Tron Legacy

Tron Legacy
Made in: USA
Language: English
Director: Joseph Koskinski
Starring: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Michael Sheen, Beau Garrett
Year: 2010

Synopsis: After the events of the original Tron movie, genius software engineer Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) becomes the CEO of mega-company Encom. Then one day in 1989, he mysteriously disappears, leaving behind a son, a corporate empire, and plenty of questions.

Over twenty years later, Flynn's son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund) has grown to become just as brilliant as his father. Although well-meaning, he's essentially directionless in life and shows no desire to take control of Kevin's company. He's a bit of a computer prankster, and has regular encounters with the law.

Encom seems to be slipping back into its old ways, with another software expert named Ed Dillinger Jr (Cillian Murphy) poised to become its next rising star. (Dillinger, if you care to remember, is the son of Edward Dillinger Sr, the villain from the first film).

Then one day, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), creator of the original Tron character and one of Flynn's closest friends (as well as an Encom board member), gets a mysterious page from Flynn's old office. The funny thing is that the number has been disconnected for over two decades.

When Sam decides to investigate, he winds up getting transported to The Grid, a computer world created by his father. It loosely resembles the neon-highlighted world from the first Tron movie, only this one is much darker, scarier, and looks more like Las Vegas (only the showgirls and hookers there can kill you in more creative ways).

Intended to be a place of infinite possibilities and wonder, The Grid has instead become a hellish, dystopian deathtrap full of machines and weirdos. The whole place is under the dictatorial reign of a malevolent individual known as CLU (also played by Jeff Bridges).

CLU was a program designed by Kevin Flynn who was originally intended to help create The Grid. But instead of making The Grid into the Digital Land of Happy, CLU turned against Flynn, created an evil empire, and forced his maker into hiding without any means of returning to the real world. So Kevin lives as a hermit in a secret hideout, and with each passing day, begins to look more and more like "The Dude" from The Big Lebowski.

Reunited with Sam, Flynn finds he must act in order to stop CLU. The best way to do so is from our world, where the entire Grid can simply be deleted by double-clicking "Empty Trash." But the only way out of the computer world is through an exit portal (that was opened when Sam arrived), which will close in a matter of hours.

Aided by Kevin Flynn's apprentice, a highly advanced (and really hot) female program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde), our heroes decide to make a mad dash for it. But the stakes increase even more once they discover that the megalomaniacal CLU has found a way to enter our world, with plans to remake it in his image...

The Good: Tron Legacy is a very entertaining thrill ride with amazing visuals and heart-pounding action set pieces. The electronic music duo Daft Punk provides a very fitting (and cool) soundtrack, and even have a brief cameo in the film.

For fans of the original, Tron Legacy contains a number of references and parallels (in terms of thematic content, lines of dialogue, visuals, etc.) which proves that the filmmakers did their research and put forth a sincere effort to make sci-fi geeks like me happy.

Although more hard-edged and intense than its predecessor, Tron Legacy is not an overdone, garishly "in-your-face" production that assaults your senses. The computer graphics and updated CG are gorgeous to look at, and the art direction is superb.

Tron Legacy also doesn't hit you over head to remind you that things have changed since the 80s, and the film never gets bogged down with trying to cram in all the contemporary computer terms and jargon that surround us in the modern age. There's barely any mention of the internet, and thankfully no obvious jokes about Mac vs PC. It's a very story-driven movie that avoids going off on boring tangents (which could have easily happened).

And of course, it was great to see Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner reprise their respective roles after twenty-eight years.

The Bad: As focused and story-driven as it is, I will say that Tron Legacy does eschew character development in favor of moving things along. For me, it's a minor thing, but it would have been nicer to have seen a little more drama happening between all the protagonists.

The secondary characters, played by Olivia Wilde and Bruce Boxleitner, could have been utilized a bit more. Cillian Murphy's surprise role as Ed Dillinger Jr could have added more to the story as well. Some of the dialogue is stilted and awkward, and I thought Jeff Bridges could have let loose and cracked just a few more jokes.

The final action sequence is very creative but a bit too long, and a few of the others get a little confusing in places.

But my biggest complaint is near the end with the Tron character himself (I won't spoil it here). And the movie's denouement is too brief. If a third sequel ever gets made, hopefully my questions will be answered. We'll see.

Who would like this movie: First and foremost, Tron Legacy will mean more to you if you're a fan of the original. But even if you haven't seen the 1982 version, this one has enough entertainment value to stand alone. It's not perfect, but as a long-awaited sequel to a cult movie, it delivers. The story is coherent, the visuals are beautiful, and Daft Punk's music score is pretty cool. Overall, it's a lot of fun.

(3 out of 4 stars)

Review written by: Joe Yang

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