TRON: Legacy (2010) | Review by Mark Leidner
The best part of TRON: Legacy comes when bearded Jeff Bridges, in a reverie of vaguely cybernetic ecstasy, nearly orgasms, “Biodigital jazz, man…” Thus is the almost joyous, dizzying stupidity of this movie. Old Bridges stars as Jeff Lebowski, I mean Kevin Flynn, the aforementioned digital Buddha, fighting an ideological war against young Jeff Bridges, his own computerized Hitler-self. Everyone has one! Some other young actor who looks like a cross between Mark Wahlberg and Jeremy Renner and maybe James Franco (but with the personality of Wahlberg alone) plays old Jeff Bridge’s son, whose inevitable suction out of his privileged, pointless existence in the real world, and sudden expectoration into the glowing, looping cerulean nonsense of TRON™ franchise imagery, spawns a jaw-dropping (from the yawns) final confrontation between the two Bridges for the fate of the grid. On an unrelated note, Daft Punk is the DJ, Thirteen from House is the The Fifth Element, and everything’s in 3D so refined it is imperceptible. It almost looks like a real, 2D movie!
TRON: Legacy taught me the lesson I can never seem to permanently learn. That ignorant millionaires believe the only thing a film needs to succeed is the superficial shape of action, bright pictures, hot bodies, shameless stars, money-glued to the husk of a story that offers a vision of humanity as far from human experience as possible. And that underappreciated losers believe it will bring them happiness to spend money they don’t even have in order to continually relearn this pointless lesson, as long as they can reflect upon it publicly. “Biodigital jazz, man…” I keep coming back to that phrase. While enTRONced I kept thinking about what is real, what isn’t real, and how when we develop tasks, or artificial constructs that allow us greater control within a system, we slow time down. Minutes go by in the real world while hours go by in our poems, or our games, or our dreams. The act of writing, meditating, computer programming, or making love, for what little I know of it as art, probably all slow time down. We zone in and pay attention to detail. We experiment with form. We confront great czars of cause and emirs of effect and set them against each other, see what happens to the back of the sentence when the front of the sentence is set. We, in a sense, let our natural, human rhythms coalesce with the microscopic, or macroscopic rhythms of the universe. We experience time as suns, or as atoms. And then we wake up, look at the people we have left behind, who have grown old before our very eyes, and wonder what it all was for.