Tag Archive | Edward Kitsis

TRON Legacy – Review

Tron Legacy Movie Review

Disney has spent the last three years dumping tons of cash into a sequel to a film with an incredibly small fan base. They handed the picture over to people who made a film specifically for those few fans of the original film and hoped that it would please the masses. I don’t know if the majority of the people will enjoy Tron Legacy, but as a fan of the original, i loved it!

Ever since they talked about making a sequel to Tron, i always thought that it would be a good idea. I feel that, even though the computer generated effects were primitive, Tron was ahead of its time. I know that is a pretty easy statement to throw around these days, but i truly believe it. As a kid i watched Tron for Lightcycles, Recognizers and Disc Battles. It wasn’t until i was older did i understand the concepts behind the movie. I still watch the original Tron on a regular basis and learn something new each time. I understand that the movie is considered cheesy by today’s standards and fully understand why Disney did not release the Bluray of it prior to the release of Tron Legacy, but i have a feeling that when it comes out it may get an all new respect that wasn’t there when it came out in 1982. You have to realize, Tron flopped big time when it was originally released and it is amazing that they would attempt a big budget sequel 28 years later. I don’t know if it is the video game or 3D movie craze, but i am glad they made it, because i enjoyed this film from start to finish.

The opening of the film is brilliant! I really enjoyed that the movie begins with the forming of “The Grid” and then slowly transforms into a city skyline. The reason i dug this so much was because in the original Tron, the last shot of the movie was of the city skyline from the POV of the Encom building as it slowly transformed into “The Grid”. It was it was like telling the fans, that we are right where we left off. The first 15 minutes or so takes place in “The Real World”, it was here where there are a lot of nods to the original movie. From Ed Dillinger Jr. to Dumont’s Shipping and the “Now that is a big door” quote from the original, this movie really felt like it was made just for the fans. I was actually really nervous for my wife. She is not a fan of the original Tron at all, but as it turns out she was entertained thoroughly as well. The story was a bit complex, a bit preachy and a whole lot of fun. It was exactly what a Tron sequel should have been.

A lot of people may complain that it is not as action packed as they had hoped, but as i watched the movie i couldn’t helped but be sucked into the Sci Fi of the film. There is a lot of shitty science fiction films out there and seeing this movie in IMAX 3d with a crowd full of people and surrounded by friends and family, it made me feel like a big kid, watching other big kids playing with toys. This is my favorite kind of science fiction. I love space ships, technobabble, fantasy and other worlds. As i watched the film, i was engrossed by the technology. I loved seeing how everything worked. I liked watching the wheels spinning on the freight container loading machines. I loved watching the Recognizers collapse so that people could board the crafts. I loved watching everything move around. It was really a treat for me to be immersed in this world and IMAX 3d was the best way to appreciate this.

Not only the technology that was used in the world created, but i was pretty impressed with the technology used to create this world. The visual effects in Tron Legacy are in your face. It is the first thing you notice as soon as you see any commercial or trailer. This movie looks unlike anything else i have seen before, but what is great is that, with all the flash, the characters are not lost in the backgrounds. I liked all the characters in the film. Garret Hedlund’s “Sam Flynn”, Michael Sheen’s Ziggy Stardust inspired “Castor” and Bruce Boxleitner’s Alan Bradley are stand out in the film. I liked all of their performances, but the stand outs in the film were Jeff Bridges and Olivia Wilde.

Olivia Wilde’s “Quorra” was great! I have never seen anything she has been in, but i thought she did a great job at playing innocent. She was funny, strong, but voulnerable all at the same time. I have a feeling that there will be a lot of girls out there dressed as Quorra at Comic Conventions and Halloween for years to come.

