Directed by Joseph Kosinski
Starring Jeff Bridges. Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
The original Tron is one of those movies that a certain generation holds dear to their hearts. The reality is that the film doesn’t hold up as good as we’d all like. It’s a painful truth, but a truth nonetheless. With that said, the film has some iconic moments and some memorable art design that requires respect from a sequel. Tron Legacy is that, a direct sequel, so the movie gets points for that.
Tron Legacy picks up a bit of the story from the original film, expands on it and ties it to this new film. Again, that’s good decision making. That’s about where the good decision making stops for this film though in regard to the story. Flynn disappeared back in the 80’s leaving his son the largest shareholder in his company. His son, predictably enough, is a wise ass bad boy type who seems to not care that the company is going in a direction opposite of his father’s intentions but his actions say something different. A “page” to his father’s old business partner brought Flynn Jr. to his father’s old arcade, and into the world of the grid. There’s a war going on in the grid, not only for control of the grid, but control of the world outside of it.
There’s a lot of opportunity in the story that follows for social commentary on family and on the father/son relationship but unfortunately those opportunities fly by the story like a hurtling disc. The characters, even the human ones lack any depth. Another mistake is that Flynn Sr. comes off like The Dude, call him “Cyber Dude”. While sure it’s mildly funny but it’s not unique and not really as fitting as it could have been with another pass on the script. He’s supposed to be sort of the Obi Wan or Yoda of the grid but it rings a little false. There’s even a little Gandalf-ish scene toward the end of the film that’s only mildly cool. The story lacks focus and more importantly it just lacks heart. The film is set in a digital world with no organic elements so if the characters are barely developed and the heart feels pandering then the proceedings just comes off like a Saturday morning cartoon or a videogame cut scene rather than a real movie and that exactly how Tron Legacy feels.
Visually the film is stunning, especially in 3-D. art design is gorgeous and the evolution of ships and characters from the original film to this one is fantastic. The 3-D is highly entertaining and in this case worth the extra dollars. It’s sort of like a rollercoaster ride though. It’s good for two minutes, but this film goes two hours. There’s a really lengthy FX free chunk in the middle of the movie that’s sort of exhausting and honestly boring. The film could have stood a 30 minute reduction in length. Everyone looks really cool and the FX, the disc battles in particular, are eye popping, but there’s not enough story here to make this a good movie. Oh, and for a film with the word Tron in it, that character has very little screen time.