Being smarter than the average reviewer, I decided to hedge my bets by seeing two movies and writing just column this time. One movie was a loser and one was a winner.


Being smarter than the average reviewer, I decided to hedge my bets by seeing two movies and writing just column this time. One movie was a loser and one was a winner.
Looking for a little picnic basket of nostalgia, I took in "Yogi Bear"" (2D version).  I can recommend this for every person under 5 years old who is relatively undiscriminating in movie tastes.  This is a CG movie version of the old, old cartoon series centered around Jellystone Park.  The writers had a tough assignment turning that cartoon into a feature-length movie and they did not rise to the occasion.  Other than it being interesting that Dan Aykroyd was the voice of Yogi, there is not much else to say.  Well, I can say that the green movement moved into this children's piece making Yogi's movie a 21st century politically correct talking bear.
So, with low expectations, I next took up "Tron:  Legacy," Disney's megamovie for the holiday.  It stars Jeff Bridges as did the 1982 "Tron."  One can see this movie in IMAX 3D and 3D versions.  The original "Tron" was a movie ahead of its time.  That is, it was made before the technology equaled the visual ideas.  I only vaguely remember that movie but clearly recalled how blurry it seemed and equally blurry in its message.  Disney learns from its mistakes (and even can make its mistakes seem to be classics.  Disney has rides and game spin-offs of "Tron."  "Legacy" no doubt will also be a multimedia production).  This time they had the technology and then some.  Visually this one will burn your eyes out.  The CG effects are truly state of the art with a nod to the creaky computers that spawned the original.  The plot line is pretty simple.  Kevin Flynn (Bridges), computer game genius and hippie/philosopher/Zen Master disappears leaving his young son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) behind and inheriting the enormous computer empire Encore (Shades of "Ironman").  Sam, like his father did in the 1982 movie, is lured and launched into the "Grid," which is a computer land of programs which look a lot like human beings.  The Grid is the creation of Flynn.  Its perfections and imperfections are his.  The simple part of the story is an effort to get back to the real world, but the subplot is the fate of those who attempt Utopia by central planning.  The planners can never anticipate all the consequences once they set their plan in motion.  The dream becomes a nightmare which the Grid has become.
Acting in a CG movie is mainly not getting in the way of the technology while trying to be believable in an unbelievable environment.  Bridges is becoming the next Michael Caine.  The aging Bridges is showing up in everything from "Ironman" to "Crazy Heart."  Bridges usually gives a credible performance which he does do here.  Hedlund (Sam) plays the typically incredibly rich, unconventional rebel offspring complete with unerring courage and foolhardiness.  There is a love interest in Quorra (Olivia Wild), but don't get too excited (she doesn't).
As a visual experience this movie truly rivals "Avatar."  The 3D effects are heightened in the Grid and softened in the "real" parts of the movie ala "The Wizard of Oz."  There are dozens of visual references to many movies (amazingly including "The Caine Mutiny"!)  For a moviegoer it is a real trip on many levels.  As always be aware that your eyes will burn from watching 3D technology.  Don't forget to blink to save those watering eyes.
"Tron: Legacy" is going to sell a lot of tickets and probably a bunch of 3D TVs when it hits Blu-Ray.