In 1982, Disney released a movie that was considered ahead of its time; the movie was called Tron. Tron boasted special effects that were top-of-the-line for the eighties and paved the way for computer-generated special effects. In fact, this movie was possibly the Avatar of the eighties because its revolutionary special effects were stronger than the actual story. It starred Jeff Bridges as a game designer named Kevin Flynn who goes into a game he designed called “Tron” to prove that someone stole his idea. Needless to say the movie was a flop but has since then garnish enough momentum to become a cult classic. How do I know this? Because twenty-eight years later, Disney released a sequel to it called Tron Legacy.
Yes, Disney has sent us back to the grid almost thirty years later to give us this movie trying to jump on the train of special effect-laden 3D films while trying to accomplish the same feat that they did with the first movie, and to make a long story short, they did because the special effects were great, but the story…wasn’t. There are some clichés in this film when you really look into it, and the pacing is really slow. There isn’t much excitement, and the things that people loved in the first movie don’t appear that much in the second movie; in fact, there’s only one lightcycle battle. Seriously.
Jeff Bridges reprises his role as Kevin Flynn in this movie, but this time he’s disappeared leaving behind his son Sam in 1989. Fast forward to 2010, and his son Sam, played by Garrett Hedlund is sent to his father’s old arcade after an old business associate Alan Bradley gets a page from there. Sam, still looking for his father, thinks he can find him in the arcade and as a result discovers Tron…and the potential universe it holds. Sam gets sucked into the world being mistaken for a program and after a couple of “disc wars” (imagine dodge-frisbee to some extent), meets Clu, Kevin Flynn’s corrupted program who is bent on taking over the world. After being challenged to a lightcycle match, Sam is picked up by Quorra, played by Olivia Wilde, a program who is later shown to be really important. There, she takes him to his father who was trapped in the universe since he got in, and Sam realizes the ultimate challenge he must encounter to get out.
Garrett Hedlund first plays Sam as the basic “rebellious son of the respected man who will eventually take up his father’s mantle” role, but I didn’t really buy the rebellious punk bit. He really underplays his character by giving him limited emotions and reaction except for when he sees his father after so long. Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn really came across as too mellow for the movie. Even for the exciting moments he was too lax as if he was smoking marijuana throughout the movie, and some of his lines are just not what you would hear someone like Kevin to say. “Radical, man”? “You’re ruining my Zen thing”? Dude, shut up. Jeff Bridges as Clu gives more intensity than as Flynn but still underplays it. Olivia Wilde, however, was more enjoyable to watch because she gave her character a sense of cuteness and proved herself to be an important part of the movie not just as her character but also her performance. Another enjoyable character (to some extent) was a club owner named Zuse, played by Michael Sheen. Sheen comes across as Drop Dead Fred’s albino cousin but is still fun to watch compared to the Pillsbury Dullboys that are the heroes.
The special effects that made up the Tron universe was really, really cool, though. The minimalism of the atmosphere still provided a sense of detail, beauty and advanced structure. The lightcycle scene and disk wars were really cool, and the scope of the universe was just really spectacular to see. I even got lost in the Tron world, and it’s even better to see in 3-D because the 3-D version shows you interesting things you won’t see in the regular version. Unfortunately, the special effects seem wasted on the universe and machinery because the effects used to make Clu and the younger Kevin Flynn were really cheap. In the beginning, it’s supposed to be Kevin talking to his young son, and you can really tell it’s a computer-generation. I guess Clu could be an exception because he’s supposed to be a computer, but if he represents a younger Jeff Bridges then shouldn’t it be a more decent effect?
The Bottom Line: Tron Legacy is really, really cool but really, really underwhelming. The story is slow and dull, the Flynn’s are underplayed, and the effects behind Clu were cheap. Having said that, the atmosphere was extremely well done, the combat scenes when there were cool, Olivia Wilde and Michael Sheen are enjoyable in their roles and the soundtrack was perfect for the movie. There couldn’t have been a better choice for the music than Daft Punk. Despite the downsides of the movie, I still found it to be somewhat enjoyable and even underrated compared to Rottentomatoes.com. Of all the films that “weren’t so bad that they should be missed”, this one was the most decent. It’s not a movie you have to see, but if you’re in for good escapism and 3-D, then check this film out.
Final Rating: 6 out of 10 – I’d Go