TRON: Legacy returns the 80’s property to the screen with incredible visuals, a magnificent score, fantastic 3-D, inventive action, and an attempt at sci-fi world building that is ambitious and interesting but falls a bit short of being entirely clear or fascinating.
Picking up 20 or so years after the original film, Flynn had gone missing for those 20 years only to be discovered inside The Grid by his son, Sam, who accidentally stumbles into the computerized world after receiving a mysterious page. The Grid is a computer world built by Flynn and his greatest programs to help better the real world through their research and development in their creative environment. Sam quickly discovers The Grid is being controlled by Clu, the original program built by Flynn in his own image, and he seems hell bent on persecuting other programs in an attempt to take down the Grid’s maker himself; Flynn.
The first 35-45 minutes of this movie is great stuff as we get to see Sam rebel in the real world against his own company in an attempt to uphold his father’s vision of a technological free world and quickly fall into peril once inside The Grid. The disc war fights are a lot of fun and allow for some inventive fight sequences that you haven’t really gotten any where else. But it is the light cycles that will have you drooling for more. The sequence could have been a half hour long and no one would have complained due to its awesome execution and gorgeous visuals. I hope they make a sequel just to get more light cycle sequences. Olivia Wilde enters the fray and is a very fun and interesting character that is enamored with Sam and his connection with Flynn but it is also at this point that the film starts hitting some speed bumps. The flashbacks and (literal) world building is told with endless ambition and good natured ideas but the sequences rarely work at great levels and really bring the film to a near halt. Sure there are a few action beats thrown in through the rest of the runtime but they never recapture the rhythm of the films opening act.
The film is also a bit to ambiguous at times and never seems to focus its attentions on the most interesting things in the room. The plot is pretty thin and one wonders if they would have been better suited to put all the flashbacks in one whole sequence and added a couple more twists and turns in the narrative. As it stands it is effective but could have been so much more. A number of bits are a bit predictable along the way as well, but that is to be expected when you go on a classic hero’s journey; right?
A couple things you can not get upset with the film over are the insanely beautiful images Joseph Kosinski throws up there with some great 3-D to boot. This is why 3-D is cool people and I have no doubt this will re-instill some 3-D hopes in even the coldest hearted haters. The technical bit that stands above all other though is the fantastic score by Daft Punk. Mashing together the styles of all the great composers working today the music pairs perfectly with the images thrown up on the screen and works wonderfully standalone on its own as well. The only thing wrong with the score is that it sounded a little too much like Mass Effect which robbed it of its breakthrough sound and atmosphere it created. Did I mention how awesome the light cycles were?
The acting in the film is solid through out with Bridges stealing every scene he is whether it is the young version or old. As Clu, Bridges gets to play villain and does a great job under that digital makeup making him a many years younger. Flynn on the other hand lets Bridges let his Dude flag fly from time to time and we all know that is a great thing. Garrett Hedlund is strong enough and capable as the lead, Sam, and he is more than believable in the physical aspects of the role. As mentioned above, Olivia Wilde is great when the script lets her be, playing Quorra so eager and wide eyed was an inspired choice but I just felt like she could have been a tad more Zen like Flynn. Michael Sheen has a brief appearance here as well and he is amazing as a fast talking information dealer the will delight you every moment he is on screen.
In the end, TRON: Legacy is a worthy sequel that can be even further improved upon in future installments. It looks and sounds incredible, has the best 3-D of the year, and creates an original and interesting enough world out of the original TRON to please fans and newcomers alike; just don’t expect it to be entirely clear all the time. TRON: Legacy demands to be seen on the biggest and loudest screen possible so if you are going to check it out don’t skip out on the big screen presentation.
TRON: Legacy is a B