Tron Legacy

A 2010 movie directed by Joseph Kosinski.

< read all 21 reviews

A decent effort, but ultimately... no.

  • Dec 21, 2010

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. In the process he encounters many strange people, such as Quorra (Olivia Wilde), and Castor (Michael Sheen), sees a lot of strange places and is eventually reunited with his aged father (Jeff Bridges). They work together to overthrow the evil Clu and save the world and stuff while being stalked by an evil program who seems bent on destroying them (the Stig).

As you may have gathered, the plot is not the big draw here, and that’s a real pity. There’s a lot that could have been done with this story. The story for the original movie, while not great, was good enough and the characters were interesting. That’s just not the case with this movie.

Also missing from the movie is the sense of an original, unique world. Say what you like about the special effects of the first film, but I think they hold up reasonably well and they do a great job of showing us a completely new setting with a fascinating vision. It was a truly different world. But with this movie, the computer world is basically just our world with a few shiny things layered onto it. It’s less original and far less interesting. The programs themselves inside the computer world don’t even look as neat as they did in the first film, and that’s really sad.

Heck I even missed the musical cues from the first movie! Daft Punk’s music in here is just fine, but I liked the soundtrack for the original film, which seemed to suit it to a T. I didn’t expect it to be the same, obviously, but would at least a few references to the original soundtrack have been a problem?

Also, there’s a lot here that really doesn’t make any sense. Several of the programs seem to have no real purpose other than hanging around in arenas watching games. In the original movie all the programs had functions and several had been “kidnapped” by the MCP and made to perform other functions. That made at least some sense, but why would there be programs designed to do nothing but hang out chatting in a club?

Clu’s motivations are also murky at best, and I’m very unclear as to how his giant program army was going to get anything done in the real world. Sure, they could turn up in large numbers, but then they’d try to attack the US Army and get destroyed. End of line.

Even the set-pieces of pretty, like the first disc fight and the light-cycle races, seem purely perfunctory and aren’t as well-visualized as they should have been. There’s no real feeling of danger or menace at any point during them and unlike in the original movie, where Flynn was somewhat feckless and generally had no idea how to fight, thus having to rely on Tron, our hero in this film seems to have taken an A-level in badass, and is able to instantly do anything, anywhere, with no real effort. It actually reminds me quite a bit of the character of Eragon, especially in the movie version.

And yet… and yet… there’s still something decent about this film. Oh, it’s flawed. Heavily flawed. But it’s very cool seeing Jeff Bridges playing these roles. It’s very good seeing Allen Bradley again. It’s very cool seeing some of the little references to the first film. It’s very cool seeing Michael Sheen playing Ziggy Stardust instead of Tony Blair. These are all cool things. And I’ll admit, seeing it in 3-D in the Imax theatre was an experience.

But ultimately I don’t think I can recommend this movie unless you’re madly in love with the first film. There’s really no substance here, even less than in the original, and this film is somehow even less knowledgeable about computers than the first one! Imagine what they could have done had they really milked the “we’re in a computer world” aspect to its fullest!

Further, the story is pretty bad, the effects aren’t great, the vision isn’t interesting and the characters are just dull, especially Sam Flynn, who remains an emotionless cipher no matter how hard Garrett Hedlund tries to act. It’s certainly not really worth spending a fair amount of cash for the Imax experience.

I’ve seldom seen any other movie where the phrase “your mileage may vary” applies as much as it does to this film, and that’s something that’s rather saddening.

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December 21, 2010
Yeah, I think it wasn't so much as there was no substance but rather the substance was filled with contradictions, illogical devices and guided by bad direction. I dunno, if they played straight up eye candy then I wouldn't have been bored to death with it. Thanks for the review!
December 21, 2010
Interesting view. Actually I liked it lots better than you did, as I enjoyed the themes of the impossibility of perfection (son thinks father is perfect, Clu thinks Kevin Flynn is perfect), keeping promises ("You promised" is yelled at least several times) and winning against the odds. You know, your typical Disney movie. You made some good points, but I liked the overall package -- not academy award material, but still enjoyable.
December 21, 2010
PS: I saw the original many years ago and didn't like it.
More TRON: Legacy reviews
review by . December 20, 2010
posted in Forbidden Planet
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 . March 29, 2011
posted in Forbidden Planet
Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) is taking his normal night shift at work when he mysteriously disappears with no evidence of where he was going, or for how long. Many years later when one of his old friends gets a page from Flynn's office, Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) Kevin Flynn's son, decides to look into his father's disappearence more, despite giving up hope long ago of ever seeing him again. Sam Flynn then finds himself trapped in the cyber space world that his father has also been trapped …
review by . December 19, 2010
                “The Grid…a digital frontier. I tried to picture clusters of information as they moved through the computer…what did they look like? Ships? Motorcycles? Were the circuits like freeways? I kept dreaming of a world I thought I’d never see. And then one day, I got in!” And so begins the story of Tron Legacy with a great opening musical bit by Draft Punk.          …
About the reviewer
C R Swanson ()
   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … 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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