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Tron: Legacy (2010)

Josh Reviews Tron: Legacy

December 27th, 2010
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The original Tron (read my review here), released in 1982, boasted incredibly stunning special effects but was hamstrung by a pretty simplistic story.

The new Tron: Legacy, released last week, boasts incredibly stunning special effects but is hamstrung by a pretty simplistic story.

I’ve got a lot more to say about Tron: Legacy, but really, it all boils down to that.

At the end of the original Tron, Flynn (Jeff Bridges) and his friends (Alan and Lora in the real world, and their digital counterparts Tron and Yori in the digital realm inside of computers) had defeated Ed Dillinger and his Master Control Program.  The programs residing in the digital realm had been freed, and Flynn had seized control of his company Encom back from Dillinger.  All was well.  But, as we learn in Tron: Legacy, he mysteriously vanished several years later, leaving his son, Sam, an orphan.  Though Alan tried his best to mentor his lost friend’s son, Sam has grown into an angry young man whose only association with his father’s company is his repeated attempts to prank and sabotage Encom’s initiatives.  He’s grown to disbelieve his father’s wild stories of “the grid” that he heard as a child — but, of course, we know it won’t be long until Sam finds himself sucked into that computerized world himself.  There he will encounter the father who he thought abandoned him as a youth, and do battle with the dictatorial program, Clu, that wears his father’s face and has taken control over the grid.

If I were only to judge Tron: Legacy by the visuals and the music, then this would be a fine film indeed.  The visual effects are, quite simply, astounding.  (With one notable exception, which I’ll get to in a few moments.)  The whole look of the original Tron, which was so ground-breaking back in 1982, has become quite dated when viewed in 2010.  Director Joseph Kosinski and his team had an enormous challenge before them of capturing the “feel” of the digital world created in Tron, but updating that for modern audiences and expanding it using the most cutting-edge tools available to them.  They succeeded admirably.  The thirty-minutes after Sam is sucked into the grid represent the high-point of the movie, as we find ourselves stunned, along with Sam, at this astonishing world we have entered.  It’s a blast seeing several classic images from the original Tron — the interceptors, and of course the light-cycles — brought to a whole new level of life.  In short-order, Sam finds himself captured and forced to compete in a series of disc-wars and, finally, a light-cycle chase.  These sequences are … [continued]