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Tron Legacy

A 2010 movie directed by Joseph Kosinski.

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This Movie Needs a System Reboot

  • Dec 18, 2010
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 under a heightened but nonetheless understandable set of rules. In other words, I like a good sci-fi/fantasy film, but not when all effort is put into visuals and absolutely nothing is put into the screenplay. If that makes me a prude who wouldn’t know a cool movie even if it came up and bit me, feel free to stop reading and start searching the web for a more enthusiastic review.
Just like its 1982 predecessor, watching “Tron: Legacy” is a little like watching a demo reel from the visual effects department – all flash and bang but no substance. It makes not the slightest effort to be plausible or consistent, it freely glosses over glaring technicalities, the dialogue is unbelievably awkward, and the performances are wasted on characters with no depth. The plot is convoluted and impenetrable, and it seems the more it tries to explain, the less sense it makes. The entire concept of people living inside a computer is a logistical nightmare, but if I start rattling off a list, I fear I might not be able to stop. Its greatest offense is not having any audience in mind other than the original film’s fan base, which, when you think about, hardly seems big enough to have warranted a sequel in the first place.
I will admit that the film is a dazzling sight to behold. I was especially impressed with work done on the character of Clu, a hacking program; he was designed to look exactly like his creator, Kevin Flynn, but since people age and computer programs do not, it was necessary to digitally reconstruct the face of Jeff Bridges as it appeared over twenty years ago. The results are uncannily convincing. With just a little more development, we may someday see digital recreations of bygone Hollywood icons and not notice a difference. Imagine it – Humphrey Bogart acting alongside Ingrid Bergman in a sequel to “Casablanca.”
Since the events of the first film, Flynn got married, had a son, became a widower, and was promoted to CEO of a computer corporation called ENCOM International. He disappeared in 1989, leaving behind his son, Sam, and vague promises of a cutting edge digital revolution, one he claimed would forever change science, medicine, and religion. The story begins twenty years later, when a now twenty-seven-year-old Sam (Garrett Hedlund) breaks into ENCOM headquarters, distributes their newest operating system over the internet for free, uploads a virus into their mainframe, and escapes by jumping off the rooftop and releasing a parachute he just happened to have stowed away on his person. After his arrest and release, Sam is approached by ENCOM’s consultant and Flynn’s old friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), who says he received a page from Flynn’s office, the number of which has been disconnected for twenty years. So help me God, the man is still using a pager.
Upon entering his father’s abandoned arcade, Sam discovers a secret room with a miraculously functional computer and a fully operational laser; with a few careless strokes of the keyboard, Sam is zapped with light and transported into the computer world, known as the Grid. We then witness must have been an homage to the sepia-tone-to-Technicolor transition shown in “The Wizard of Oz”; the film shifts from 2D to 3D, which is a new one on me. Sam is immediately captured by electronically-voiced guards in black suits with glowing orange stripes. After being stripped of his earthly clothes, fitted with a black suit with glowing blue stripes, and linked with a memory-storing disc that doubles as a Frisbee, he’s pitted against Flynn’s program, Clu (Jeff Bridges), who has since turned evil. He’s then forced to participate in games of survival, including a race on digital motorcycles that trail light behind them. He’s rescued by a program named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and driven away from the city into the surrounding mountains. Mountains. In a computer grid. And there are clouds in the sky, too.
I will now stop describing the plot and move on to some of the little things that drove me mad. There’s a house stocked with furniture, physical paper books, and food. I must assume it’s not some digital replication, for Sam is able to eat it without a problem. There’s a club high atop a sky rise in the heart of the computer city, where a program played by Michael Sheen struts around with a cane and speaks like a Dr. Frank N. Furter wannabe. There’s an ending which begs the question of how anything created in a computer could ever exist in the physical human world. After all, it’s all just a bunch of immaterial zeros and ones. The fact that I’m fixated on this when I’m supposed to be enjoying myself should tell you everything you need to know. “Tron: Legacy” is a horrendous miscalculation, one of the least understandable films to come along in quite some time.

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February 02, 2011
Wow, you went for the jugular, or at the plug on this one. I did think more highly of how they developed tension in the original. You can have dazzling special effects, but a snail's pace delivery during any chase scenes or the dialogue scenes made this one drag. Fine review, Chris.
February 02, 2011
Yeah, I was pretty brutal. But I'm sorry, it really did not seem as if any effort went into the screenplay. I was all about the special effects -- nothing else mattered.
December 18, 2010
wasn't a big fan of the original either. Loved your level-headed review compared to the ones I've seen in other sites from fanboys. Great review! I'll see this for an early bird show tomorrow. :)
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 . June 08, 2011
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 …
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 . 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
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … 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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