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Tron Legacy

A 2010 movie directed by Joseph Kosinski.

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"I Fight for the Users..."

  • Dec 20, 2010
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 previews you've more or less got the gist of what Tron Legacy is about.  Kevin Flynn, played by Jeff Bridges, has a son.  His name is Sam.  He tends to enjoy telling Sam about his adventures on the grid.  A place he hopes to take Sam to one day.  Suddenly Kevin disappears and 20 years later, Sam is still left wondering what happened to his father.  And more than that, what has become of the company his father used to run.  Out of the blue, his father's business partner receives a page (because, you know, pagers are totally hip) and it has come from Sam's father.  So Sam decides to go to the arcade to see investigate.  While he is there he is quickly pulled into a world that is unlike any world he's ever been in.  Let the games begin!

It is important to get out of the way immediately that Tron is a visual spectacle.  Through its visuals the movie has lots of character and flair.  It's a wonder on the eyes.  When Sam is in the games and throwing the discs things come alive.  And the bike game is wonderful this time around.  Unfortunately, Tron Legacy has gotten sucked into this idea that if you make a movie it has to be there for the sake of "saying" something and for the sake of actually trying to be a deep and meaningful story.

This is where the MAIN problem with Tron Legacy comes in.  If you were one of the movie goers who actually went to go see Tron Legacy for it's plot something is wrong with you.  But this seems to be where the movie tries to put a lot of focus.  I don't recall anyone who watched the original Tron because it was a somehow deep and meaningful movie.  Tron Legacy's plot suffers because it tries so hard to have something to say for a movie that, in reality, was something that was much better suited to be entertainment than to be some deep plot.  At some point it's easy to wonder just what happened to the exciting visuals.  After the first set of games the movie gets a little too focused on plot.  It tries to say a lot about humanity and even tries to have some Zen, but these moments are more forgettable than anything else.  We're not sitting down watching Tron so that it can preach to us about humanity.  We want to sit down and watch so that we can see the games play out. 

That's not to say the plot is absolutely horrible, only to say that it's forgettable.  It tries too hard to be complex, deep and meaningful for an idea that is relatively simple.  Tron Legacy has, in short, fallen into this trap that you can't make a decent movie UNLESS you've got something to say.  If there is ANY movie that should serve as an example that just being entertaining isn't a bad thing, it should be Tron Legacy.  The reason why the first was so much fun was because it didn't waste so much time trying to be quite so deep.  Because it tries so hard, you're apt to leave Tron Legacy feeling empty--even wondering just what the movie was trying to say.  Better yet, you'll be wondering WHY Tron Legacy was trying to say anything at all.

Tron Legacy is also set off by some horrendous dialog.  Our main hero, Sam seems baffled about everything he does.  Always muttering things to himself like, "You gotta be kidding me."  Moments that come off like we need to be reminded the main character actually serves a purpose than anything else.  Sam is charming, he's just not that interesting.  Likewise the "zen" moments are quite forgettable as well.  And it does impact the acting as a whole.  When a veteran actor like Jeff Bridges comes off as stilted in a film, you know you've got bad dialog. 

There's fun to be had in Tron Legacy.  It seems that everything outside of its core plot is done rather well.  The choreography for these moments is really nice.  There's even a nice climax involving planes.  This kind of fun is few and far between, however.  Likewise, there is more fun to be had by much of the production.  As I said, the art design is fantastic, but even more than that you'll probably be thrilled by the movie's awesome soundtrack.  Fans of Daft Punk in particular will absolutely love it.  It sounds digital, but not cheesy and dated.  If you're someone who likes to dance it would be a shame NOT to get this soundtrack.  The movie's soundtrack is absolutely fantastic.

Just about everything production wise about Tron Legacy is incredible.  It's the idea of trying to stick messages in there that down the movie.  As I said before, if there's ever an example of a movie that tries too hard to be greater than what it is, it's definitely Tron.  The movie might've been more fun to just forgo trying to be so deep and just be fun.  It was one of the reasons the original was so much fun.  You didn't go into the movie thinking you'd have to think.  You were just there to sit around and have fun.  And the shame of Tron Legacy is that it's a movie that WANTS to be thought-provoking but that provokes absolutely no thought whatsoever.  This is what you get when a movie tries to be something that it isn't.  It showcases good film making in how it utilizes it's visuals, sounds, set designs and cinematography.  It's the execution of it's story that's daunting. 

So is it worth seeing?  Sure, but you're going to have to tolerate a few things.  Mostly the forgettable story, but it IS easy on the eyes, the ears and from a technical standpoint there's quite a bit to admire because so much of it is done so well.  It's trying for that complexity and meaning that keeps Tron Legacy from being great.  Here's a little reality for you: Sometimes simplicity really is the key.  And just because a movie lacks depth does not make it a bad movie.  It's because Tron tries to have depth that it becomes a lot less worthwhile.

Perhaps it is better as a rental.  As far as 3D goes, it was hard for me to tell when I was actually experiencing it.  I don't see very many movies in 3D.  Tron Legacy is a movie where the effect should enhance the visuals, but it was hard to see if it really was.  It is very odd when the trailers are more eye-popping than the movie itself.  That doesn't mean Tron isn't a visual spectacle, only that it's probably not worth the extra admission for the 3D.  If you're desperate and have to get your Tron fix, you might want to give it a shot.  Otherwise it's better to wait.

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February 03, 2011
You've hit the right notes here, Sean. I felt the same way, but how articulate you are to state that when a great actor like Jeff Bridges has lines that are stilted, you have a problem. I liked the technology and the theme, but the dialogue had too many soapbox moments. Terrific review.
December 21, 2010
Yay, so glad you reviewed this, Sean! 3D hurts my eyes anyways, so rental it is. Thanks so much for the in depth review!
December 20, 2010
Interesting take on the film - I honestly hadn't thought about it from the aspect you did. My kids and I were entertained, and what was thought-provoking about the story didn't seem to be the main focus to me, but I do see where you're coming from. Great review! Very thoughtful and well put.
December 20, 2010
I think for me it was that it seemed like they were trying too hard to put it there.  I think it is entertaining.  I'm glad you and your children were entertained because it shows that the movie is still, at least fun.  I'm hoping others will have fun at it too!
December 20, 2010
There it is! I was wondering if you posted a review on this after that long comment under my review. Well, I can't really say I disagree with what you said in your review, I think you approached the film from an angle that was right for the film, and as for me, the direction provoked the wrong emotions from me when it pretended to have a thought-provoking plot. The visuals were ok for me, but not as groundbreaking as I hoped they would be.

My issue with this was the fact that  it seemed to drain all its energy slowly the more we approached its end game. I guess the heavy-handed direction killed it for me. I didn't like that it set rules and then it breaks them. Also, there should have been more light and graphic effects than one trying to be gloomy and all, it should've been more inventive. Seems like the direction thought gloom and mood can make visuals more impressive.

excellent review.
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 . 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 . 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
Sean A. Rhodes ()
Ranked #6
I'm a more analytical person. I believe that the purpose of the review is not for me to give you my opinion but for me to give you an analysis and help you decide if you want to get it. If you reading … 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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