The tag line for Tron: Legacy is "The game has changed" and it has, but not for the better.

The movie is about the son of a brilliant software engineer who has disappeared and Sam Flynn's quest to find him in a virtual computer world. He is forced to compete in gladiatorial games, save his father and restore freedom to the world inside a computer. Its based on a 1982 film called Tron. You probably don't have to watch it to enjoy the sequel, but its worth watching anyway.

The plot moved well, but, was pretty basic. The characters moving from one place to another till they got what they needed to try and escape the computer world. Garrett Hedlund did a good job as the rebellious Sam Flynn, while Olivia Wilde played the wide-eyed apprentice Quorra. The best actor was Jeff Bridges. As both the menacing Clu and the older wise figure of Flynn he gave a stellar performance. Its interesting to watch him grow as an actor from a handsome leading man to the commanding presence he has in his later years. This is one of his best performances.

They tried to one-up the fantastical video games created for the original and its hit-or-miss. The updated disc fight is good, basically Pong using Frisbees, in a cube that has floors that can be strategically destroyed.
The updated light cycles, while spectacular, make no sense. Instead of driving in a straight line and turning at 90 degree angles, the new cycles can turn in any direction and use ramps and bridges to come from above or below. This seems like a better idea, except the strategy of using the light walls is lost. Since drivers can go anywhere its almost impossible to force them into a wall. Most of the destruction happens by knocking the riders off, so the walls are pointless. Don't get me started on the light jets.

The special effects were stunning, with brilliantly lit costumes and vehicles that danced and played in the virtual atmosphere. The fight scenes were breathtaking and memorable. The most jarring special effect was the character of Clu. In actuality, he was an actor with Jeff Bridges CGI face superimposed on his. The effect worked until the character talked. It was kind of like watching a live-action Kermit the Frog with the mouth opening and closing with unrealistic motions. It was realistic enough to be unnerving when both Jeff Bridges were on the screen at the same time.

As much as I loved Tron: Legacy, I wanted to love it more. With its amazing special effects and nostalgia it was enjoyable. It just didn't have as much substance as I'd like.

Do I recommend this film? Yes. Its a good popcorn film and nothing more. But, after 30 years, I'll take it. A reluctant 3 1/2 Stars.

If you've seen Tron: Legacy, what did you think? If not, will you see it?
[Image source: Wikipedia]
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AlexJCavanaugh said...

Saw it the day of it's release and I really enjoyed it. The plot is thin, but the special effects and soundtrack are both pure masterpieces. It was certainly a big improvement over the first movie, which was clunky and dull in parts. One of my favorite movies of the year.

Sci-Fi Gene said...

Stunningly beautiful film, and I agree with AJC about the soundtrack which is award-worthy, but the film is otherwise pointless. Also, why is the Grid still not connected to the Internet, and why are its inhabitants still playing Pong and Pole Position?

Reid Kemper said...

Good review. I actually like "Tron: Legacy" better than the 1982 "Tron" overall. The computer graphics for the original "Tron," although good for its time, doesn't have lasting appeal. However, what the old movie did better at was the acting.


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