So last weekend the wife and I finally made it to the theater to see the 3D IMax release of Tron Legacy and while it definitely has its faults the film was a lot of fun! I was never really a fan of the original Tron. I watched it once when I was a kid and I apparently didn’t connect with it since I remembered very little about it. Then later I revisited it on VHS and found it to have some interesting and fun ideas but pretty forgettable. But the visuals for Tron Legacy pulled me in at the first moment! Many of the elements from the original film are here, the light cycles, the discs, the techno glowy-ness but its all been given a major upgrade.
(Some SPOILERS AHEAD) The story is pretty threadbare with Kevin Flynn having gone missing in the late 80’s and his son Sam grows up never knowing what happened to him. The opening board meeting and Encom sets up the company as a sort of soulless Microsoft-like entity more interested in profits than anything else. Whats interesting is the appearance of Cillian Murphy in the board meeting as a smarmy executive. He appears only in this scene and never again in the film so I can’t help but wonder if he will be the villain in part 2? Bruce Boxleitner returns to reprise his role from the first film as well as cameo as Tron a couple times in flashbacks. He visits Sam to let him know he received a page (random) from a disconnected number at Flynns arcade. Sam visits the arcade where we’re treated to the sweet sounds of Journey while he searches for something that could lead him to the source of the page. Inevitably he gets sucked into the grid which sets up an amazing sequence of action and effects that is never topped in the rest of the film. The lightcycle sequences in particular were pretty amazing, I found myself glued to my seat throughout the whole first half of the film.
The second half is where things fall apart, there’s little to drive the film forward and while our characters try to stress how important it is they get from point A to B to C there isn’t a whole lot of urgency to it. However I still walked out of the movie having had a great time and pretty much loving the film! I read a lot of criticism of this movie that I felt seemed to miss the point, the biggest being that the grid seems to have been designed by someone that knows nothing about computers. The grid is allegedly the same system from the first film but upgraded. Kevin Flynn rebuilt it in an attempt to build the perfect system and created CLU, the younger version of Jeff Bridges, to oversee this whole thing. The grid is not the internet, at no time is it ever mentioned that his system is connected to any others so basically we’re being shown a computer system that has evolved on its own without the outside world coming in. So yes the Grid looks like an upgraded version of the first film because that’s what it is.
What the film boils down to is the resentment and abandonment felt by 2 of Kevin Flynn’s children, the Real Sam and the Program CLU. Sam is able to reconcile his feelings when he finds out what happened to his father but CLU cannot and feels betrayed. There’s also some religious themes thrown in and sentient beings created in the grid called Iso’s. There’s some pretty interesting ideas in the film but definitely some big issues with the pacing and acting. It reminds me in some ways of the Japanese film Casshern which suffers from a storyline that just has no urgency to it but has great visuals. However Casshern has some big ideas moving around it in about revenge and coexistence that are very interesting and very Japanese. Tron doesn’t go as deep on its philosophies but it sets up some stuff that no doubt will be expanded upon in a sequel.
Tron has one of the best soundtracks of all time as far as I’m concerned. Daft Punk provided the score and it is pretty damn amazing! The music pumps during the action sequences and softly burns during the emotional beats but always feels perfectly suited to the world of Tron. So go see the film, relax, don’t think to hard about it and enjoy it. Its well worth the time!