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The Bottom Line: A sweet boost from the 80s movie, but not without some issues.
If you've never seen the original TRON, well, that's okay. I think there were a fair number of people going into this movie without seeing the original - especially since Disney held onto the first movie until Legacy's release. But for those of us who have seen the movie, it was fun pointing at all the nifty throwbacks. Hey look, it's the solar sail! Yay!
This time, Kevin Flynn has managed to get stuck in a place of his own creation; The Grid. Keep in mind - he's not in the internet or anything like that. His electronic program, almost Matrix-like with it's personified programs, is all on it's own. His disappearance leaves behind a son and a company that soon lacks a conscience. But when a page comes from his office, his son Sam goes in after him and soon realizes that The Grid has been taken over and all that his father dreamed of achieving is at risk. So what do you do? Beat the bad guy, save the world, get the girl. In a weird way...
Okay. The first thing everyone wants to know is how the special effects and all that jazz worked. Sweet. Yep, everything was cool and virtual, smooth and excellent. It's like the original Tron world was allowed to evolve over time from the 80s into the year 2011. It's got a lot of the same things, but with upgrades. It works very well. Of course, that means you get to see goodies from the original movie like the light cycles, as well as some new toys light a few light fighters with a couple of tricks of their own.
It's safe to say that virtually everything in this movie is a delight. From Jeff Bridges (who's always fun to watch) to #13 from House (okay, okay, her name is ), to the score by Daft Punk, it's good stuff. The Daft Punk score is perfect for this movie - I don't think you could get away with anything else. Those are all your strong points.
However, it lacks that fifth star - partly because of the story and partly because I personally didn't like how it ended. It left too many questions and I was bummed about several of the characters (one more than the other).
One issue I wondered about was the absence of Cindy Morgan's character. Perhaps they left her out because keeping her in would mean she'd easily be able to help Sam get out and whatnot, being that it's her invention that he's using. Still, I'm kinda bummed she didn't make an appearance the way Bruce Boxleitner got to.
The story, however, is the main problem. I think it comes down to Disney attempting to make something that has a deeper side to it with some nifty ideas, while trying to maintain the coolness and action of the movie. Obviously, the latter won out and we have oodles of eye candy and action scenes. So when Flynn starts talking about isomorphic algorithms and how they're going to change mankind, most of it is going to fly right over our heads as techno-babble for the sake of the story. Even I was wondering what the heck he was talking about and had to look up a few terms. Even then, I'm still not grasping how Flynn's ISOs can change humanity. (Indeed, if one were to get out, wouldn't it become a flesh and blood human? Where's the benefit?). But that's all open discussion after the movie. Still, it's attempt to be deep flounders and as a result, the story suffers.
And by the way, the main antagonist was built to make the perfect world - at one point in the movie, Clu claims his world is perfect. Um, if I'm not mistaken, but it looks a lot like ours and I fail to see the perfection. In fact, it looks pretty chaotic, so I don't know why he's ready to jump into our world thinking he's done. To me it just made no sense. I also didn't like the fact that there was "fog" in The Grid and hit the camera like water droplets. Really? What the heck is that about? And why are we eating and drinking in this place? Moreover - why are programs eating and drinking??
In the end, it's Disney - why not keep things a bit simpler like with the original Tron movie? That worked out just fine. The bad guys lost, the programs lived happily ever after, and so did Flynn. Why fight for more drama than is necessary? And why on earth end it like that? I was having a good time until the end rolled around. It seemed a bit abrupt, kind of lackluster, and as I said, I felt bummed out. *pouts*
It's a fun romp, but it could have used a little more time, work, and thought put into it to make it a true gem.