Tron: Legacy (Joseph Kosinski, 2010): USA

Reviewed by William Conlin. Viewed in IMAX 3-D at Universal Citywalk

Visual effects and the score by Daft Punk. There I said it. These are the only two reasons why you should see Tron: Legacy. If you are going to this movie seeking a good screenplay, Oscar-worthy acting or impeccable direction, you will be severely disappointed. Luckily, said visual effects and music are good enough to make the film worth watching (but probably just once).

Tron: Legacy takes place nearly 30 years after Tron. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the son of Jeff Bridges’ character in the original, has spent most of his life without a father. After a mysterious page is sent from his father’s abandoned office, Sam visit’s his father’s 1980’s arcade to investigate. After discovering a secret office Sam is transported into “The Grid” a digital world his father created decades earlier. Once there he is thrown into the middle of a digital war that could easily spill into the real world. After finding his father trapped by his digital enemy’s Sam has no choice but to fight their way out to return to reality.

That’s the easiest way to describe the plot of the film… Trust me, I could spend another 5000 words and you still wouldn’t know what the hell was going on. But like I said, the visuals were great!
Visual effects supervisor Eric Barba certainly earned his pay with this film. Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the film is Jeff Bridges. Using “digital rejuvenation” Bridges is allowed to play a version of himself as he looked in the early 1980’s. Though at times, it is noticeable that he is digitized, the effect is still very interesting to see.

Though all the actors try so very hard to do well, one of my friends summed up the acting aspect of Tron: Legacy when we were discussing the film afterwards. He said “For a 3-D movie the characters were extremely 1-D” and I couldn’t agree more. Much like traditional Disney you could tell who was good and who was bad on first look and there was no room for character development. Truth be told the greatest performance of Tron: Legacy was given by Daft Punk. The score for this film is incredible and certainly worth of an Oscar nomination.
In short, Tron: Legacy is a quagmire. There are nearly as many reasons why not to see it as there are reasons to see it. If you are a fan of the original, I’m sure you’ll be happy. If you don’t know the original that well (like me) you’ll be impressed with the visuals but left wanting more from the story.

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