Tuesday, December 28, 2010

"Tron: Legacy" and Going Mad

I don´t know if you have already had the chance to see the new "Tron: Legacy", which is a sequel to the legendary original "Tron" from 1982. It´s in 3-D, full of cool images and gadgets. And good looking girls and boys in tights. And this is a Disney-movie, folks. Which sort of makes sense, if you have a dark and wicked mind, like I do. (Just kidding)

So far the reviews have been less than stellar. The plot is weak, if non-existing. The acting sucks. Jeff Bridges is apparently just waltzing through his performance like an insomniac on weed. The main star of the movie, Garret Hedlund, is pictured in every possible angle stretching his ill-fitting body suit. The movie did make around 44 million $ on its opening weekend, which is about $ 17 million more than the original "Tron" did, but this does lack the original estimate of 54 $. Is the sequel going to be a cult classic as its precessor? Hmm, I am not sure. The original "Tron" was also not critically well-received, nor did it make a commercial success. However, the ideas it presented at the time (1982) of the digital world, immersion into games, alternate realities, AI becaming aware etc. were groundbreaking.

The Los Angeles Times did an interesting article on the ´psyche´of the first "Tron"-movie, as theorized by Jay Martin, Martin, who is a University of Southern California Literature professor AND a practicing psychoanalyst, has provided his own intriguing take on the actual subplot of the movie. In sum, he thinks "Tron" perfectly describes the schizophrenic brain and its processes. Schizophrenic patients often see themselves being at the mercy of a machine or computer. He cites a German psychiatrist Viktor Tausk, who described
 "schizophrenia as a mental process which is experienced by the schizophrenic as if it were imposed upon him through the diabolical activity of some external force induced by a mysterious machine. The patient´s disordered impulses feel as if they are not his own, but are pushed inside from an alien outside."

In the first "Tron", Jeff Bridges´ character Kevin Flynn exhibits symptoms of paranoia, as evidenced by his videogames ("Space Paranoids"). Paranoia dwells into schizophrenia as Flynn is absorbed into the computer and must fight the manifestations of his own programs. According to Jay Martin, this underlying subplot is so raw and effective that it makes the viewers feel uncomfortable.

"The senses of fragmentation, alienation and danger as a way of life; the film´s representation of a primitive, paranoid schizophrenic process lying just beneath the surface of behavior, into which we might fall at any time - these are what made ´Tron` so hard for audiences to take".

The ideas of alternate realities, dream worlds and losing grip with reality are not that rare of a treat these days ("Matrix", "Inception", "Sixth Sense"). Perhaps the new version of the digital game world is met with less disturbed feelings?


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