I had the opportunity to see the recent Tron movie last night. Already you’re probably wondering what this has to do with Linux on old computers, but bear with me. I can make this work.
I never held out any hope that the new movie would eclipse the old for me. I put the DVD in the tray knowing full well that my fondness for the original, which I saw in theaters probably three times when I was a kid, had doomed the new version from the start.
And that was more or less the case. I don’t point the finger at any one person for its failure to enthrall me. The actors were fine. The effects were up to par. The music was great (and I dare not say any less than “great” for fear all of the Internet’s love for Daft Punk will come down on me like a ton of bricks ).
But it didn’t have nearly the charm or charisma (or camp) of the original. I can encapsulate my explanation by saying simply, that you had to be a kid in the early 80s to really appreciate the original.
The new one had every advantage the old one didn’t — technology has finally caught up with what the imagination demands. But ironically, after all these years, we’ve seen just about every trick Hollywood has to offer.
Even bullet time CGI is a decade old now. Glossy light cycles and actors collapsing into marbles? It was only a matter of time.
Which means the only thing left to save it was the story. And that failed, tragically. Nothing in the story was the least bit innovative for me.
They would have been better off just remaking the original, and putting to into place the effects we all just dreamed about, nigh-on 30 years ago.
Long on technology, short on creativity. That’s all it takes to be a big-budget Hollywood movie any more. It’s not about a good story, it’s about dazzling people with computerized glitter.
But I hardly blame Hollywood. Public conception of technology isn’t about function, it’s about flash. It’s not about quality, and what does the job, it’s about what impresses coworkers, costs the most, or sparkles when you hold it up in the sun.
Function and quality take a back seat to glitz and gloss, whether it’s a cellphone, a microwave oven, a laptop computer or the operating system you run on it.
So no, I don’t blame Disney for tearing off one more chunk from the corpse of Tron, spritzing it for the younger generation and offering it up for public mastication.
They’re just doing what the crowd wants. Maybe one day there will be a Tron movie that can engross us on the basis of its creativity and imagination, like the first one did.
But I don’t expect it. Our toys get simpler and shinier, and our movies get simpler and shinier. Our lives … well, let’s only hope they’re improving in different ways.
I’d hate to think there was less quality, and more superficiality, in life today.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to watch the original, one more time. On my 10-year-old laptop.