Posted on 4/13/11 07:48 PM
It's back to the grid in the illuminated sequel to the acclaimed 1983 hit, 'Tron'. True to its predecessor, 'Tron Legacy' is a special effects extravaganza that utilizes state of the art visualizations to outshine a mostly 2D storyline.
In 1989, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), an innovative software engineer and CEO of the computer juggernaut ENCOM, has discovered a digital world of near limitless possibilities. In this new realm, Flynn hopes to build a utopia in which humanity will be able to explore and learn from. However, his aspirations are halted after his mysterious disappearance that left his son Sam (Garrett Hedlund) behind.
Now twenty years later, though he remains the majority stock holder in ENCOM, Sam chooses to distance himself from his father's former enterprises. However, when Kevin Flynn's trusted former partner, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) informs him that he recently received a page from his Dad's old arcade, Sam skeptically decides to pay a visit. It is here that he finds the doorway to 'The Grid', as Sam is unexpectedly transported to the artificial universe his Dad created so long ago.
Little time is wasted in pressing forward to the wonders of the digital world, but there is still ample back story and build up to familiarize the audience with the happenings of the first movie. Being a fan of the original, I could not help but feel a welcome wave of nostalgia wash over me as the old arcade games began to reboot. The film makers really did a miraculous job in recreating the essence of a former era in these scenes and it immediately gave me the impression that this was not a sequel purely for sequels sake.
'Legacy' hits the ground running early with impressive action sequences abounding with spectacular visuals. The effects team takes CGI to the next level, crafting an array of luminescence and magic that I struggle to recall an equal to. These astonishments are accompanied by masterful stunts by those cast to represent the characters of the video game. Practically everything presented fuses together in such a fluid manner that the display almost becomes believable.
As a whole, the acting is pretty pedestrian. Other than Bridges dual portrayal of Kevin Flynn and the computer clone Clu, no one legitimately stood out. Hedlund did a decent job as his free spirited son Sam, but there was definite room for improvement in parts that required emotional delivery. Bridges, on the other hand, successfully incorporated his laid back, 'big lebowski' persona into an intellectual genius. This feat provided an undercurrent of steady comic relief along with pleasant contrast to the many AI programs that surrounded him.
The script is one of notable ridicule. While the inner workings and details of the story are complex, the execution of such came across strangely simplistic. Many entities and subplots fail to be developed enough to remain interesting after initial discloser. Also, the climax felt rushed and I estimate that the director scrambled to find resolutions to the film's various aspects when he instead should have explored them more deeply. This is probably due to Joseph Kosinski's lack of experience in the directors chair, and marks my biggest criticism of the movie.
Other than the insane imagery, the music is an equal savior. The soundtrack has won various awards for its collage of techno vibes, intense tones, and powerful remastering of sounds from the first film. The symphony fits perfectly with the visual happenings, enhancing the energy of virtually every scene.
'Tron Legacy' is an undeniable treat for the senses. Though the plot has its holes and the intensity fades near its conclusion, the lasting enjoyment of the unparallel sights and sounds fill these gaps just enough to keep me satisfied. There is a third film in the works and I am hopeful that much of the alluring elements merely grazed upon in this script become actualized.
Rating: 7 out of 10