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Tron Legacy

A 2010 movie directed by Joseph Kosinski.

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  • Jun 8, 2011
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Let's be clear on something here, just to be sure we understand: The original Tron was NOT about characters or plot! Never, ever! It really wasn't - it was written and directed with every intention of being an excuse to show off Disney's new-fangled array of whiz-bang special effects. Although the special effects in the original Tron look badly dated by today's standards, back then they were a revolution, with Disney ushering in the official age of computer effects and using Tron as a way to intimidate other studios. It had a uniquely computerized, laser light look which made techno-geeks swoon, gazing in awe at the movie's perpetual twilight sets, flying glo-discs, and especially the awesome light cycle sequence, an iconic scene of sci-fi cinema.

In this respect, Tron Legacy takes after its daddy. With the possible exceptions of the recent Transformers movies, Tron Legacy has the best special effects I've ever seen. Computer effects are commonplace these days, and movies of course tend to lean on them without any sense of shame about it. But what impresses me about the special effects in Tron Legacy - as well as Transformers - is that we not only get the sets and designs for every digital setpiece used in the flick, but they look like they were created with their uses and dimensions in mind as well. The light cycles in Tron Legacy act like they were computerized up with regard for their physical dimensions instead of merely what the script was calling for. We get a real sense for the way we imagine them to feel, and the special effects team appears to have created their sequences with regard to the weight, surface area, and speed of the light cycles. The result is not a balletic light show, but a motorcycle demolition derby which looks like a real motorcycle race. Later, the final dogfight looks straight out of World War II footage, and it doesn't take much imagination to replace the good guys' plane with a B-17 and the bad guys' planes with the Luftwaffe.

Other than that, Tron Legacy spends a lot of time winking at us. The original movie poster makes a couple of appearances, and the video game based on the original movie's light cycle scene pops up in Flynn's arcade. Bruce Boxleitner even shows up to reprise his original role, never mind Jeff Bridges. In a few instances, Tron Legacy goes overboard with a few plot elements: Computer still swallows man and forces him to compete in gladiator-like games. Man still escapes light cycle scene through programming crack. Good guys escape toward their point of destiny on a flying sailboat attached to a ray of light.

In the beginning of the movie, we're reminded this is a post-90's hacker flick, and all post-90's hacker movies have to involve some form of EXTREME!!! stunt which is performed for no reason. Apparently Kevin Flynn, the hero of the first Tron, disappeared in 1989. I have to say, I didn't think a guy who programmed computers would ever get such a sensational media sendoff. Us video gamers all have out favorite developers, but even the universal name of video game development - Shigeru Miyamoto - is not exactly a household name. Flynn must have accomplished something really big. But 20 years later, corporate drones are running his game company, and his son Sam steals data because it was meant to be free. This has no relevance to anything else that happens in the movie. Later, Sam gets a page - yes, a PAGE - from dad's long-closed arcade, goes there, and gets sucked into the grid and thrown to the lions.

Sam soon finds his dad after a girl named Quorra takes him off the grid, and Kevin gives him the background info: Kevnin kept going away at night to set up his virtual utopia inside his computer. He created a computerized mirror image named Clu to weed out all his system's imperfections. Well, Clu's standards are a wee bit too high and he's turned into the digital Vlad the Impaler. Meanwhile, the portal back to the real world closed, trapping Kevin, and Clu took his data disc, which is the key to saving society. I'll be honest: I wasn't paying THAT much attention. I wanted my damn light show. But with the portal open again, Kevin, Sam, and Quorra head back to the real world so they can erase Clu.

The first Tron wasn't free of ham-fisted melodrama, but it kept itself moving and didn't suffer from any excesses. It maintained a bit of a sense of fun and was concentrated mainly on the amazing light razzle dazzle. Tron Legacy forgets a lot of what made Tron so memorable, and so the melodrama is not just drawn out this time, but getting in the way. Worse, director Joseph Kosinski appears to have watched The Matrix once too often and let the influence of that old cyberpunk fantasy trickle into the second unit. Melodrama I'll accept. Bad action, not so much.

In the first Tron, the action scenes would just go on for extended periods and play out, uninterrupted, to their natural conclusions. The characters were there mainly to provide links from game to game, and the movie was more centered around the action. The action isn't the movie this time - Kosinski has apparently gotten it into his head that this movie is about Sam. Therefore, he needs us to understand things from Sam's point of view, and as if to accentuate the sense of danger Sam is feeling, Kosinski will shoot the occasional action shot in bullet time, slowing it down just to create a sense of the drama in Sam's head. Fortunately, this annoying habit doesn't last very long, and most of the later action scenes don't involve bullet time. But Tron Legacy really could have used more scenes at the games, or longer scenes at the games, because those are what the people want to see.

Tron Legacy also has a tendency to get bogged down in useless scenes and characters. This is a result of some really poor screenwriting. In the rush to actually have some kind of point, the four-person screenwriting team fell back on some of the most used and tired cliches ever. Kevin tries to talk Sam out of doing anything about Clu because he's become complacent in that world. The nightclub owner with FLAIR. Now, if the screenwriters really wanted to bring a plot into Tron Legacy, a somewhat thoughtful story about the power of artificial intelligence could have written itself, and perhaps should have. Clu should really have been better, although he's better than the Master Computer. And the characters of Castor - our nightclub owner - and Quorra aren't characters. They're mostly set decorations, although they are responsible for some cool action scenes.

