Over the weekend I saw The Voyage of the Dawn Treader with Julia, Melody, Robin and John. I also saw Hazel at the screening. And to my surprise it was in 3D.
This is the third movie in the Chronicles of Narnia series, and the first movie done by Fox, after Disney dropped the franchise. The Walden Fox partnership has not had the best track record. But the short of what’s going on is; Edmund, Lucy and Eustace (new character) travel to Narnia and encounter Caspian. Then there on the search for seven swords, whackyness ensues.
The good; the beginning, having not seen the second one I enjoyed setting the movie in reality, much like the first movie did. We open in on England during World War II. Another thing that was almost absent from the first movie is the spiritual aspects. Dawn Treader manages to sneak that stuff in, especially at the end. There’s also good character development during the movie, mainly with Eustace and his initiation in to the world of Narnia, semi spoiler – but he goes from an annoying brat to a useful dragon. Even Edmund and Lucy tackle some of their inner demons. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe felt more of a movie by the numbers, where Dawn Treader has a more defined quest and character arcs.
The bad; not sure this movie needed to be in 3D, didn’t really add anything to it. The movie felt like it could’ve been great, there was just something missing. Can’t place my finger on it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not a horrible movie, but it’s not great, and I can see a great movie that wasn’t realized. This year there aren’t any Christmas movies for the kiddies, Dawn Treader could’ve been that movie. It could’ve been a kids’ movie that has a great moral lesson.
In short, Dawn Treader will get lost in the shuffle, not sure there will be another Narnia movie after the mediocre box office draw. But it’s not as bad as I expected it.
Last night I then saw Tron: Legacy with Ryan. It’s a direct sequel to the first Tron movie –SPOILERS ahead.
It’s about Kevin Flynn’s son Sam. Flynn disappears in to the grid and Encom slowly turns in to what it was under the reign of Dillinger, even Alan can’t stop things without Sam’s help. Sam then gets digitized in to the grid much like his father did in the first movie. Sam is a fish out of water and must be baptized by fire in to the world of the Grid in order to find his father.
The good; the visuals, Tron has always been known for the visuals. Everything looks great. The action scenes were also nicely done. And the Grid definitely gets an “upgrade” with the look. There are lots of easter eggs to the first movie – the bits that Flynn lays on the first place, the toys in young Sam’s room, going back to Flynn’s arcade, the desktop computer interface, there’s a”vintage” light cycle, the sailer ship is similar to the first movie, and the carrier looks a lot like Sark’s in the first movie. And so on. Oh and the music is done by Daft Punk, so also make a cameo.
The bad; the visuals take precedent over the story… again. They zapped the color out of the costumes, making the suits mostly black. I want more color. In this digitized world, why would there be jet engine exhaust? In a world where you just program something and it happens? And then back to the story, there’s a story here, but not the one it should’ve been.
CLU, Flynn’s hacker program from the first movie is resurrected, is tasked with the assignment to create the perfect system. But like any Star Trek story, the computer program takes the program to the nth degree, and CLU sees Flynn as a treat to the completion of his assignment. So the Grid becomes what it was under Sark’s reign. Flynn realizes that it was his fault that CLU did what he did, that should’ve been more than a two minute long scene. Flynn needed to address that he created the tyranny in the Grid and take time with that realization, there was some emotion from CLU when this scene occurs, but I wanted more from CLU, much like Lucifer and God. They do after all call Flynn the “creator”… he’s got a beard and dressed in white?
Then there’s Sam… he’s supposed to be us, the audience, a fish out of water in the world of the Grid. But it’s not like the first movie where Flynn learns by playing games and talking to other programs. All we know is that Sam’s good with a motorcycle, so I guess that’s enough with the light cycles. But there needed to be more games, so we could see that he’s good like his father.
Then there’s Tron… oh poor Tron. The movie is called Tron: Legacy… why? Tron’s in the movie, but for like a second. In the original movie he’s Alan’s security program that’s been incorporated in to the Grid because Dillinger just took Alan’s program, like he stole Flynn’s video games to rise in the ranks. The movie is more about Flynn, we needed more Tron, or Tron’s Legacy and how he fights for the users. Did Tron leave a legacy for Flynn to follow or draw inspiration from? Where does this title come in to play?
There’s a lot that could’ve been improved with the story portion of this movie. But don’t let that fool you, I enjoyed it. The soundtrack is great and the visuals are stunning. Not sure there will be another sequel after this one.