Review – Tron: Legacy

I am a particular brand of Tron fanboy because the original movie came out the year before I was born and I wouldn’t really understand much about computers or programming until many years after I had the movie decently memorized. I’ve loved the original movie for pretty much my entire life, even writing about my love affair with the movie and how I can use it to know if I’ll really like someone right away. It should be no surprise that I went to see Tron: Legacy on the day of its release, but I am a bit surprised that we decided to see it in 3d and that it turned out to be a good decision.

Tron: Legacy is a fitting sequel to the original for a handful of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that it makes the idea of fighting each other with frisbees seem really freaking cool again. The movie is an amazing visual and auditory experience that has some of the most entertaining action sequences I’ve seen in the last few years. The only thing that I really missed in the movie was the layer of real world computer references and ‘nerd-insider’ feeling that was pervasive in the original Tron, but in a 2010 world where computers are much more common place I’m not sure this layer is as necessary as it was back in 1982. Tron: Legacy is a mainstream and updated version of the original vision of Tron, but it is also very much a sequel and avoids retelling the exact same story as its predecessor though the structure will feel quite familiar.

Though the visuals and audio are the highlight of the film, the characters are not far behind. Jeff Bridges does a good job of mixing his age with the wit and slacker attitude that he created for Kevin Flynn back in the 80’s as well as playing the younger part of Flynn’s program CLU as a single minded but efficient entity. Garrett Hedlund performs extremely well as Flynn’s son, Sam, and even noticeably attempts to take on an aspect of Jeff Bridge’s personality in several parts of the film. Olivia Wilde is my hands down favorite of the film as the program Quorra, adding a bit of innocent humanity into the still entertaining habits of programs that we saw some of in the original film, while Michael Sheen is a close second for his small but scene-stealing role as the quirky and hilarious program Castor.

Though I’m not a fan of every new movie coming out in 3d, I am extremely pleased with our decision to see Tron: Legacy in 3d but I won’t be able to accurately compare it until I’ve seen the film in non-3d and determine what is gained or lost between the two. What I can say is that the action sequences and stunning visuals were incredibly enhanced by the 3d treatment and the directing surprised me with the ways it used what I previously thought was mostly just a gimmick. If you have the chance, I highly recommend seeing Tron: Legacy in 3d because I did not notice it detracting anything from the film but it certainly added quite a bit of excitement to the film. Perhaps because of its focus on dark colors highlighted with bright lines of light or its extensive use of 3d environments to begin with, but it really seemed like Tron was one of the ideal films for the 3d medium.

This movie is much more mainstream than its predecessor, but it still manages to deliver an endearing digital world and populates it with interesting characters. The movie was satisfyingly peppered with references to the original film, but also introduced a handful of new ideas and concepts to Tron that I’m happy to see. In the end the little things that I may have found lacking with the film were more than made up for by the interesting designs, incredible visuals, and kick ass lightcycle races and identity disc battles on a new and improved game grid.

Comments

  1. I’m not a big fan of 3D, and so chose to see Tron Legacy oldschool. However, now that I think about it, I’d like to check it out in 3D for the reasons you mentioned. The Light Cycle grid WAS cool, and I think now that I missed out by seeing at least that part of the movie in 2D.

  2. I enjoyed the movie, but felt a bit let down. I felt like it was still in need of a couple of re-writes to really pull it all together.

    I REALLY liked how the movie wove 2d and 3d. I thought it was one of the better uses of 3d I have seen.

  3. I saw it in 3D, and it seemed effective. Like the use of color in The Wizard of Oz.

    I loved this description of Flynn: he is a cross between Gandalf the White and The Dude.

    “Bio-digital jazz, man!”

    I was kind of disturbed by the ending, but I couldn’t think of a better one that wasn’t a complete violation of the premises of the film.

  4. I enjoyed the movie a lot and I’m thinking about seeing it again in theaters (just to get the bigscreen/3D effect again before I see it on my much-small TV). But I do think it suffered from a flaw that a lot of remakes/re-tellings seem to have: The check-off list. It seems like in a lot of these movies somewhere along the way someone writes down a list of all the cool things from the original and then they shoot those scenes, check items off the list and move on..

    Disc-combat? Check
    Lightcycles? Check
    Recognizers? Check

    The disc fighting is a perfect example of this. I wanted more disc fights dang it! They even had a chance for another cool scene towards the end, and just showed a splash of a program getting gimped instead. Come on!

    Still an awesome, visually stunning movie and a worthy sequel. I just think they could have hit it out of the park (or thrown the disc beyond the edge of the grid) if they’d put a few more scenes in.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Unfortunately, I spent most of January recovering from bronchitis and dealing with several snowstorms. Most of the movies I've seen in the theaters lately were not big winners at the box office or the Oscars, but I enjoyed espionage drama The American; fantasies Legend of the Guardians, Harry Potter [7] and the Deathly Hallows: Part One, and The Chronicles of Narnia [3]: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; as well as belated cyberpunk sequel Tron Legacy. […]

  2. […] action scenes were well-choreographed, and we've come a long way from the original Tron or ReBoot (whose complete series is finally available on […]