Back in 1982 I went off to see TRON at the movies and, if I remember correctly, enjoyed it quite a bit. Now, 28 years later, TRON: Legacy arrives at our screens in 3D – technology that did not exist back in the '80s. It’s a new story that loosely follows on from the first story but seeing the first movie is not necessary.
Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), once known as one of the world’s best video-game designers in the world, disappeared 20 years ago without a trace. His 27 year-old son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund), is now a disinterested, disillusioned and rebellious owner of a massive software company about to float on the stock market and who is haunted by the his father’s mysterious disappearance. Pretty much all he does is try to interrupt the success of the company.
One of his father’s trusted colleagues receives a strange and unexpected message from a phone number which has been disconnected for years and which is located in an old games arcade previously run by Sam’s dad. As Sam investigates the source of the message he is drawn into a digital world in which his father has been trapped by a computer character he had created. Together, they will need use all their “gaming” skills to escape, aided by the beautiful Quorra (Olivia Wilde, House M.D.) who is a fearless warrior within the virtual world.
TRON: Legacy is pure entertainment with little of significance to say (although, there is the odd hint at the dangers of virtual worlds that become too realistic). The pace is uneven and the movie seems too long running at over 2 hours.
Technically, TRON: Legacy is very glossy with its over-hyped special effects that try too hard without success and, in my view, did not need 3D. It is interesting that the shooting of the film only took 64 days while the special effects that needed to be added afterward took 68 weeks! And this disproportionate emphasis on special effects shows in the movie’s overall dullness when it comes to the acting and narrative. The story is cheesy and clichéd, at times, and the acting is nothing more than adequate. It was hard to really care about any of the characters and viewing the movie always had the effect of being at a distance from the action. Film-makers need to accept that spending money on special effects and a good soundtrack (which it is) does not a movie make.
TRON: Legacy is a pretty average movie and looks even worse when compared to what we know is possible in a movie like Avatar, for instance. More attention to the story rather than special effects might have produced a very different result.
'On the heels of another revelatory turn in True Grit, Bridges is sensational again, here in a groundbreaking performance.' – Pete Hammond/Boxoffice Magazine
'Tron: Legacy will only be enjoyed by men in their thirties and early forties searching for a Proustian moment.’ – John DeVore/Premiere