And then there’s Jeff Bridges. Jeff Bridges returns the computer genius and mad scientist Kevin Flynn. He created this world that he wanted to be perfect, and in the process he created a monster that will stop at nothing to rectify any impurity IN that world. “Clu”. As you have seen from the trailer, Clu is a program created by Kevin Flynn in his own likeness. Clu will stop at nothing to make The Grid a perfect place to live. He will stop at nothing to to clean up The Grid. When Sam opens the portal to The Grid, Clu launches an all out attack that is on a collision course with the real world. It is up to Kevin, Sam and Quorra to stop him from entering into our world.

Clu looks amazing as a program. I really thought he looked cool. When you see it in IMAX and 3d at the same time, you notice all of the flaws in the animation, but i was able to forgive this because Clu is an artificial program, he isn’t supposed to be photo real, but the problem comes when they flashback to Kevin Flynn being young and he looks just like Clu. It is hard to forgive the CGI when young Kevin Flynn should be photo realistic. I am sure when i watch it on my television at home, i wont notice the animation as much as i did when Kevin Flynn’s CG head was 5 stories tall. It is a minor gripe, but it was a bit distracting. Whenever Clu or young Kevin Flynn was onscreen, you couldn’t help but want to scrutinize the CGI.

As much as i loved the movie there were two minor things that left me scratching my head. The first was Sam Flynn’s spare Lightcycle baton. They made it a point to show that he acquired it and in any video game scenario, you want to keep running tabs on your inventory for later use. Not once did Sam use his backup Lightcycle baton and it’s not something that would be brought up in any kind of sequel. Not only did he not use this baton, but he later used Kevin’s Mark 2 Lightcycle which was eventually traced back to Kevin Flynn’s secret hideout. I understand that Sam wasn’t able to use that style of Lightcycle off grid, as stated by Quorra, but why have him pick it up in the first place unless you are going to use it later?

The second minor thing that bugged me was the reveal of Rinzler as Tron. Us Tron fans figured out about who Rinzler was a while ago, but for a badass villain that you have cloaked with a black faceplate the whole time, you would think that the reveal of this character would be to reveal his true identity, especially when he says his famous line from the first film, “I fight for the users!” It made zero sense to me. Based on flashbacks, we have already seen that the producers of the film had created a de-aged CGI version of Bruce Boxleitner. Why on Earth would you not pull back that mask as he said that line? It would have been perfect!!

Other than those few things, i loved the movie. I thought that Daft Punk’s score was amazing and am anxiously waiting for them to release an album of the complete score. There was a lot of music in there that wasn’t in the movie and i want it all! Tron Legacy may not be for everyone, in fact it may not be for the majority of people, but for a Tron fan like me, it is an incredibly sequel that I’m glad was made. Sure, the goal is for Disney to have all the money on the planet, but i am glad that they did not sacrifice the legacy of Tron just to make some quick cash. This was a movie made by Tron fans, for Tron fans.

End of Line.

★ ★ ★ ★¾

Tron Night

Tron Night Footage

Last night Disney hosted a special 23 minute preview of Tron Legacy for the biggest fans of the original TRON. For the past year Tron fans have been online participating in an online game, and have been treated to free gifts and tickets to special events for their efforts. I have been following this game, along with a couple of friends, and had the opportunity to attend this event known simply as TRON Night. Here is what went down.

First off, Tron Legacy screenwriters Eddy Kitsis and Adam Horowitz came out to greet us for the event. It was pretty great. They threw out a bunch of light up Tron hats to the crowd, but because it was IMAX, we were sitting in the back and those dudes did not have the arm strength to reach our row. We yelled at them to grow muscles, but they didn’t, so no hat for me. No biggie, they kind of looked obnoxious.

Up next they decided to do some trivia from the original TRON. If you yelled out the correct answer first, you would received a signed Tron Legacy poster signed by Eddy and Adam. I knew pretty much every answer to each question but was slow on the draw with the exception of one question which was, “What food item does Alan Bradley share to a coworker in his cubicle?”. By the time he said “share” i shouted out,”POPCORN!”. Someone who was sitting closer to the guys shouted popcorn after me, but they gave him the poster. Oh well, i didn’t want to fight it. I already felt like a nerd yelling out answers to TRON trivia, i didn’t need to cause a scene. So anyway, they showed us six scenes from the movie.

