TRON: LEGACY Review
GRADE: 3 out of 5
Do not, I repeat, do not watch TRON: LEGACY until after you’ve seen the original 1982 movie first because if you think you’re just going to waltz in and watch this movie without any knowledge of the grid or recognizer or what the characters are about, then you’re taking a big risk, you’ll be in for the confusion of your lifetime. Because when it comes down to it, as much as director Joseph Kosinski and team try to make this as relevant as possible, the fact remains that TRON: LEGACY is a movie just for Tron fans. The story is a continuation, you’ll have a hard time following if you have no idea what happened previously.
Ok, on to my review of what I’d like to call a technovisual orgy..
Sam Flynn (Hedlund), a rebellious 27-year-old, is haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Bridges), a man once known as the world’s leading video-game developer. When Sam investigates a strange signal sent from the old Flynn’s Arcade — a signal that could only come from his father– he finds himself pulled into a digital world where Kevin has been trapped for 20 years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Wilde), father and son embark on a life-or-death journey across a cyber universe — a universe created by Kevin himself that has become far more advanced with vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless villain who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape.
TRON: LEGACY is gorgeous. I feel more stimulated by this visual than I did with Avatar last year. TRON: LEGACY looks so stunning, it practically invites you to make love to it.
The environment is faithful to the original film but it’s amplified to tenth degree. The terrain looks more real, the grid looks more fascinating. Don’t even get me started on the disc and lightcycle battles, quite possibly the highlight of the entire movie watching experience. They excite your senses,..If you can see or hear, boy has TRON: LEGACY got a show for you! By the way, you do not wanna miss out on the lightcycle race it’s more complex this time around, more than just making a maze and getting your opponent to hit the wall, this game is more advanced, it has more twists and turns. Absolutely thrilling.
Once again, it’s a movie for the fans, so it’s very nostalgic. The 80s music at Flynn’s Arcade, the jargons, they even keep Flynn’s office just the way it was in the first film but this time it’s got spiderweb all over it because it’s been abandoned for years.
I think Kosinski made the right decision by involving Daft Punk to do the music, not only does their cameo attract younger audiences, but the mix of their electronic style with orchestral work also compliments the film. Their soundtrack is one of the best I’ve heard this year.
Let’s talk about the performances shall we. Jeff Bridges is terrific, but then again, he’s terrific in all that he does. He’s returned as Flynn and just like how he was 27 years ago, Bridges plays it cool and chill, the only difference is that his character is much older now and the story has him worrying at times for his son, for the mistakes of the past, he’s constantly haunted by it.. but don’t worry.. Bridges ‘The Dude’ attitude is still intact, Flynn would once in a while say something along the line of ‘you’re messing with my jazz man!’
I love Olivia Wilde in this film, not because she’s a great actress but because as Flynn’s apprentice Quorra, Wilde is just such a doll, her childlike personality is hard to resist. She’s naive, gullible, always eager to learn and incredibly faithful.
Gotta give some credit to Michael Sheen. For those few moments, he’s downright amusing. Sheen is engaging, he’s energetic and he has this unbelievable range of showmanship. His character unfortunately is generic, Castor/Zuse is a successful businessman with a hidden selfish agenda.
I think Garrett Hedlund could sharpen his acting skills a bit but for the most part he does his job. Sam Flynn is rebellious, angry, impatient and stubborn. Unfortunately Hedlund does sound like an actor who says his line as if he’s reading the script, there’s hardly any natural flow to it.
I wish I could give the perfect grade to TRON: LEGACY but the movie is nowhere near perfect,..
I’m gonna try my best not to give any Spoiler here either..
It’s one of those movies that start out strong and it goes steady but halfway through the end it loses steam. It has all this great visual extravaganza, 3D FX, and cinematic set pieces but the action sequences in the 2nd part of the film aren’t as elaborate and as creative as the first part, at one point it’s even reminiscent of a particular scene in Iron Man which ironically also starred Bridges.
I can’t stand CLU’s digital face. I’m aware that technology may not be advanced enough to give us a believable young Jeff Bridges, perhaps this is the best they could do.. but that Polar Express-ish creepy face just doesn’t work for me.
The story is basically a rescue mission meets father and son drama. Now.. remember how people were disappointed with Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps?! Some say it lacked all the merciless business attitude and dog-eat-dog teeth that the first installment had, which gave Michael Douglas an Oscar. I thought Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps was a strong sequel but I was aware that its melodramatic sentimental tone did drive away some of its fans.
I remember the original Tron had more emphasis on programs, users, all the technical jargons, some may have been more far fetched than others, I remember it was more heroic..
This sequel however only has those elements to a certain point, because it’s more drama, once again I don’t necessarily think it hurts the movie bad but.. if it doesn’t resonate well with the fans, I can definitely understand why.
Keep in mind that the title itself clearly says TRON:.. LEGACY, the word ‘legacy’ should give you an idea that the father and son aspect would have to get more spotlight. Even the hero of the first film, Tron, doesn’t get as much screen time and in this installment, he’s not quite the character you remember and would root for either.
Clearly the writers are geeks who love Star Wars and that’s ok because hey, I’m a Star Wars fan too but it just goes back to that whole lack of creativity I mentioned earlier about the last half of this movie. At one point, TRON: LEGACY even wants to somewhat appear like Attack Of The Clones.
So overall, I do believe TRON: LEGACY is an entertaining movie, an eye candy, a sequel that speaks to its fans..but it has just as much greatness as it does its weakness. I think some of its elements will disappoint some fans and it doesn’t do enough to reach out to today’s audience.
What do you think?
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TRON: LEGACY Review Dec 6, 2010