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20 Years away from the grid: Don’t get me wrong, I was a massive Tron fan in my younger 90s days but somewhere in the 20 year gap I forgot about The Grid. Then in late 2009 comic-con released a teaser trailer for a sequel – and suddenly I was revisiting the digital domain of Tron – one aged and much darker than before.
The Creator – Flynn
I was fascinated by Kevin Flynn’s return, the idea of an older, much wiser Flynn and one that is perceived as a deity on The Grid. And so I followed every development and every rumour (much thanks to ign.com) of the film up to its release. I have always believed in the spirit, discovered the art of meditation quite naturally as a very young child, but after seeing this film I have become passionate about Zazen and following my way of Zen.
People have criticised this film on its slow build-up and story line, personally I believe its slow build-up is necessary – there is 20 years of retrospection to be covered, however when the true-action begins things really start to move. But this review is not about the action, visa vie its inaction what matters, the importance of waiting, being still, moving past wants and needs. Visually Legacy complements its 1982 predecessor perfectly while still maintaining a contemporary visual. The Grid has changed, its much larger, infinitely more possible, and much darker. I will not go into specifics regarding plot, there are plenty of well-read reviews for this already, suffice it to say Kevin Flynn became locked within the world of Tron and (as covered in Tron Uprising) there has been a rebellion by the Programs against its Creator. Tron who was once the architect’s assistant has been corrupted and reprogrammed by Clu who has now gained power over The Grid and forced Kevin Flynn into hiding. When the Son of Flynn enters The Grid the time of meditation is over – the resurrection is begun.
However all is not what it seems as these actions are all the design of Clu, who’s agenda threatens both the digital domain and the physical world. The chemistry between Creator and Creation, between Flynn and The Grid, is a perfect analogy for the Christianity faith – as is succinctly explained in The Likeness of the Creator by James F. McGrath:
” The creator, Flynn, does not simply condemn and punish his creation, Clu, made in his own image and likeness. He recognizes that the shortcomings of Clu are a reflection of himself as creator. In fact, Clu’s vision of “perfection” mirrored Flynn’s own at the time he created Clu. But what he came to realize later is that such ideals of perfection in fact pale in comparison with the reality of human life, with all its flaws and failures.”
Naturally Tron Legacy lends itself effortlessly to blu-ray and a good clear HD screen, the visuals are stunning and the digital realm is rendered in flawless detail. Indeed this was one of my best blu-ray purchases and truly made me appreciate just how good my screen is. Contrasts are well defined and edges pin-sharp, and pleasingly these are achieved without losing texture definition.
At the heart of all this is a truly great music score by Daft Punk, the digital realm is brought to life with an amazing soundtrack – digital beats and contemplative ambience. It has been quite some time since I last purposely purchased an OST, but the Tron Legacy OST is a must have and I have been listening to it ever since its release. The remixed score – Reconfigured is an amazing compilation presenting Daft Punk’s electronic masterpiece in another totally awesome light.
Tron Legacy and the days up to its release have sparked many revelations and followers, the Flynn Lives following (elaborated during the bonus footage potentially showing the origins of a further film Tron 3 – see Tron Legacy blu-ray bonus content), Flynn Frontier, some fascinating fan-made pages and projects including Life Beyond the Digital Frontier by MAXIMILIAN MAJEWSKI, and the previously mentioned The Likeness of the Creator by James F. McGrath.
Tron Legacy is one of three favourite films, and one that is always viewed with the lights dimmed, the surround-sound enabled, and the screen freshly cleaned. Its definitely a thinker’s film, deep and spiritual, a great sci-fi who fans of a digital existence like The Matrix will love.
Water has memory, it remembers who we were and sees who we now are, it senses the greed of men, water also remembers those things we have forgotten. Emotion, the spirit, kindness, guardianship, love and the future.Like many of M. Night Shyamalan’s films [allegedly] you will either love or hate this film. When I first saw this film I rented it from my local Blockbusters store (now closed down), the check-out guy gave me such an encouraging review of this film, and yet I have also spoken to people who hate it. I myself think it’s a work of art, the photography is amazing, each frame is meticulously shot and establishes a vivid visual style. The acting is sublime and made me an instant fan of Paul Giamatti.
A water Narf named Story dwells in a small deep communal pool at a building called The Cove, Story has been sent to fulfil her purpose, to try and make men remember how to listen. She meets Cleveland Heap a man who believes he has no purpose, a man of great knowledge and a man who lost everything. Every being has a purpose, sometimes we just need reminding who we once were.
Story’s purpose is revealed through a gathering of 12 people, the vessel, guardian, a symbolist, a guild, one who has no secrets, seven sisters, and the healer.
No one is ever told who they are.
A word about which format best to view this film; I would not bother with it in blu-ray, it has been over-treated with such a high contrast that many of the shadow details are gone entirely, the dynamic colour range has been far too compressed and over saturated. The films soundtrack also sounds flatter. – This is far better viewed on DVD (in my opinion).
This is an emotional film, it stirs the soul – calm waters run deep, and indeed this film is about water – something us Pisceans know all about.
The Fountain 2006 – Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Pi, Requiem for a Dream).
This is spirituality 101, life death and rebirth are told here in deep, evocative shades across three interwoven timelines that dance around the spirit. The film’s score (by Clint Mansell) is one of the finest pieces of music I have come across, its haunting meditative flavours are truly penetrating. I have often chosen the score prior to my meditation sessions, it massages the soul and quietens the mind.
This is one of three favourite spiritual films (see also Tron Legacy, The Big Lebowsky and Winter Spring Summer Spring)
The use of match-cuts and recurring visual motifs (merging separate scene time lines to tell the same story) is truly mesmerising. This film is intelligent and certainly needs (and deserves) several viewings. The way life, death, life and living, are told through the use of metaphor, metaphysics, meditation, and spirituality is truly humbling.
The visuals and colours are rich and a treat when viewed in a darkened room with some candles, indeed many of the scenes are bathed in deep warm candle light. Like deep calm waters, the flow of this film is slow and offers no appeal for those seeking action – indeed what’s fundamental to this film is inaction – stopping and looking within, finding stillness and evoking deep contemplation.
The acting in this is sublime, Hugh Jackman’s performance (as Dr Tom Creo) is the best I have seen – the emotions, despair, guilt, love and loss and ultimately enlightenment are real. The writing is beautifully told and delivered. It would be inappropriate to talk about character development because the very concept of this is what the film is about.
As for what format makes best viewing I believe DVD gives the best experience, the Blu-Ray version seems overworked, the dynamic colour range is somewhat compressed to compensate for higher contract (the darks are too extreme), also the films score is dampened on Blu-Ray (in my opinion).
My thinking-mans deep spiritual collection of films is now becoming quite extensive but this remains in my top three, and for the price of DvDs these days this is simply a bargain and something I believe everybody better for seeing sometime in their lives.
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