It’s really tough describing Tron: Legacy. There are a few things that really work for the film, but at the same time there so many things that don’t work. The best way to describe the movie is by calling it a mess. I don’t know who is really to blame here, the director or the writers? It starts out with a bang and fizzles pretty fast. The only things that saved it would be the music and visuals. Jeff Bridges both helped and ruined the movie (I’ll explain that a little later). For what it’s worth, Tron: Legacy was worth viewing it at the IMAX 3D screen. I really couldn’t imagine seeing it anywhere else.
The story of Tron: Legacy isn’t so simple to newcomers. That’s not to say you will get lost, but grasping all the details of “the grid” in one viewing might be tricky. I was able to see the first one not too long ago, so that helped me familiarize with the world presented. Tron: Legacy is about Sam Flynn looking for his father, Kevin Flynn. Kevin was the CEO of a big tech company back in the 80’s and he disappeared out of the blue. Sam tries finding his father by entering “the grid”, which is a cyber world filled with programs. Once Sam enters “the grid”, he is immediately thrown into a series of games to survive. Not too long after winning a few games, several programs start to realize he is a “user”, which is a human. He is eventually reunited with his father and they both decide to make a run for the portal, in which they can get back to the real world. My wording might make it sound like there’s a lot going on, but really there wasn’t. It’s your basic rescue and escape mission mixed with dark neon lights and some really cool looking suits!
The acting in this movie is pretty much non-existent. Jeff Bridges is lucky enough to play both Kevin Flynn and Clu. Kevin Flynn helped create the world we are submerged into, he was the main character in the first Tron and he is the key to much of the second film. He’s much older and calm in this film, he’s found a peace in the world he lives in and he embraces is. Clu on the other hand, is a program Kevin created to help him build “the grid”, but like all evil programs, he turned on Kevin and decided to create for himself. Bridges plays Clu with a mix of his actual body with a CGI face embedded onto it, which makes him look younger. Jeff Bridges feels like he’s just collecting a paycheck in Tron: Legacy, he constantly throws out random 80’s phrases like, “dude” or “chill out man”. He really never seems to care about anything going on around him. When he’s playing Clu it’s even worse. The CGI really doesn’t work at all; it looks incredibly fake and makes you lose any connection with him being a real character. Garrett Hedlund plays his son Sam with hardly any emotion at all. It’s like both Flynns are less human than the damn programs on “the grid”, they just pass through the movie with no care in the world. The most emotion shared between them is when they finally meet up in “the grid”. They share a few tears and move on. Olivia Wilde rounds out the cast as the trademark eye candy. I’ve read so many reviews saying how she saved the film from being a complete mess and I don’t see why. She barely says anything; she’s either jumping around fighting programs or sitting in the background while Sam and Kevin talk. She’s a beautiful woman, but not the greatest actor as far as this movie is concerned.
Since I already started my rant about the characters in this film, I figured I might as well get everything else out of the way. The pacing in this movie is TERRIBLE. The best part of the movie was the first forty minutes, which was a complete COPY of the first film with updated effects. Once Sam meets up with his father, the movie takes a turn for the worse. It becomes extremely boring and starts to make less and less sense. There is a certain item that must stay with a certain character and he somehow loses the item and instead of hunting it they just continue their journey. We just got done sitting through a fifteen minute lecture on how IMPORTANT the item is, yet it just gets stolen and no one cares? But it gets even better, later on in the movie, they cross paths with this item and they decide on the fly that MAYBE they should grab the item! WHAT THE HELL?!!?!?
A two hour movie isn’t supposed to feel like a four hour movie. For every ten minute scene of cool action you get another thirty minutes of dialog that you don’t care about. The script really could have used a few adjustments or maybe a rewrite of the whole thing. You can’t hope that the visuals carry the entire movie. If the movie stinks, than nothing can cover that up.
Now that my rant is out of the way I can hopefully discuss what I enjoyed about the movie, the first being the music, composed by Daft Punk. It really is one of the best soundtracks/scores of the year. The heavy base was rocking! The techno feel matched each and every scene. If they could have played the movie with no talking and just pure Daft Punk, I would have been a happy camper. Having owned the soundtrack already, I just kept waiting for the next song to play. I didn’t care about much that was happening on screen as far as the story was concerned, I just wanted the next song damn it!
Finally, the visuals were great. I’m so use to seeing bright greens and reds on the screen; it was nice to see such a dark film. The special effects were up there with Avatar as far as I am concerned. The most enjoyable scenes in the movie were the light bike chases and the disc fights. But, once those scenes happened and they tried focusing more on the story, the visuals just stopped mattering. It goes from a uniquely shot light bike scene, to a never ending techno rave at a club. By the end of the movie I wanted to leave “the grid” and return home to the real world. Again, as awesome as the visuals were, they couldn’t make up for the crappy story.
Overall, Tron: Legacy was a mixed bag. I really did enjoy the music, it helped me get through the movie, and the visuals were stunning in detail. I liked the darker sets of Tron opposed to the bright forest of Avatar, but the story quickly drags down the rest of the movie. I don’t suggest you race out to see this at the theaters, but I really feel that seeing this at the IMAX in 3D is the ONLY way to get maximum enjoyment from it. Seeing this on 2D would really make the visuals flat and dull. The IMAX also has the best sound these days, so a regular theater won’t pack that punch with the base like the Imax will.
If you weren’t interested in this movie, just skip it and see something else, but if you HAVE to see it then go see it at the IMAX and get the full 3D effect.
Tron: Legacy – 7/10