Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Bruce Boxleitner, Olivia Wilde, Michael Sheen, Beau Garrett
Synopsis: A few years after Kevin Flynn (Bridges) escapes the virtual world with the aid of Tron (Boxleitner), he disappears, leaving his million dollar company and son behind without a trace. When Flynn’s son Sam (Hedlund) has grown up, he receives a visit from Alan Bradley (Boxleitner), original creator of the Tron program. He has received a page from the disconnected phone in Flynn’s office at his old arcade. Investigating this, Sam is drawn into the Grid, the computer space his father had been developing before he disappeared. As it turns out, Flynn was trapped in the Grid as a result of the actions of his own program, Clu (CGI young Bridges).
A review by Film Nerd.
Given the anticipation for this film, I have been led to believe that it has had a disappointing box office. I find this quite a shame, as personally I found the film quite entertaining. It is of course visually spectacular, and given it was filmed in 3D using an update of the technology that was used for Avatar, the images on-screen are really beautiful to watch, as opposed to the retrograde 3D garbage that has been thrown around a lot of late.
The beauty of these images alone is enough for ticket price alone, but I am also pleased to report that the story was also quite enjoyable. It is certainly not a ground-breaking piece of drama, and perhaps does lean toward cliché at times (estranged father and son reunited, learning the truth of one’s past, hot guy meets hot girl, how aging affects one’s perspective), but it is cliché that is at the very least well told. Perhaps it would have been nice if it had been infused with a bit more hard biting social commentary. I did mention in my review for the original Tron that stories of people living entire lives in a virtual world would be very apt in today’s social environment, a reflection that was not touched on. So perhaps that was a wasted opportunity, but the tone of this film does not gel with that perspective, so this is a case of enjoying the director’s story rather than the story I myself would have tried to tell.
Bridges moves from strength to strength. He has honed his talents in the years since the original film, and affectively pulls off both versions of himself. The CGI makes him look young, but his acting gives Clu the brashness and self assured nature that comes with youth, and indeed this does connect with the way he originally portrayed Flynn. His portrayal of elder Flynn is spot on, a more wise, somewhat weary version of the same man. Hedlund I was not sure what to expect from, and was pleasantly surprised with what I saw. If he makes the right career choices from here, he could be one to watch. Wilde was also quite entertaining. Her laughing early on I found a bit forced, but when her role required more drama, it was really good. It also does not hurt that she fills out her skin-tight outfit quite nicely (I claim celebrity immunity on that comment my Bride… please don’t hurt me!!). I would have liked to have seen more of Boxleitner, especially aged backwards into the Tron character, but there were many hints of a sequel to come, so perhaps that might still be a possibility. Final mention should go to the always delightful Sheen, who grabbed his character by the horns and gave a delightfully OTT performance.
I was also quite pleased with how the virtual world was updated. The lightcycles were much more fluid in motion, and the lightcycle battles as a result were quite edge of your seat stuff. They also impressively updated this concept with lightjets, providing a gripping climactic action sequence for the film. Technology has clearly come a long way. Of course, the joy of these updates is most clear to those that have seen the original film (Tron Guy reportedly cried in ecstasy when he first saw Legacy). I did gather the girls sitting behind us in the cinema got somewhat confused. This indicates to me that knowledge of the original goes a long way to enjoying the update.
So yes, criticisms can be levelled at this film, but they can be washed away by seeing the original film first, then going to the cinema with no expectations. Get taken on a visual ride that is really quite spectacular, and enjoy a familiar but reasonably well told story. All I can say is the minute that 3D films get plot lines to match the effects, the format may indeed still really take off.
3.5 stars out of 5