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“TRON: Legacy”
a review by Darby O’Gill

It’s finally here! After years of waiting… Flynn lives! I, like may others, have been looking forward to the release of TRON: Legacy for quite sometime. And, now that it’s here, it’s time to answer the million-dollar question… Was it worth it? Ah… Yes?! It’s not an easy question. Look, the first TRON is a classic! It was the birth of computer animation as we know it, and yet it’s not really that great of a movie. It was slow, and the story didn’t always work. When you look at it today it looks like a caveman chiseling a wheel, but then again that’s exactly what it was. TRON: Legacy is much like it’s predecessor in that aspect. It’s not really that great of a movie, but it’s not bad either. It’s just not the greatest movie ever made, and yet that kind of makes me like it even more. Confused? Don’t be. This movie has more in common with its first film, than most sequels do these days, even if that’s not a good thing, it still kind of works.

The story begins with the disappearance of software and game developer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), and then picks-up again 26 years later when his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) finds his father’s old workshop in the back of the now closed Flynn’s Arcade. Sam, much like his father before him, finds himself unintentionally transported to the Grid, a living environment inside of a computer system, where programs live and work. They’re also forced to play games, and if they lose they will find themselves derezzed and erased from the system. So, you know… No pressure. Now, not to give anything away, but we do get to find out what has become of TRON. But to be honest, the filmmakers seem to try and throw in some surprises for the viewers that just don’t work. It’s not that they’re bad, it’s just that they don’t really fool anyone. And if you haven’t seen it yet, don’t worry I’m sure you would have figured it out on your own, even without my little hint.

I don’t think TRON: Legacy lived up to my expectations, but then again how could it? I mean, when you have years to look forward to a movie you almost always over hype it for yourself. I did enjoy myself though, and would gladly see it again. One of the things I thought could have been better was its use of the 3D. I love that the 3D experience didn’t begin until Sam was in the Grid, but I would have liked some more in your face 3D. I know, in the past I’ve always praised 3D movies for not using the cheesy in your face approach, but I think it would have been great here. I really wanted Identity Discs to be flying straight at me. The 3D gave some really nice depth, but overall it was just under utilized. The CGI recreation of Jeff Bridges’ younger Clu character was at times, amazing! However, to be honest there are a few times, if not more, where Clu’s CGI is painfully obvious. But, if you want to be really nerdy about it, you can justify it by saying Clu is a computer program, so he should look computer generated. Don’t judge me! The music by Daft Punk is outstanding! Add that to the mind blowing visual effects, and it all really helps to immerse you into the world of TRON. The costumes have an outstanding sense of the original look, and manage to make silly looking tights look rather bad-ass. Never the less, TRON: Legacy, much like TRON, may not be a good movie, but I’m sure it will be just as beloved.



“Iron Man 2”
a review by Darby O’Gill

A lot of things can go wrong, and often do, when making a comic book movie sequel. But gladly none of those things seem to be happening in Iron Man 2. Most comic book movies, namely the 1990’s Batman sequels, tend to find themselves spreading their stories ridiculously thin when adding way too many new characters to a storyline, but director Jon Favreau somehow manages to avoid this pitfall. Not only does Iron Man 2 work, but it also manages to do so while maintaining it’s fast pace, and it’s very well executed sense of storyline. Even with a handful of new characters being introduced, at no point does the audience, or the storyline for that matter, feel bogged-down by a bunch of origin story telling. I think Iron Man 2 should be the text book example of how to tell complex storylines to an audience without spoon feeding them at the same time.

In Iron Man 2, Tony Stark, played by Robert Downey Jr., not only finds himself dealing with the U.S. Government wanting the ownership of the Iron Man weapon, but also the fact that the very thing saving his life, could very well be killing him at the same time. If that weren’t enough, the Avenger Initiative has also started to lose their faith in him as a proper hero, and begin to question his future role in the Initiative. Topping it all off, Stark finds himself paying for the sins of his father, and dealing with a new enemy known as Whiplash, masterfully played by Mickey Rourke.

Now I figured with the addition of so many new characters, characters we’ve already met like Pepper Potts, played by Gwyneth Paltrow, would become secondary characters; making way for the new ones. But, I’m glad to say this wasn’t the case. Pepper’s character plays just as big of a role, if not bigger, in this film as she did in the first film. Also Don Cheadle’s replacement of Terrence Howard as Lt. Col. James Rhodes was seamless. I really liked Cheadle’s choice to play Rhodey the exact same way that Howard did. It really made the role more about the character, and less about the actor playing the character, which is not something all actors would choose to do. Scarlett Johansson is well under played as the Black Widow, but in a good way. The movie doesn’t rely on her as new eye candy, but rather uses her as needed for the story, which is a refreshing change of pace for movies like this. Which brings us the show stealing performance of Sam Rockwell; I don’t know what else to say other than… Wow! He really does bring his ‘A’ game to his performance as Stark Industries’ rival competitor, Justin Hammer. You’ll see what I mean when you see it. That guy needs to work more! Last but not least, Robert Downey Jr. continues to effortlessly capture the essence of Tony Stark, a role he was clearly born to play.

Is Iron Man 2 better than Iron Man? It’s hard to say. They’re two completely different movies. In the first Iron Man, there is this nice slow story pace that helps to ground the movie, but in Iron Man 2 you hit the ground running and it just feels right. With most sequels it’s easy to say which one is better, but with this one it’s truly is a continuation of the original movie, and feels like they are one and the same. Yes, I do realize that I just contradicted myself by saying they’re completely different and yet the same movie, but it’s true. I really hope all the other franchises out there are paying attention, because this is how it’s done. I think it’s safe to say that the 2010 season of summer movies is officially upon us, and the bar has been set very high thanks to Iron Man 2.