Monday, December 20, 2010

Tron on Vicodin

INFIRMARY, Dec. 18 - A deep, dull ache got me a Monday root canal appointment. A bottle of Vicodin got me to Monday. After a quick consult with my RN mother in-law, (don't drive, remember my antibiotics, beware constipation) I was good to go for the weekend. Friday night I sat around and listened to old MP3s. I'd never really had an opportunity to listen to music on drugs. It's fun! Saturday it was time to tackle Tron. Notes;

- I've been looking forward to this movie for so long I don't care about it anymore. Counting the viral stuff, marketing for Tron: Legacy went on longer than Obama's presidential campaign. Way back in March, jokes comparing speeding Priuses with wayward light cycles already seemed dated.

- The first Tron was a gorgeous mistake on Disney's part, a labor-intensive salute to old-fashioned rotoscope and backlit animation that no rival studio could afford to repeat. The new Tron cost four and a half times as much and looks like a fancy ad for glass cleaner.

- Q: How many drugs are needed to make it fun to go to the movies? A: Too many. The guy next to me narrated everything ("Oh shit!", "Daaamn!", "Ho shit! I want one of those bikes!"), and the mother of a colicky baby cursed out the audience as security showed her to the door. All of this easily cut through the armor of good-time rainbow narcotics fun I thought I'd encased myself in.

- Jeff Bridges shows up as both his old and young self. So does Bruce Boxleitner, also from the original Tron. They do it with computers. It was sad that their 1982 costar Cindy Morgan wasn't invited back. At 61, Bridges still gets the kind of great roles (3 this month) most actresses can't land after 40. Once CGI face-replacement technology is perfected - soon - chauvinist ageism will no longer be a plausible option for male studio heads. If Disney didn't want the 56-year-old Morgan, they still could have hired back the 28-year-old Morgan.

- Although the technology isn't perfect yet. The fake young Bridges mostly looked fake ("an animated death mask" says the NY Times). It was even creepier in the few shots where it did work. The political implications of foolproof face faking are staggering. So far, the only public figure to acknowledge this pending reality is former Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad, who said, of the United States, "If they can make Avatar, they can make anything." Although Mahathir is a wackadoo anti-Semite (his quote referred to Americans faking 9/11), he pretty much called it on this one.

- I kept getting sucked in and out of the experience. The 3D was flattened by huge stains on the screen; my chatty neighbor kept pulling me out of the dialogue; the lousy dialogue kept distracting me from the special effects; the distant but insistent pain in my tooth kept tugging me back to reality. After an hour of this, I wasn't having much fun. It occurred to me that I could enjoy myself more by hanging out in the lobby, so I did this. The angry mom was there, with her two colicky, angry children. She reminded me of everything I hate about movies, malls, people, rudeness, and overpopulation, so I popped another pain pill and then everything was fine. Two thumbs up for Tron.