow of a back story and your imagination could fill in the rest. He lost his father at a very young age. Led to believe that his father had just picked up and left everything behind. As I'm sure you know by now this simply just isn't true. He is stuck inside that world that brought out the most nerd powers in me as a child. I remember growing up to Tron, and while my slowly increasing lack of vision is probably somewhat due to the vibrant lights and colors that Tron led me in to, the new world of The Grid has changed vastly. The special effects of this sequel really stand out but don't take away from the story. Which you will just have to see to watch it unfold.

Jeff Bridges is the man who obviously steals the show, not only as Kevin Flynn, but as his equal enemy CLU. Bruce Boxleitner also reprises his role from the original as Alan Bradley. Cillian Murphy also appears in a clever little cameo as Edward Dillinger II, in an implied cameo as the son of the first film's antagonist Edward Dillinger. It has been said that it was a prelude to the planned third film. There is also leaked footage out there with Junior contacting his father through the use of a computer. Should be cool. Olivia Wilde was great and insanely attractive as always in a unique role instantly impacting the storyline. There were even some other good smaller roles, but in the end it was really good acting throughout the film.

There was plenty of action to keep me interested and it gave me my science fiction nerd fix for the day so all in all it was a pretty dang good movie. Great special effects and enough to keep me hoping for a completed trilogy. I recommend it for everyone.

Entertainment Value: 8/10 Beefed up Light Cycles
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Beefed up Light Cycles

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

In Time (2011) - Short Review

In Time (2011) Dir. by Andrew Niccol

In a future where people stop aging at 25, but are engineered to live only one more year, having the means to buy your way out of the situation is a shot at immortal youth. Here, Will Salas finds himself accused of murder and on the run with a hostage - a connection that becomes an important part of the way against the system.(IMDB)

Andrew Niccol is commonly known for is ability to dance between genres but bring life to anything he touches. If it weren't for The Terminal boring the crap out of me (yes... I know he was just the writer), I probably would have watched this sooner, since he has directed some great movies like Gattaca and Lord of War, as well as writing The Truman Show. All I can say now is that I just wish I would have watched it earlier.

Niccol has managed to create what I believe to be a unique futuristic version of Robin Hood. We are still stealing from the rich and giving to the poor, but in this case we are stealing time. It also adds a bit of Romeo and Juliet to the mix as there are two distinct classes... the rich and the poor. The rich have plenty of time on their hands (literally), and the poor are dropping like flies whenever their time runs out.

The acting, aside from Amanda Seyfried who I have yet to see do any sort of acting, is done exceptionally well. Timberlake once again shows he is just as capable of being a leading man as Jake G, but I don't know about more than that, and the supporting cast is booming with well known people. The always amazing Cillian Murphy plays the man in charge of finding the two runaways and restoring balance to the system. Johnny Galecki steps out of his Big Bang Theory realm to play a short lived role as Will's (Timberlake) best friend. The beautiful Olivia Wilde plays Will's mother (remember they stop aging at 25). Matt "I'm a badass" Bomer(White Collar) also joins the cast for a small but important role. Up and coming actor Alex Pettyfer plays nicely into his role.

I'm not going to go in to great detail since that would probably be giving most of this very simple but very effective movie away. I'm a sucker for science fiction so the story had me stuck from the beginning to the end. There are a lot of undertones to our society and where we are headed in our future and blah blah blah. Just know that it is a short movie, plenty of action, and a satisfying ending. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I shall leave it at that.

Entertainment Value: 7/10 Cool Car Chases
Cinematic Value: 7/10 Cool Car Chases