Tron Night FootageThe first thing they showed us was a scene in which Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) talks to Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) about getting a message on his pager from Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges). The message came from a number that hasn’t been in service for twenty years at Flynn’s Arcade. Alan gives Sam keys and says that it is about time he goes to the arcade to possibly reunite with this father, who he hasn’t seen since he was a kid. Sam is hesitant.

Tron Night FootageThe next scene follows Sam as he goes to Flynn’s Arcade. He opens the door and turns on the lights. The place lights up like a christmas tree as every single game in the place boots up. In addition to hearing every video game machine from the 80’s at  the same time, you also get treated to some Journey, courtesy of the juke box. As you have seen in the Trailer, Sam goes to the TRON machine and finds a hidden door behind it. He enters as the jukebox continues to play in the background. The song that is playing is The Eurythmics “Sweet Dreams”. He turns on his father’s computer and starts to input some lines of code and activates the laser behind him. The laser starts up and……Cuts to black!! Okay, just so you know, all of this stuff that takes place in the real world is not in 3d. The producers have decided to do a Wizard of Oz, black and white to color effect, and have it so the 3d kicks in as soon as you enter into the fantasy world. In the original TRON, you are treated to a POV shot of what it looks like to enter this fantasy world and i am sure this movie will have an amazing transition from 2d to 3d and it was not shown last night. I have a feeling it will look amazing!!

Tron Night FootageThe fourth scene that was shown, is footage that i have already seen twice. The footage showed Sam Flynn as soon as he enters the world of Tron. He is taken prisoner and is transported to the pit cell via a Recognizer. Once he is suited up he is then escorted into the game grid. This is the same footage they showed at Comic Con as well as Disney’s Califonia Adventure park. Even though i have seen it already, seeing it in IMAX 3d was INSANE! I have never seen 3d like this. It was at this point that i couldn’t wait to see this movie.

Tron Night Footage

Following this scene we see a scene titled Disc Wars. And it is exactly what you think. Sam Flynn get thrust into a video game that he does not know how to play. He must figure out the game and survive within a matter of seconds. The game is fast paced, dizzying and exciting. This is where i was really afraid of watching Tron Legacy in IMAX 3d. I thought it was going to make me throw up, but the shots are so smooth and the editing is so well done, that even though the action is fast paced, it did not bother me in the slightest. The Disc War game is awesome. I wish it was longer, but i didn’t care, it looked so damn cool.

Tron Night FootageThe next scene was called something like The Escape Route. Apparently after the Disc War game there is a lightcycle chase and Sam gets in trouble and makes his escape via a dune buggy being driven by Quorra. Quorra is played by Olivia Wilde. I am not sure who Olivia Wilde is, but i really liked her performance. She plays a program, that is presumably created by Kevin Flynn. Her character is childlike, spunky and quirky. She reminds me of Midna from The Legend of Zelda. She was really cool and i was surprised how much personality she had.

CLICK HERE TO SEE A PORTION OF THIS SCENE!

Tron Night Footage

The final scene was the reunion between Sam and his father Kevin Flynn. Considering we only watched these 6 scenes, it was actually a pretty emotional reunion. In this scene we get to see that Kevin appears to be trapped in his safe house and Quorra is his apprentice. This scene was pretty powerful and i look forward to seeing how this father son relationship develops in the film. The last shot of this footage showed Kevin Flynn looking out to the Grid City. I am not sure i can tell what he is thinking, but he definitely has a sad look on his face and he looks like he has regret for the world he has created.

Tron Night Footage

The footage was amazing, to say the least. Even though i am not sure if the score is complete or not, the music was incredibly orchestral, which for Daft Punk fans, may be a turn off for this change of direction. I loved the score and i cannot wait to pick it up. It was incredibly well done and was able to pull emotion from the few clips i saw. Believe me when i say that i am more fired up for this film.

