This review was written December 20th of 2010, “Tron: Legacy” comes out on DvD on April 5th
Twenty-eight years ago Steven Lisberger’s Tron was a technological game changer. But now the year is 2010, and the cult classic has finally received its sequel. The only problem is Tron: Legacy is not so much a breakthrough in technology, as it is an exercise of Disney propaganda. The film stars Garret Hedlund, as Sam Flynn, son of Kevin Flynn. Since his father’s disappearance, he has become a rebel against the organization his superstar-father once built. He believes they are completely changing the foundation on which the company was built on, global freedom. He is in fact right as the company is all about making money instead of caring about people’s time and energy.
But then Sam receives an unlikely visit from a long time friend, Alan Bradley (Tron). Alan immediately tells Sam that he received a page last night from his father’s office (phone line had been disconnected for over 20 years). Shocked by the news Sam urgently runs to his father’s old and rundown workspace. He finds a computer his father once built, presses a few buttons, and just like that, he leaps into the world of the Grid.
As Sam dives into this mythological world of conceptual grids, he reunites with his father. They obviously have some catching up to do. The father tells the son about what happened and why he can’t get out. All of those scenes are played out pretty well but then as Sam and his father start to plan their escape from the grid (ruled by Clu, clone of creator, Kevin), the film rapidly losses credibility and quite frankly our interest.
All of the original elements are there, which is probably the core problem of the film. Tron: Legacy never takes the time to reinvent itself, it just merely upgrades every positive aspect of the original. Don’t get me wrong, the bike chases, multi-layered action sequences and just the pure look of the film is mesmerizing. But this sequel consistently misses the mark in terms of a compelling plot.
A film of this nature has no logic, but neither should the viewer expect any. Science fiction is truly a hard thing to pull off. Not only must the story be intriguing enough to capture the viewer’s attention, but it must also make us sympathize for the characters. In that regard, Tron: Legacy fails on both counts.
On the upside, the rocking soundtrack by Daft Punk electrifies every scene. Without it, the film would undoubtedly be a folly. The performances here are also way to good for this film. Jeff Bridges is great as Kevin Flynn and voicing Clu. Olive Wilde is sexy as Sam’s love interest and Michael Sheen gives a nice cameo as Zuse, a man who Sam comes to for help. It’s quite obvious that the film’s most gratifying feature is its visuals. Every scene is so beautifully put together, it’s almost like your watching a stunningly gorgeous light show for two hours.
However by the end of this prolonged film you’ll start to wonder why Disney waited 28 years to remake it? It’s not like they reinvented the wheels of technical film-making, like Tron did in 1982. I suspect that Tron: Legacy will be somewhat of a let down to its target audience. Though the film has engaging performances and arresting visuals, it drags considerably in the second and third act while the 3D effects are sporadic and the scarce plot makes for an unsatisfying sequel.
Notes: Rated PG for sequences of sci-fi action violence and brief mild language, 125 minutes.
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