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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Tron: Legacy Movie Review

As a total Tron newbie, I was hesitant to catch Tron: Legacy in theaters. I wasn’t familiar with the original Tron movie, only the fact that it’s a cult classic and a part of popular culture. But it seems that the marketing guys knew my one true weakness: cool-as-hell trailers. A couple of those were enough to get my butt plopped down on a cushy seat in Robinson’s Movieworld, with 3D glasses over my eyes, enjoying the premiere of Tron: Legacy.


Tron: Legacy begins with the mysterious disappearance of Kevin Flynn, the main character in Tron. Flynn leaves behind a business empire and a son named Sam (Garett Hedlund). Fast forward some 20 odd years later and Sam Flynn is still embittered by his father’s disappearance...until a mysterious message coming from Kevin Flynn’s old arcade sends him on a digital adventure of a lifetime.

One thing I immediately liked about Tron: Legacy is how it bridged the gap between two films more than 20 years apart. I would have thought picking up where Tron left off was hard, but Legacy made it look seemless. One scene has Sam going over the old Flynn’s Arcade, and it’s like a time capsule opened up, complete with Journey and Annie Lennox songs. It’s like you’re stepping into another time, into a future you can't wait to see.

I’m really impressed with how visually stunning this film is. If the visual effects and designs of Tron were considered state-of-the-art at the time, then Tron: Legacy takes it all and upgrades it to the Nth power. Trading in Tron’s white circuited leotards for some futuristic-looking black leather, Sam and co look absolutely cool. The environs are sleek, sterile and streamlined, and just taking it all in on the big screen is breathtaking.

I always found it fun to see actors returning to roles they were known for. Jeff Bridges returns as Kevin Flynn here in Tron: Legacy, but now he’s older, wiser, and sometimes channeling a little bit of The Dude from The Big Lebowski. The big bad CLU is also played by Jeff Bridges, only 30 years younger and completely rendered in unsettling CGI. Tron newbies Garrett Hedlund and Olivia Wilde round out the main cast and are fun to watch, but you’re really only watching Tron: Legacy for Jeff Bridges being a badass hippie going all The One on the citizens of the Grid.

If there’s one thing I could fault this film, is that it’s easy to get lost in all the eye candy, forgetting the pretty slim story within. While I found myself cheering for our heroes, hissing at the compelling villain, and hoping for a happy ending, it's the digital world you notice the most. But that's just me.

Be warned: not all of the film is in 3D. I found it annoying that the first 15 minutes of the movie wasn't in 3D at all, and the rest in the film's 3D comes and goes. Couple that with the movie's dark and lightless environment, and I found myself not wearing the glasses most of the time. I felt shafted on the P300 I paid to see this in 3D. I'm going to watch this again in normal 2D, then maybe I'll appreciate it more.

Still, I enjoyed Tron: Legacy. The story and the characters didn’t drown in all the beautiful CGI, more like they stayed afloat above the water as best they can. I could forgive a few hours of shallow storytelling to see a badass Jeff Bridges walking around kicking computer-generated ass in a world as gorgeous as this. Bottom line, stay for the pretty pictures, and maybe stay for the story. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

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