So my friends we have reached the end of 2010. Well, not quite, but it is here our paths go in different directions, not set to converge again until 2011. Wherever yours takes you I wish you warm festive tidings. Mine will lead me to the bosom of my family and friends, several thousand calories anointed with cream (clotted and double) and enough booze to topple a darts champion, if I’m lucky.
But before we head into the strange and beautiful world of the holiday season there is the matter of some unfinished business to attend to. A few months ago I wrote about turning down the opportunity to preview half an hour of Tron: Legacy. I chose not to at the time to preserve as much of the experience as possible.
The time to see if my abstinence was worth it arrived this week amid falling temperatures and an almost feverish festive spirit -I was in a great mood there was no denying it. I didn’t even mind wearing the Michael Caine appreciation society 3D specs for this one. After all, this is a film fully realised in 3D, shot in the format and using the same technological doohickey as Avatar. None of your 3D conversion nonsense here (I see you squirming in your seat back there Clash Of The Titans).
The first 30 minutes were a master-class in true film seduction; it batted its glossy three-dimensional eyelids at me and gently nibbled my ear with its beautifully rendered neon dystopian cityscapes and beyond cool light-cycle battles. Unfortunately, the huge amount of kinetic energy generated in the first third was allowed to ebb away unharnessed. The rest of the film became a very simple ‘take macguffin from Point A to Point B and don’t get killed on the way’ scenario. Like the computer program world it’s set in, Tron: Legacy was ultimately a cold and sterile experience. If it weren’t for Jeff Bridges ‘You’re really messing with my Zen thing man!’ and Daft Punk’s cracking electronic soundtrack I’d have opted to ‘derez’ much sooner.
Despite it turning out to be another massive case of style over substance the disappointment didn’t get me that upset. Instead I was glad to have seen the film as it was intended (if I had attended the preview it would’ve undoubtedly revealed all the good bits, and I mean all of them). How could it possibly have lived up to its hype? If Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull has taught us anything, it’s that movie magic doesn’t have a very long shelf life (bloody swinging digital monkeys!) and with the original Tron being released 28 years ago, it probably should have been left well alone. In the end, it’s not the worst film I’ve ever seen and it did the best it could with the story it was given, I shouldn’t have expected more than that.
I’ve found the year in film has dealt me a wealth of these little heartbreaks, a wasted opportunity here, a crass cash-in there. But it all balances out and more besides -for the time I prayed someone would take a sledgehammer to the ankles of the writer(s) of The Back Up Plan, there was the moment Kick-Ass laid waste to a group of henchmen with a gattling-gun equipped jet-pack to the sound of American Trilogy! Not to mention having my socks rocked off at the sight of Scott Pilgrim cross flaming swords with Gideon Graves.
So with a contented heart at the end of the year all that’s left for me to do is unapologetically invite you to listen to my film review of the year programme on BBC Devon radio on Christmas Day at 3.05pm (something for all the family!) and wish you a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2011, may your popcorn never go stale.