Tron: Legacy – Movie Review

tronposterWhen Tron opened in 1982 it was heralded by critics for its spectacular visual effects, but criticized for its poor story and lack of heart.  It cost $17 million to make, and only made $33 million at the box office.  While not quite a bomb, it still underperformed drastically.  Since then however the movie has gone on to become a cult classic.  The kids that grew up with it continue to love it, and 28 years later a sequel has finally arrived at theaters.  The budget for the sequel is over $200 million, the effects have been upgraded, and Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner have returned.  The movie has been hyped for over 3 years, but will the hype be worth it?

Tron: Legacy opens with the disappearance of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges).  His eight year old son is left with control of his father’s business, and under the care of his grandparents.  Flash forward 20 years and Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) is still hurting from his father’s disappearance.  He is unwilling to run the company on a daily basis, and instead resorts to cyber attacks on the business to keep it running the way he believes it should be run.  After one of these attacks he is given a clue to his father’s disappearance.  Someone paged Alan Bradley’s (Bruce Boxleitner) pager from Kevin’s old arcade from a number that hasn’t been in service for 20 years.  While investigating Sam is sent to the grid, a virtual world where video games have come to life.  Here he must find a way to defeat Clu (Jeff Bridges digitally altered to look like he did 28 years ago), rescue his father, and get himself back home.   In order to do that however he needs to master throwing the disc, learn how to ride the lightcycle, and rely on the help of the mysterious Quorra (Olivia Wilde).

Like the first film in the series, Tron: Legacy is a visual delight with a great soundtrack.  The effects are groundbreaking, including the 3D, and the action will get your blood flowing.  Unfortunately the movie is also like its predecessor in the fact that it has a terrible script and the acting is bland.  Garrett Hedlund gives a cardboard performance that is reminiscent of Hayden Christensen in the Star Wars prequels.  Olivia Wilde looks great in her skin tight costume and she kicks ass in a fight, but you don’t really feel anything for her character.  Unfortunately the same can be said about Jeff Bridges.  He’s been trapped in the system for 20 years and hasn’t seen his son for all that time, and yet he seems very blasé about it all.  What they’ve done is create a world void of emotion.  This could make sense for the programs that were written for the system, but at the very least Kevin and Sam Flynn should be able to express themselves more than they did.  It’s also disappointing that the title character Tron is hardly seen, and barely has a role.  Before the movie was even released a lot of talk was surrounding the de-aging of Jeff Bridges, which really isn’t as good as they claim it to be.  It was very distracting at times watching him on the screen because he didn’t look much better than an animated character.  Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within managed to do that 9 years ago.

Tron: Legacy is worth seeing on the screen for the special effects, but it is not worth paying regular ticket prices for.  Catch it on a cheap night, or during a matinee.  It’s definitely a boys movie too, and most women would probably be bored watching it.  If this is the best they could do after 28 years perhaps they should have just considered not making it at all.

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