bill bodkin reviews one of the most hotly anticipated films of 2010…
High contrast, high definition, high gloss and highly entertaining — Tron Legacy is pure Hollywood spectacle. A beautifully crafted battle between cyber good and evil. Scenes with digital motorcycles careening across the screen will leave collective mouths agape as they sit in a theater that shakes with a Dolby sonic boom.
Tron Legacy is a visually dazzling film that is the definition of epic. However it is also the definition of style over substance. What Tron has in visually majesty, it lacks plot or at least it lacks in a plot that seals the deal.
The plot of Tron revolves around Sam Flynn (Four Brothers’ and Country Strong’s Garret Hedlund), the prodigal son of computer genius Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) — the hero of the original film. Kevin disappeared from the face of planet (literally) in the 80s after proclaiming he was on the verge of delivering a miracle to the world.
Sam, like his father, is a boyish, devil may care, genius; (however he lacks the same fire and charisma of his dad or maybe that’s just because of the difference in the actors) however he doesn’t have the same drive, he’s aimless — all due to the fact his father has been absent from his life. However one night after a meeting his father’s old business partner (Bruce Boxleitner, another cast member from the original film and the model that the original Tron was based on) he gets a phantom page to go to his father’s old arcade. Once in the arcade Sam accidentally gets transported to the “The Grid” the virtual world that his father created 30 years ago.
Once in the grid Sam runs into his father’s digital doppleganger Clu (a digitally youthened Jeff Bridges), where he realizes that all is not well in this virtual Oz. Eventually Sam is reunited with his long lost father with the help from Cora (Olivia Wilde). The three of them must join forces and take Clu down in order to prevent he and his army of evil programs from entering and taking over the real world.
Tron Legacy’s strongest points are when the screen is filled with tantalizing digital action sequences usually involving some sort of chase (awesomely underscored by the symphony digital house beats of Daft Punk). The other times are when it’s blatantly obvious that the directors let the incomparable Bridges improvise his lines. Bridges has transformed the boyishly fun Flynn into a cross between The Dude and Obi Wan Kenobi. This improvisation allows Bridges to shows the development and growth of the eldest Flynn who is repentant for letting his creation (Clu) get out of hand.
However the film’s plot, especially in the final act, weakens the overall film experience. Unmotivated character actions (especially from the silent character Renzler) as well as the relative ease that our heroes overcome members of Clu’s army hamper everything that’s been set-up throughout the film. Yet it’s the film’s climax that throws cold water onto everything because it takes a weird, religiously heavy-handed and head scratching turn. Think Matrix Revolutions weird…except less preachy.
In the end, Tron Legacy’s weaknesses and strengths balance each other out to provide a fun yet flawed epic that audiences should give a shot to especially if it’s in IMAX. You won’t be disappointed in the fun and the fury of this film and it’ll be worth the inflated ticket price.