After they showed all the clips they showed what can only be described as a new trailer. They showed a bunch of new footage from the film, including a super awesome air battle that looked straight out of Star Wars as well as, what i can only assume, is a newly designed Clu, which is the younger version of Jeff Bridges that you have seen in the most recent trailer. I swear that it looked better now than it did in THIS trailer.

Anyway, this has gone on long enough and i just wanted to say that i really can’t wait for this movie and i have to recommend seeing it in IMAX 3d. It was pretty impressive stuff!

The End

I cannot believe that it has only been three days since the finale of LOST had aired. It feels like a lifetime ago when Jack “let go” and was able to move on. For the last couple of days i have been doing a lot of thinking about the finale and the more i think about it, the more i loved it.

While i sat and watched the finale i was loving every minute of it. I loved the action, mythology and adventure. I loved every single reunion. But the whole time I had this suspicion that things were too good to be true and whatever was going to happen at the end was going to be tough to swallow. I was right.

The scene with Jack and his father was incredibly jarring, but I have thought about it and I have come to the realization that it was supposed to be. As a man of science, Jack had to take a leap of faith and accept that he was dead and had to move on. It was very challenging to Jack as it was me. If i were in his shoes i would have the same reaction, but i would have to accept the fact that i don’t make the rules. Even though i don’t believe in an afterlife, i have to accept that there is a greater power that i can’t control. In the world of LOST, the writers make the rules and it is up to the characters, as well as the audience to deal with it.

I am sure that it is tough for the audience to accept this outcome, but wether we agree with it or not, there is nothing we can do to change the fact that we are not in control of the show, or our own destiny. We all have hopes and dreams of what the future has in store for us, but we don’t have the ability to write it ourselves. We have to be content with what we have and who we have to share it with.

Leading up to the finale, people kept talking about “the answers”. Were we going to get all the answers? Can the producers give us all the answers? Much like life, we do not get the all the answers. We have to figure things out ourself , take what we have been given and use those to make our lives complete. Lost is a puzzle as is life. We may not get everything we want, but we can take what we are given and make the best of it. If Lost gave me every little answer all wrapped up in a tiny bow, it would insult my intelligence. There is a saying, “Give me a fish and I eat for a day. Teach me to fish and i eat for a lifetime”. Why would i want Lost to give me all the answers? Lost has made me think for the last six seasons. It is my favorite show of all time and i didn’t want it to end. With this finale, it gave me the ability to think about it forever as opposed to telling me how this all ends. Lost is not over. It still lives on in my mind. I am still trying to piece together the puzzle. I find that the answers that i create for myself are much better than the answers that could have been told to me.

The end does not matter. We all wonder about death, but what Lost showed me is that it is not about waiting for the inevitable. It’s all about enjoying what little time you have on your own island and sharing that time with the ones you love.

The Best Night of My Life

A while back, Stevi and I were invited by Beth and Jorge to be their guests to The Lost Symphony at Royce Hall on the UCLA campus. The event was to celebrate the show LOST and the music of academy award winning composer Michael Giacchino. As you may know, i am a huge fan of film music, have been my whole life, but more importantly i have been a fan of Michael Giacchino since 1999’s Medal of Honor. The fact that this was a film score event as well as a LOST even, this was definitely two worlds that i admire greatly coming together for the most perfect night ever.

Me and Stevi met up with Justin and Kathy and headed to Royce Hall. When we showed up, we picked up our tickets as well as our VIP wristband (pictured above). As you can see, the ticket was a boarding pass and the wristband had the hieroglyphics from the Swan Station’s countdown clock. As soon as i got these items, i got incredibly excited. This was more than just a mere concert, this was in fact going to be a celebration.

As we walked into the hall I was immediately recognized by Jo Opinionated. Talk about awesome!! As we walked down to the front of the hall i noticed that some of the seats that were surrounding us had place cards on them. The place cards had the name and the photo the person who would be sitting in the seats. Directly behind me was the place card for Malcolm David Kelley, Daniel Roebuck and Daniel Dae Kim . Yes, that is correct, i had a closer seat than at least three of the cast members of LOST. The show was about to begin so i sat down. Unfortunately, my pants pocket got snagged on the arm of the chair and ripped the seam in my pants. DAMMIT. Oh well, my jacket covered it up.

