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Tron Legacy

A 2010 movie directed by Joseph Kosinski.

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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.

What did you think of this review?

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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!
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 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
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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