“Tron: Legacy” Movie Review

    "Tron: Legacy" is another one of those films, like many recently, which lay claim to being made for the 3D format.  Many films make this claim even though they are converted to 3D during post and were not shot with 3D cameras and intended for the medium during pre production.  Tron: Legacy is not one of those films, as it is clear after seeing it the filmmakers constructed every sequence to take full advantage of the advantages 3D offers material like this. The result is a true thrill ride of a film which is best viewed in the awe inspiring IMAX 3D version and is well worth the money for the premium ticket.

     If you have seen or at least recall the 1982 original, than this is definitely a nostalgic film for you as it is me.  For years, I played the Tron arcade game and certainly recall entering the world of Tron while riding the old Disneyland People Mover.  Jeff Bridges returns as the creator of the digital world, Kevin Flynn, and we are now thrusted 20 years later to the present and Flynn is still missing, his whereabouts unknown.  His now grown son, Sam, played by Garrett Hedlund is seen in the beginning of the film as the majority share holder in his dad's computer company, though he is completely uninvolved.  One night, his Dad's closest friend Alan Bradley, Bruce Boxleitner also from the first film, tells Sam he's received a text from his Dad from his old office's disconnected number. Sam investigates and soon finds himself fighting for his life as a"user" on "the Grid."

     This sets the stage for some incredible action set pieces, which anyone familiar with the old Tron arcade game will be very familiar with.  It is these sequences which are sure to make this film a contender in all of the technical categories come awards time.  Ultimately, Sam finds his father, who is now an aged Jeff Bridges battling the younger version of himself, the evil C.L.U. , who has taken over the Grid and left Kevin isolated and trapped with no way out for the last 20 years.  With Sam's arrival; however, escape is now possible through the portal Sam created when he entered the Grid.  The climax of the film is a race against time before the portal closes.

     If I had one problem with the film it's the stiff and uncharismatic approach Hedlund takes with playing Sam Flynn.  He's supposed to be the hero of this film with Bridges playing a more supportive role and he does not bring much life to the character.  His lines are delivered without emotion and he seems as though he struggles acting when in front of a green screen, as if he doesn't really relate to the environment or the situation he is in.  As an example, during the light cycle sequence, I was reminded of Jake Loyd in the cockpit of his Pod during the Pod Race sequence of Star Wars: Episode 1 and that's not a good thing.  Fortunately, the supporting players are more than game. In addition to Bridges, Michael Sheen has a great time with his character Zuse and Olivia Wilde is a savior as Quorra.

     As a pure entertainment, it's hard to knock Tron: Legacy.  Since Avatar last year, I haven't seen a film look better in 3D or the IMAX format. The pounding electronic score by Daft Punk practically thumped me out of my chair playing through the amped up IMAX sound system.  The director, Joseph Kosinski, certainly owes a lot to his creative design and effects teams for helping him put his vision on screen.  In addressing the films weakness, maybe his direction of Hedlund  comes into question but overall this is a fine science fiction film and one that both pays homage and advances the Tron story. The film is a true visual spectacle and the eye candy more than makes up for any shortcomings.