Tron Legacy

 

Reviewed by Alicia Glass

Studio: Walt Disney Pictures

MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Joseph Kosinski

Review Rating: 8 Glow Sticks

20 years after his disappearance, Sam Flynn returns to the legacy of the involved (and evolved) computer game Tron, to find his father and free him from the Grid.

So, Sam Flynn (Garret Hedlund) goes off to the old arcade where the TRON game is still, after getting an odd message from his missing father’s old friend to go look into it. And Sam finds himself thrust into the computer world of Tron, where we have gladiator-style disc fights and great bloody fast machines that, for all the modern technology and CGI we have, still look rather two-dimensional to me. Sam gets confronted by Clu (Jeff Bridges), a computer program that happens to look just like a younger version of his father and is more or less Older Flynn’s (again Jeff Bridges) nemesis, and takes off aided by the lovely and limber Quorra (Olivia Wilde). The grid world, now 20 years later inside the story, certainly has expanded and become a lot more dangerous, but there are of course still the elements that made Tron very popular in the first place: the cyber-cycle races, the glowing outfits, the gladiator disc combat, etc etc. The trouble is, these days, most geeks can tell you we can do a lot more amazing things with computers inside VR than what Tron actually did.

So, how can we update something like the original Tron from the 80’s, and make it into something eye-catching like Avatar here in the 2010’s? Apparently the answer, is to make this sequel in the same Day-Glo and black color scheme with the same disc-fighting style too, but make it 3D! That, does not a modern movie make, I’m sorry. Unless the movie has a rock-solid plot and astounding scenery that all but screams for 3D, like Avatar, you end up just looking silly and overcompensating. The inability to integrate the popularity of the old with the technology of the new continues to be a running theme, almost a gag, throughout the entire movie. Older Flynn actually has a line where he tells his son, “You’re killing my zen.”

It takes a little doing, but eventually we come to the underlying plot of the main story, that is, that from inside the Grid these avatars and computer programs have gotten so sophisticated and ambitious, they want to make the cross to the real world. And yes, any movie-phile can tell you that’s a perfectly plausible premise, but these days we’re a bit more sophisticated too, and start asking questions like “How will you get a body?” or comparing it to other movies with the same premise that already did it better. Don’t get me wrong, I actually liked most of the disc combat and the iconic Tron-cycle race of course, I just think it seems really incongruous to try and do it now, as opposed to say, 2000. And the movie comes off as a little desperate to give the plot depth, when frankly all we want is more Lithium-powered light stripe outfits and cycle racing that blows up the enemy at the end! So, Tron Legacy gets a rating of 8 Glow Sticks, to help us ignore the shallow end of the pool and cheer over the shooting lights!

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