Tron never actually needed a sequel. I was happy was just the first one. As a sequel to Tron, Tron Legacy is acceptable, but as a standalone, it leaves a lot to be desired. Like more games and light cycles. Hell, just give me a two-hour light cycle derby for the third Tron movie. That'll be more than enough.

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June 08, 2011
Hahahaha a digital Vlad the Impailer haha
June 09, 2011
I know right! this review is so fun!
June 09, 2011
Glad you both liked it! Wait until I review Howard the Duck - I haven't seen it just yet, but it's on my Netflix list, and if it's as bad as everyone says...
June 10, 2011
I did actually make an attempt to watch this movie purely because its Disney. It was boring, the story couldnt hold my attention for more than a few minutes at a time, and though the lights where cool after a bit they just got distracting.
More TRON: Legacy reviews
review by . December 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Uninspired, Unimpressive, Dull And Redundant
Every once in awhile, we get to see a film aimed at displaying the latest advancements in movie magic. Movies such as this prove to be simple escapist entertainment that is meant to take the viewer along for its ride, and not much else. However, I think escapist entertainment is just another excuse of a mediocre film, since movies such as “The Matrix”, the anime “Spirited Away” and even the recently released “Inception” have managed to impress with a compelling …
review by . December 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Reviewing Tron Legacy is hard.  It is not a bad movie by any means but as I watched and observed it seemed as though there was something missing.  Along those lines it's not that Tron Legacy has nothing to offer, it's more that it's a movie that offers little more than it's own visually stimulation.  This wouldn't be bad at all IF Tron Legacy didn't try so hard to try to say something.  And we'll get to that.      By watching the …
review by . January 05, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
I never thought I would like this movie so much
“Tron Legacy eh? Isn’t Tron that weird old movie with the terrible computer graphics?”      Those were my first words when I heard of this movie. I remember watching Tron as a kid it came on the Disney Channel one day while watching I thought it was the coolest and weirdest thing ever. Obviously as a 9 year old kid I was really only watching it for the Light Cycle battles. I saw bits and pieces of it again a few years ago on TV I was channel surfing between …
review by . December 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
**1/2 out of ****      2010 seems to be a huge year for sequels. Long-awaited sequels in particular. First, we got "Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps". Then we get "Tron: Legacy". So how has "Tron" aged in 30 years? Somewhat well. The sequel isn't half bad either, and in all respect it is every bit as average as the original. In an attempt to get an actual audience this time around, the filmmakers decided to have Jeff Bridges reprise his role as …
review by . December 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   Ok, so it’s been almost a full day since I saw this movie and I’ve had to spend quite a lot of time, much more than usual, sorting out what I thought and what I wanted to write about it. The plot is pretty basic. The 1989 version of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), disappears. Twenty years later his son (Garrett Hedlund), goes looking for him. He gets sucked into the computer world where an evil program, Clu (Jeff Bridges), is masterminding a plot to take over the real world. …
review by . December 24, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
   This time last year, almost to the day, James Cameron’s Avatar was released to fantastic reviews and an accolade of awards, leaving just as many viewers saying “meh” as there were praising it as “the best movie of all time”. I’ll admit I was one of the viewers in the middle. It’s not a bad film, in fact its visual flair and ambition are the best things about it, but it’s not a film I would consider a front runner for Best Picture, an …
review by . December 17, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
      This is a very ambiguous movie if you're trying to contemplate about it too much. It may appear to be a groundbreaking science fiction but it also may look like another pale blockbuster saved only by the visual effects. I'm not one of those Tron fanboys and I will not criticize the movie just for fun but I need to say that this film lacks in substance. You don't need to see the first movie to really connect the stories because there's an intro and many references …
review by . December 20, 2010
Tron: Legacy is a slicker, sexier, and faster movie than its predecessor - which for a movie about the digital world, makes perfect sense.      I took two of my daughters with me to see it, one of whom is just a couple years older than I was when I saw the original Tron, eons ago. I remember getting lost in the idea of a world inside the computer, programs represented as individuals, digital pathways traveled like roads, and games where the stakes were more real than I had ever …
review by . December 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Is it wrong of me to prefer logic over spectacle? Did I miss the point when I left “Tron: Legacy” feeling it was a monumental failure as a story? If I’m to continue with this review, I must first make it clear that I don’t see the “Tron” films in the same way a lot of people do. I don’t believe they deserve praise simply for their innovative special effects; I personally require an engaging plot, character development, and the sense that it’s operating …
review by . February 02, 2011
posted in Movie Hype
'Tron Legacy' More Advanced, Less Worthwhile
If nothing else, Tron Legacy is Sci-Fi eye-candy. I truly remember the original back in the early eighties. It transported me to a place I had never been before. In college video games had invigorated our recreation time with Donkey Kong, Pac-Man, and Centipede, which gave us study breaks and a hefty escape from the pressures of college. Tron delivered us into that same world in a sustaining way by combining a convincing mix of arcade life and real life. The visuals and the world created there …
About the reviewer
Nicholas Croston ()
Ranked #26
Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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About this movie


“Tron: Legacy” is a 3D high-tech adventure set in a digital world that’s unlike anything ever captured on the big screen. Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the tech-savvy 27-year-old son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), looks into his father’s disappearance and finds himself pulled into the same world of fierce programs and gladiatorial games where his father has been living for 25 years. Along with Kevin’s loyal confidant (Olivia Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe that has become far more advanced and exceedingly dangerous.Poster art for "Tron: Legacy 3D"
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Director: Joseph Kosinski
Genre: Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Release Date: December 17, 2010
MPAA Rating: PG
Runtime: 2 hr. 7 min
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
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