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Critics Clash: "Tron: Legacy" Stunning and Flawed

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Scott Ross is joined by Wired Contributing Editor Noah Shachtman at Bar Basque to discuss "Tron: Legacy."

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PopcornBiz editor Scott Ross and contributor Sahsa Perl-Raver didn't quite see eye-to-eye on "Tron: Legacy," so we decided to let them hash it out in public.

SR: “Tron: Legacy” is the grandest cinematic bimbo of 2010: stunning to look at, but gets progressively less attractive the more it talks.

Look, it’s a “Tron” sequel that’s being made largely because technology has gotten awesome and there are toys to sell. There’s no need to muck it up with Joseph Campbell/Matrix gobbledygook. I just wish they’d’ve fired up the light cycles, kicked the bad guy’s ass and called it a day.

SPR: You call "TRON: Legacy" a bimbo, and you may be right, but since when is that a bad thing? It might not be the kind of movie you want to bring home to mother, but it's still compelling enough for a one-night stand that leaves you happily spent and already considering a second go-'round.

You can fault "TRON" for trying to be both a sequel and an original story, but with one or two more action sequences on the light cycle or in the arena, I think it would bump up from a B+ to an A—so how can you say you'd kick it out of bed?

SR: Whoa there—who said anything about kicking “Tron” out of bed? There are some genuinely funny moments in the film, like when Bridges learns about wi-fi, and the film would’ve benefited from a lot more of those, and it’s too bad Bridges didn't fully commit to his Obi Wan Lebowski shtick, because when he hit it, it killed.

Instead, the film tries so hard to sound smart and deep that it ends up sounding dumb and shallow. Man vs. God, father vs. son, the Holy Trinity, the nature of perfection. Can a brother get a discus battle?

SPR: I'm with you. But watching Bridges say things like, "I'm gonna go knock on the sky and listen to the sound," or his brilliantly simple response when Clu asks if he's still meant to create the perfect society ("Yeah?! "), are worth the price of admission.

If you want to get nit-picky, can someone explain to me why all multi-billionaire sons of privilege are disaffected base-jumping, motorcycle-riding whiners? It seems to me life is pretty good for the Sam Flynn's of the world--but I digress.

SR: Who’s being too tough now? Did it occur to you that Sam was a “whiner” because he mother died and his father disappeared? Yeesh… And I actually thought the whole base-jumping/motorcycle riding scene made his skills in the arena plausible.

Maybe I’m coming off as overly negative, because the sheer spectacle of “Tron: Legacy” is definitely worth the time and money—but only if you’re going to watch it as intended, in IMAX 3D, 'cuz I just can’t imagine it being a lot of fun on a regular old movie or TV screen.

SPR: I’m not a proponent of 3D, but in IMAX 3D, you’re transported onto The Grid, no psychotropics required. Even without it, I think the spectacle Joe Kosinksi created will stand up in other formats.

Legacy may be a little too tightly wound and overly eager to please, but I think it’s less a bimbo and more like the Victoria’s Secret catalogue; stunning, elusive in its obsessive perfection, occasionally vapid, but worthy of worship and repeat viewings.

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