September 10th, 2019

play it again

Tron: Legacy

Last week I watched the original Tron movie for the first time in ages. The visuals are still spectacular, especially when you consider that it's done almost entirely through hand-animation and funky camera settings, but the pacing is weird, the story paper-thin, and the soundtrack verging on obnoxious at times. It's fun, but almost might work better as a silent movie.

But this had got me thinking about Tron: Legacy and what a difference music can make. After all, the sequel is one of those movies where I fell in love about 30 seconds in (just like with the first RDJ Sherlock Holmes movie) when the French horns started in on the main theme, and the soundtrack swept me along all the way through to the end, which I still weep over every time. And yes, the visuals are amazing, and are what originally caught my interest when I heard they'd finally done a Tron sequel, and theme of fathers and children (in various positive and negative iterations) is surprisingly more meaty than I could have predicted, given the source material. The pacing is a bit uneven and the script definitely has weaknesses, but overall it's a satisfying story that manages to avoid some of the more obvious cliches.

But it's the music that really makes it something more--there's some quality about it that's expansive, that lends the overall movie a sense of grandeur while avoiding the first movie's tendency towards bombast. It makes me feel bigger on the inside while I'm listening to it, that makes me want to press on to some great deed that sits just out of view. Everyone remembers the Daft Punk bits, and those are great, but it's those French horns and that main theme that keep me coming back.

Just to have a little fun, let's compare the two introductory battle scenes, paying attention primarily to the use of music:
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