Saturday, January 15, 2011

Tron: Legacy

Before I begin, I feel the need to say that I actually liked the first Tron. Granted I was one when it was first released, but, after I grew up a bit and watched it, I found it to still be visionary, as well as visually ambitious, particularly for it's time. So when I heard of the sequel featuring Jeff Bridges, I was pretty excited. Granted, that excitement was dampened a bit by the critical reviews it receoeved, but I decided to draw my own conclusions.

First thing I noticed, is there are sections in the 3D viewing which are decidely 2D. In fact there is a notice saying that there are indeed 2D scenes and were filmed to be viewed as such. Which is a hassle. Viewing them through your 3D glasses, or at least for me, tired my eyes far more quickly than watching them without, but throwing them on at the first sign of double lines was annoying.

But anyway, the story starts off with the shocking visual of a young Jeff Bridges (accomplished pretty obviously through the use of CGI) talking to his motherless son before he goes to spend the night at the office. Needless to say, he never comes back. Flash forward 27 years, and we're introduced to the now grown, incredibly technically savvy and apparent extreme athlete Sam Flynn. First, I get that since his father was a computer whiz so too should he be, but motorcycle racing? Base jumping? Complete with a utter disregard for authority since he never had a parent. He does everything cliche, including rip off a corporation that is obviously corrupt. No one tells us how this young man came to possess the skills and attitude he has, we're simply expected to accept it and move on. Which ironically enough is the theme of this entire movie. Don't ask questions.

Later after Sam is digitized, scanned, and sent to fight in the "games" (question we shouldn't ask: are users so similar to programs that they scan exact same?) we see him defeat programs which presumably have been at it longer than he has. (The question we shouldn't ask is how can a novice human outdo expert programs?) After the inevitable meeting of father and son, there's some stilted dialogue and exposition which only serves to open even more plot holes which never get filled. There's the continued theme of unexplained phenomena (how is Flynn alive? Where'd all the food they eat come from? How'd he get books inside, particularly without Internet, how has he not died since time digitally is infinitely faster than analog, do programs poop? etc etc etc) which is compounded even more by the arrival of a new breed of program called an ISO, which "appeared" and weren't created, were the hope of all mankind and coincidentally were wiped out completely by CLUE, Kevin Flynn's partner in creating a digital utopia.

In all, this movie has gotten great reviews for visuals, and they don't necessarily disappoint. But without the story to back them, they are simply pretty lights blinking above a pit filled with rusty nails and barbwire. To see them up close, you will have endure a truly painful experience.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Who's The Man (or Woman)?

In today's world, gender roles are becoming far less traditional. The concepts of "man" and "woman" have changed drastically and continue to change. Even ten years ago, the idea of what a "man" should do, how he should act, and how he interacts in a relationship was different than today. We've struggled to come up with terms and adjectives to get to some type of understanding of what constitutes a man. There's been the birth of the metrosexual and even the ubersexual. And its not just the traditional male role that's changing. Women are now extolling the values of having a career over being a "homemaker" (so much so that women who choose to be homemakers are sometimes looked down on as being "bacwards") and feel that they don't "need" a man to support them financially or emotionally, but they simply choose to have a man.

All of these changes are naturally occuring social evolutions and as man continues to grow, we can expect these roles to continue to change as we adapt to each other. The problem this change causes is that increasingly, the roles of each gender are becoming more and more confusing. If a woman doesn't need a man to support her financially, does that mean that she expects him to be able to? At what point does a man being more open with his emotions and vulnerabilities cross the line from being desirable to undesirable to the opposite sex? Not knowing the boundaries or having some set and established guidelines is leading to frustration on the part of both parties. Thus, many have the mentality of "all men are dogs" or "women don't know what they want". Neither of these stereotypical allegations has any really merit to them, though the emotions and frustrations behind them do warrant a closer look into what causes them.

So what is it that's causing the frustration? Why aren't we getting along? Essentially there's a few problems, but first let's focus internally. Do you know what you want and/or expect from a potential relationship prospect? Most people will answer yes. Which is a good start. Now, ask yourself, do you know what you are willing to offer? Once again, this seems basic and simple, and it should, because it really is. After this assessment, you're ready to find someone else. So go out and find that other person. And once you find them, if they're not what you want, or if you aren't what they want, stop pursuing a relationship with them. No matter how "good" they may be, no matter how much physical attraction there may be between the two of you, if you are struggling to be something you are not to be with them, or if they're clearly not who you want them to be, WALK AWAY. It seems so simple doesn't it? And it is simple. But its not easy.

Many times the problem simply lies in our unwillingness to walk away. Maybe its a lack of patience. Or maybe its that we want something so badly, we don't take our time in making sure that the relationship we're contemplating is the relationship that we actually want. Either way, remember, if you're not happy with the way things are, or the way a person is, all you can do is walk away. That's it. And trust me, there will be other people.

As far as the gender roles go, as to who should ask who out first, who should be the breadwinner, etc., I'm sure that right now, each of you have firmly held beliefs on the subject. And somewhere out there, there is a person who has that same belief and is of the oppposite sex. Go out there and find that person. I bet y'all will have beautiful babies and be relatively happy together.