So Damon and Carlton came out and introduced the cast members in attendance. It was a pretty crazy list: Daniel Dae Kim, Josh Holloway, Jorge Garcia, Michael Emerson, Henry Ian Cusick, Harold Perrineau, Nestor Corbonell, Ian Somerhalder, Malcolm David Kelley, Daniel Roebuck, William Mapother, Rebecca Mader, L. Scott Caldwell, Sonya Walger, Titus Welliver, Lance Reddick, Francois Chau, Kim DickensSterling Beaumon and Jeremy Davies.

After the cast left the stage, Damon and Carlton introduced Michael Giacchino and the performance started. I am so glad that Beth was kind enough to give me a tissue prior to the show, because i knew i was going to get misty-eyed at one point or another and i was right. The performance was beautiful and moving. In between cues, various cast members read messages from a bottle, from survivors of the island who’s stories had yet to be told.

The music was played over still images from the show’s 6 season run. Giacchino conducted the orchestra as they played many of the key themes from the show. One of my favorite pieces was the “Jacob Theme” played along side “Locke’s Theme”. It was a great piece! At the end of the show, they played “Parting Worlds“, with a montage of footage from the highs and lows of the LOST story all leading to the footage of Michael, Walt, Jin and Sawyer leaving the island on the raft. It was pretty moving.

After a long standing ovation, Giacchino came back out in a Dharma Initiative jumpsuit that said ‘Conductor’ on the back. He then performed his theme for the Academy Award winning score to Pixar’s “Up”. Of course I had to break out my tissue yet again.

The concert had concluded and even though it was already an incredible night, it was far from over. The producers came out and brought up some members of the production team, including writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz (LOST, TRON: Legacy). Edward and Adam introduced the penultimate episode of the series, “What They Died For”, an episode that was premiered, in its entirety,  for the audience in attendance.

There is not much that i can say about the episode, other than the fact that it was chock full of LOST goodness! There are so many twists and turns, it made my head spin. This episode also had my favorite scene of the entire season. The scene was so badass and amazing, i could not wait to see what would happen next. When you watch it, you will know which scene i am talking about. The sounds system was loud, the audience reaction was amazing and the episode brought the house down!!

The night was already so amazing. I thought that I would never come down from cloud 9, but the funny thing is, the night was only half way over!

After the end of the episode, we all immediately stood up and were escorted into the back stage area. After we walked past the security employees, we walked out onto a rooftop patio and were greeted by a full bar and all the creative forces behind LOST. I felt like Charlie Bucket walking into the Chocolate Room in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I am sure my eyes were as big as saucers!

As a fan of the show, i felt like i didn’t deserve to be at this event. Everyone from Damon and Carlton to Brad Bird (d. The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille) were in attendance, not to mention all of the cast members mentioned above. It was incredibly surreal.

My favorite encounter was meeting Edward Kitsis. I got his attention and waved him over to me. He obliged. I let him know that i was kicking myself big time for not wearing my 89 Forever pin. His eyes lit up! I told him about going to San Francisco for the day just to see the “Alan Bradley” speech. His eyes lit up again as he told me the story of being in a hotel room that night with Bruce Boxleitner and Cindy Morgan, going over his script for that event. Stevi was standing with me while we talked and i let Edward know that she was not a fan of the original. He did not take offense and told her that he hoped TRON Legacy wouldn’t make her as sleepy. It was so amazing!

I met so many cool people. I had such a blast hanging out with Justin, Kathy and Stevi the whole night. We were all geeking out pretty hard and the drinking only made it more difficult to hide our excitement.

I cannot thank Jorge and Beth enough for allowing us to be a part of such an amazing event! I will remember this night for the rest of my life!!

CHECK MY PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT!