Tag Archives: special effects

Anatomy of a Film Franchise – Disney’s Tron Legacy

Admittedly, I might not be the ideal blogger to provide you with the inside scoop on Walt Disney Pictures’ upcoming action film, Tron Legacy.  After all, I never saw the original film, which hit theaters back in 1982, and starred that guy who played The Dude in The Big Lebowski.

Jeff Bridges

I did recently catch the original trailer on YouTube, however!  I found it highly amusing . . . though probably not for the reasons its creators intended.

Was this a comedy?

Given that the film is heading into its late-twenties, I expected the special effects to be more than a bit dated.  What I didn’t expect was the unintentional hilarity of Cheesy TV Announcer Guy.  Seriously, this guy should do stand-up!  Take, for example, this gem-like line from the trailer:  “Trapped inside an electronic arena, where love and escape do not compute.”  (Now, if only I could find an excuse to make use of this awesome phrase, in my day-to-day life . . .)

“Hi, you’ve reached TV Recappers’ phone.  I can’t take your call right now, because I am trapped in an electronic arena, where love and escape do not compute . . .”

But, before I go any further, perhaps I should give you the opportunity to enjoy the 1982 trailer for yourself . . .

Cheesy and over-dramatic as it may seem now, apparently, THIS was the film that paved the way for all of the CGI graphics and high tech special effects we take for granted today.  It also spawned a commercial EMPIRE, including a line of toys;

a cavalcade of super sexy fan geeks;

Yum!

and, perhaps, most importantly, a video arcade game featuring lots of PRETTY COLORS . . . and . . . not much else.

But, believe it or not, all this 80’s themed goodness, is NOT what prompted my interest in Tron Legacy.  Rather, it was my, way too late, introduction to THIS GUY .  . .

Meet Garrett Hedlund, age 25,who will be starring alongside Jeff Bridges in the NEW Tron Legacy.  Although the actor has been mistakenly tauted as a “newcomer” by members of the American press, he’s not.  Here’s a picture of Garrett in the 2004 film Friday Night Lights (on which the successful NBC TV series of the same name was based).

And here’s a picture of Garrett chilling with Mark Wahlberg and Tyrese, on the set of the 2005 film Four Brothers.

Here’s a picture of Garrett in that Ridiculously Bad Lindsay Lohan movie, Georgia Rule  (although, I imagine he would prefer we just forgot about that one . . . ).

“Hey, baby!  I’m thirsty!  How’d ya like to pour some beer on my SCRAM bracelet!”

Finally, here’s a screencap of Garrett taken by yours truly from the Tron Legacy trailer that aired during the movie, Inception.  It was this picture that prompted me to fall in love with Garrett, and, eventually, write this blog post . . .

Sigh!

But, perhaps you aren’t as shallow as I am.  And the appearance of Garrett alone isn’t enough to make you see this film. 

I know, Monkey.  It doesn’t make sense to me either .  . .

Well, it also stars the  Olivia Wilde, a.k.a. that enviably attractive, intimidatingly cool, and unfairly talented lady, of House and The O.C. fame.

Remember that time when she made out with Mischa Barton?

Good times!

But Tron Legacy not only has a stellar cast, it’s also absolutely destined to have an amazing soundtrack!  After all, Disney hired none other than Daft Punk to pen the film’s score.

Now, even if electronic music is not really your thing (and, I admit, it’s not usually mine), you have to appreciate the talent of a band like Daft Punk.  Technologic remains my favorite workout song of all time!  Try listening to this song and NOT getting pumped up.  (Note:  I WOULD have embedded the video for Technologic in this post, but the creepy Robo-Baby in it scares me.  Click on the link, and you’ll see what I mean . . .)

Another cool Daft Punk song is Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger.  Unlike Technologic, this one has a very cool, non-scary, music video accompanying it.  Therefore, I will post it here for your viewing pleasure:

Along with a fabulous soundtrack, to promote the film, Disney will also be releasing a brand new, slightly less rainbow-y, video game, entitled Tron Evolution, as well as some brand new toys!

Most notable, among of the toys, of course, is the Sam Flynn / Garrett Hedlund ACTION FIGURE!

Sexiness that fits in your pocket!

Now THAT’S something I’d buy!

As for the trailer itself, it’s pretty intense.

“Look at me!  I’m intense!’

The basic premise of the film is that Garrett’s character, Sam Flynn, enters into the computerized world of the first film to retrieve his father, Computer Genius, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who he hasn’t seen in 20-years.  And, let me tell you, they’ve got some good botox in Computer World, because the first time we see “The Dude” in the trailer, he looks like THIS . . .

But then, later in the film, the Botox must wear off, because he starts looking like this . . .

So, without further adieu, the trailer for Tron Legacy . . .

Not enough Tron Legacy goodness for you?  You can catch the other two released trailers for the film here and here.  You can also learn more about the film, here.

Tron Legacy hits theaters December 17, 2010.  Will YOU see it?

[www.juliekushner.com]

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The Mind is a terrible place to hide (but an awesome place to play): My review of the film “Inception” – [Contains some spoilers]

A few months back, I literally drooled over the awesomeness that was the then-new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s surefire blockbuster film, Inception.  Well, I’ve FINALLY seen the movie itself.  Here’s my review . . .

When it comes to dreams, nothing beats the lucid ones.  You know the dreams I’m talking about.  The ones where, at some point in the dream, you become certain, without a doubt, that you are, in fact, dreaming. 

It is at that moment, that you have all the power. 

You are the Master of the Universe.  You are a god.  There are no limits to what you can do.  Everything is yours for the taking . . . and the making.  You have become the big kid in the playground of your own mind . . .

Party Hard!

At least until you wake up, and have to face your boring, crappy, normal life again.

A lucid dream – that’s what seeing Inception felt like for me.  Because if I could create the ultimate movie in my mind (and was also significantly smarter, and more creative than I actually am), I imagine it would look a lot like this.  Seriously, what more could you possibly want in a movie?  Inception offers (among other things):  

*A brilliant writer/ director (Christopher Nolan). 

* THIS guy . . .

(It pains me to note that he kept his shirt for the ENTIRE film . . . CLEARLY an oversight on Chris Nolan’s part.)

* THAT GUY . . .

(Also stayed clothed.  SO NOT COOL, Mr. Nolan!)

*A major HEIST, the likes of which you have never seen.

No . . not even there.

*Hypnotic and mind-boggling special effects that will shock and awe even the most jaded of movie goers  (I know, because I am one of them.)

*Action sequences that will leave your heart racing, even if you generally have little patience for the “Golly gee, let’s blow stuff up for no reason,” nature of action flicks (Me again!)

*A tight, if slightly convoluted, plot that will hold your interest throughout the film’s entire 2 hours and 22 minutes run time, even if you don’t always understand what the f*ck is going on . . .

*Psychologically mind-bending concepts that will give your brain one big fat “O.” (Lord knows, our brains could all use a good roll in the hay these days.).  The movie will also undoubtedly keep you up all night contemplating the meaning of it all.

“Hmmm .  . . why DID they make Leo and Joseph keep their shirts on?

*A twist ending, whose biggest “twist” may very well be that it is not a twist at all

And romance?  Well, there’s a little of that too . . .

There are some who say that Inception is best experienced by people who know absolutely nothing about it’s plot.  Well, I don’t necessarily think that’s true.  Before I watched the film, I read a few non-spoilery reviews first, because I just couldn’t help myself.  Honestly, I felt that they helped me get a better handle on what I was seeing, while not spoiling any of the film’s big surprises.

What follows is the basic premise of Inception.  So if you are a spoiler phobe / movie purist, this is where I leave you . . .  I mean it, GO!  I don’t want to get yelled at later . . .

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Dom Cobb, an expert at navigating the mine field of the human mind through dreams.  He’s a white collar criminal of a very unique kind – one hired by the most dangerous and most powerful men and women in the world to perform a task called: Extraction.  Extraction involves entering into a person’s mind while he is sleeping, and “extracting” from it information that is guarded carefully by the dreamer, when he is awake.  The information in question is typically depicted as a locked safe, hidden in the deep recesses of the Dream World.

“No WAY you’re getting my secrets, Leo!  (Can I still dream about you though?)”

Following a deep personal tragedy in his life involving his wife Mal (played by Marion Cotillard), Cobb and his “partner-in-crime” Arthur (played by Joseph Gordon Levitt, who by the magic of good genes, just seems to keep getting hotter and hotter each year), spend most of their lives on the run.  Cobb and Arthur are constantly being hunted, both by enemies they have made in the field, and by Cobb’s own inner demons, the latter of which literally plague his unconscious as he “dreamwalks.”

 

But Cobb has two children he longs to see.  He desires consistency and the comforts of home.  A powerful business man named Saito (Ken Watanabe) . . .

 . . . knows this, and uses it to his advantage.  He makes Cobb the proverbial “offer he can’t refuse:”  One Last Job. (Where have we heard THAT one before?)

But this one’s a little different . . .

Saito isn’t interested in Extraction, what he desires is Inception.  Saito wants Cobb to put an idea in the mind of his business competitor, Fischer (Cillian Murphy – He of the beautifully chiseled porcelain face, and entrancing blue eyes, who, for whatever reason, always looks a bit evil .  . . but in a good way) . . .

This implanted idea will convince Fischer to break up his empire into little, less monopolistic, pieces.  To do this, Cobb needs a team:  his bromantic buddy Arthur is the hottest  most obvious choice.  But other key players are needed.

His father (played by Michael Caine), a professor of Dream Architecture, suggests that Cobb use his star student, Ariadne (How’s THAT for a name?  No offense to all you Ariadne’s out there, of course), played by Ellen Page.

Coolest.  Girl.  Ever.

Ariadne will build Fischer’s dream world. 

The next addition to the team is a chemist, Yusuf (Dileep Rao).  He will be responsible for crafting a sedative strong enough to put the “Dream Team” and Fischer in “Dreamland” long enough to complete the job.   You see, apparently, even though dreams only last a few minutes at most, our minds work faster when in REM sleep.  Therefore, time seems slower in dreams.  (Who said action flicks weren’t educational?)

“OMG, Leo is SO dreamy!”

And, finally, there’s Eames (Tom Hardy) . . .

 . . . a con artist and master at Deception.  His job is to make Fischer believe that the people and places in the dream are creations of his own mind, and not those of intruders, who are out to alter it.  This is an important job, because our minds have natural defenses to foreign ideas — and, in Fischer’s mind, these defenses are armed and dangerous. 

Get out, you evil Dream Crasher, you!

I had never actually seen Tom Hardy’s work before Inception.  But he stole my heart in this movie.  Aside from looking like THIS. . .

(He’s the one on the left, obviously, with the tatts . . .  and the abs . . . and the gorgeous . . .)

And THIS . . .

But not like THIS . . .

(That’s Thomas Hardy . . . as in, the dude who wrote those lame books you had to read in high school.  Nice try, Google Images, but you can’t fool a fangirl!)

Hardy’s Eames is just so friggin cool!  He exudes masculinity, confidence, and, most importantly, sex appeal.  He’s smart, without being pompous or geeky.  Plus, his subtle rivalry with Gordon Levitt’s straight-laced Arthur, is a joy to watch.  I never thought any male actor would have the ability to take my eyes off of Gordon Levitt or DiCaprio in this film, but Tom Hardy succeeded in doing it for me, BIG TIME!

What follows is a classic international crime caper with one major difference:  None of what is happening is technically REAL, at least not in the way you and I think of as real.  The film also poses some very interesting questions about the origins of our inspirations, and the ways in which our everyday lives are shaped by basic assumptions we hold about what is REALITY and what is FANTASY. 

What makes your waking life REAL, and your dream life FAKE?  And who says you aren’t dreaming right NOW?  (Admit it, I just creeped you out a bit, didn’t I?)

How does Inception end?  Well, let’s just say you’ll be thinking about it, and talking about it, for some time to come . . .

In case it isn’t COMPLETELY obvious by now, I ABSOLUTELY 100% recommend this film to . . . well . . . anybody with a pulse, actually.  (I also recommend TOM HARDY to any girl with a libido, and any producer who WANTS girls with libidos to attend their manly films . . . )

Just in case you forgot what he looks like . . .

Inception is in theaters now.  Have you seen it yet?  If so, what did you think?  I’ve been just dying to pick someone else’s brain about it, since I got out of the theater last night  . . . particularly about the film’s final scene.  Never has such a small and seemingly simplistic object seemed so intriguing . . .

 

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INCEPTION – The Film I Am Most Excited to See in Summer 2010

* Helmed by the esteemed writer, director, and producer of The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan? CHECK!

* Features an all-star cast including, none other than: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page, Michael Caine, Cillian Murphy, Marion Cotillard, Luke Haas, and Ken Watanabe? CHECK!

*Awesome Tagline: CHECK!  (Your mind is the scene of the crime.)

*Mindblowing special effects? CHECK!

(I should probably note that special effects typically bore me.  Most of the time, at least as far as I am concerned, they tend to be of the  “been there, seen that,” variety.  However, watching the above-pictured scene — you’ll know it when you see it in the trailer — literally sent shivers down my spine . . .)

*Highly mysterious script and plot, kept completely under wraps by all involved in the film?  CHECK!

(I’m a connoisseur of all things “spoilery.”  And I LOVE finding out the deep dark secrets of movies, and television programs, before anyone else does.  However, when film writers and producers tease me, and REALLY make me work for it, it secretly turns me on . . .)

* Post-apocalyptic plot concept that appears to raise mind-bendy philosophical questions regarding (1) the power of human thought (“What’s the most resilient parasite?  An IDEA”);  and (2) the way in which the seemingly insignificant choices we make in our lives can shape our destiny and that of the rest of the world?  CHECK!

(Sounds a little like that other program that I watch . . . right?)

Unfortunately, the producers of Inception will not let me embed the trailer.  (I came embarrassingly close to tears, when I learned this.)  However, I am providing you with the link to it, below (Just click on the video image, and then on the word “YouTube” when it appears).   

I STRONGLY URGE you to check it out, if you have not done so already.  You will NOT be disappointed, I promise  . . .

Inception hits both regular and IMAX theaters on July 16, 2010.  Will YOU see it?  Because I sure as heck will!

(P.S.  I’ve SEEN IT!  I saw Inception!  To read my in-depth, slightly spoilery review, click here.)

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