Saturday, December 18, 2010

A Critic's Showdown Over "TRON: Legacy," and Light Cycle Margaritas

Scott Ross: “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. And ironically, in spite of all the silly explication, the film somehow leaves a pantload of questions unanswered. I just wish they’d’ve fired up the light cycles, kicked the bad guy’s ass and called it a day.

Sasha Perl-Raver: 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, like J.J. Abrams' pitch-perfect reboot of "Star Trek," 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 origin story, flinging far too much expository backstory at the audience, and 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, but how can you say you'd kick it out of bed?

SR: Whoa there—who said anything about kicking “Tron” out of bed? But seriously, there are some great moments in the film, like when Bridges learns about wi-fi, and the film would’ve benefited from a lot more of those. If only Bridges had fully committed to his Obi Wan Lebowski shtick.

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… these are not groundbreaking ideas—it’s the stuff you talk about at 4:20 in morning over day-old pizza. Can a brother get a discus battle?

SPR: I'm with you, chief. Another identity disc battle is just what the doctor ordered. But, speaking of 4:20, 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.

At the end of the day, "TRON: Legacy" isn't without its faults, but I'm still a champion for any world where everywhere you go Daft Punk is rocking out, you can tell the good guys from the bad based on the glow of their neon unitards and Jeff Bridges is the savior.

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.

I wholeheartedly agree that the Daft Punk music was dope and you have to love the fact they were probably the only folks in the film who got to wear their own clothes.

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, in fact, before TRON, the only movie where it really worked for me was How to Train Your Dragon, but in IMAX 3D, you’re transported onto The Grid, no psychotropics required. But even without it, I think the spectacle Joe Kosinksi created will stand up in other formats. The fact that the Disney logo alone drew a collective Joey Lawrence-style “Whoa” from the audience at both screenings I’ve attended, says a lot.

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.

written for NBC's Popcorn Biz

Earlier this year, I offered up a recipe for TRON: Legacy Derezzed Soup. This time around, how's about something you might sip at the End of the Line Club while rocking out to Daft Punk?

Light Cycle Margaritas
1 English cucumber, 1/2 cubed, 1/2 thinly sliced
2 green jalapeno peppers, 1 seeded and chopped, 1 thinly sliced
1 cup (8 ounces) silver tequila (you can’t go wrong with Patron)
1/4 cup tripe sec
3 tablespoons Blue Curacao
1/4 cup fresh lime juice plus 1 tablespoon

For garnish:
3 tablespoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
lime wedges

In a blender or food processor, combine chopped jalapeno, cubed cucumber and 1 tablespoon lime juice. Puree until smooth.

In a shaker filled with ice, combine cucumber-chili puree, tequila, triple sec, Blue Curacao and lime juice.

Combine 3 tablespoons kosher salt with 1 teaspoon chili powder. Run lime wedge around lip of tall chilled glass and dip in chili salt.

Carefully fill rimmed glasses with cucumber and jalapeno slices. Top with ice and strain margarita mix over ice.

No comments:

Post a Comment