After 28 years, Disney made the decision to rejuvenate an 80s cult classic: Tron. The original was by no means a complete box-office smash, but it was able to create an incredibly successful video game, a dedicated following, and for the time, a revolutionary digital realm that had never been introduced to movies before. The sequel, titled TRON: Legacy, seems to follow much in its predecessor’s footsteps.
The film’s plot lays claim to an exciting adventure. Kevin Flynn (played by Jeff Bridges), CEO of Encom, has been missing for the last 20 plus years leaving literally no traces behind. His now orphaned son, Sam (Garret Hedlund) grows up without a father. When new information (in the form of a page) surfaces, hinting at the fact Kevin Flynn may still be alive, Sam heads to his father’s old arcade to do some investigating. After a few missteps and discoveries, he is magically transported into the world of the Grid.
As soon as we enter the Grid, our adventure starts. We’re met with a world created with nothing but incredible architecture and the colors of black and neon (blue and red respectively). The effects overall are breathtaking. Everything is crisp, bright, sharp, and clean. To a graphic or video game fan, it’s pretty much a visual feast.
TRON: Legacy uses the effect of 3D to achieve many of it’s dazzling effects. It also manages to do something generally unheard of: it has fantastic 3D. The effect was used to aid the story and to add emphasis. Throughout the film, it never once falls victim to the disaster of distraction or gimmick.
While most of the effects are great, not all of them are. It is rather remarkable that they were able to turn Jeff Bridges face from the original film into a villain named Clu for the sequel, but it gets a bit creepy at times. Creepiness is something that, for the most part, goes hand-in-hand with villains, but when his mouth doesn’t move with his words and his eyes look completely soulless, I want to look away completely.
On the plus side though, his face alone is an amazing effect and I certainly appreciate the effort made.
Sadly, once the awe of the effects wear off, this is where we notice the complete lack of a plot.
Throughout the film, the characters are given little, if no room what so ever to grow. I expected a father-son epic after the way we’re introduced to the characters, but they remain relatively unchanged. Kevin Flynn stays a cheesy (but somewhat endearing) 70s hippie and his son, Sam remains a moderately cocky, ungrateful son.
Quorra (played by Olivia Wilde) is the team’s sidekick of sorts and is arguably the most amusing character of the bunch. Oddly, whenever I felt she was finally given the chance to shine, she was quickly wiped out of the scene and we were back to dealing with father and son.
This is made up slightly by the fact that it’s a stand-alone film. If you’ve never seen the original Tron (I know I haven’t), you won’t be lost in this sequel at all. Much of the connection between the two films is made up in the first 15 minutes. However, if you’re a die hard Tron fan, there will be a few smaller details you may pick up. Either way, it’s easily seen as a sequel or a brand new adventure.
The true standout, the single thing I loved more than the film itself, is the soundtrack created by French duo, Daft Punk. The soundtrack is a departure from their normal dance beats, but is breathtaking nonetheless. The music manages to infuse skillful tempos and deep bass into every emotion of the spectrum: from melancholy (“Adagio For TRON”), to victorious (“Flynn Lives”), to complete edge of your seat heart-racing (“Fall”, “Derezzed”). It’s a score that is enjoyable to listen to regardless if you have any plans to watch the film or not.
At the end of the day, I’d give this film three and a half stars. Even at that rating, I do suggest you see it for the spectacular effects alone. Obviously though, wait until it’s out on DVD.