DVD, Blu-ray Movie Review
Directed by Joseph Kosinski, written by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, 127 minutes, rated PG.
By our guest blogger, Joel Crabtree
Editor's Note: The 3D version we were sent three times by our helpful distributor had significant issues with it. While the movie looked beautiful when it worked, too often it seemed to "catch" between transitions and made for an experience that was less than the movie deserved. We are unsure whether this is a widespread issue, though the equipment we used is just over one month old and all firmware was updated.
In 1982, Disney released “Tron,” a visually groundbreaking risk that didn’t pay off at the box office, but has lingered around for nearly 30 years as a cult classic among a particular brand of nerd. Somewhere, somehow, someone at the studio decided it was time for a “Tron” sequel. Thus, “Tron: Legacy” was born. All I have to ask is this--what took you guys so long?
On the verge of a major breakthrough in The Grid, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), the head of Encom, goes missing, thus tarnishing his business reputation and leaving behind a son, Sam (Garrett Hedlund, finding his footing as a leading man), who has inherited his father’s rebellious nature -- and his share of the company.
A mysterious page (yes, a page) from Flynn’s abandoned arcade office sends Sam on a quest to find his father. After being sucked into the grid, he discovers a totalitarian cyber world ruled by the iron fist of Clu (also Jeff Bridges), who is a program with the likeness of Kevin Flynn that was assigned to create “the perfect system.”
Only, it isn't perfect.
Sam is forced into a gauntlet of dangerous games, only to be rescued by Quorra (Olivia Wilde), who whisks the young Flynn away safely off The Grid, where his father has been hiding out for years. And he’s changed. No longer the hotshot, risk-taking programmer, Flynn is a tranquil god among programs.
Sam’s impulsive behavior clashes with his father’s passiveness when Sam leaves the safe house to put an end to Clu from outside The Grid, leaving Quorra and Kevin with no option but to follow.
“Legacy” more directly addresses the idea of man playing God with technology than its predecessor, and it even presents some pretty serious religious symbolism (Flynn, a creator, and his son, a saviorlike figure). It’s all a bit heavy-handed, but it’s kept dormant under the pounding Daft Punk score (awesome) and neon-infused action scenes. As breathtaking and as enjoyable as the action is, it comes at the sacrifice of many unexplored story arcs and ideas in the “Tron” universe.
The film does find time to delve into the duality of Kevin Flynn and his out-of-control alter ego Clu, with Bridges having a lot of fun portraying both the tyrant and the aging zen master. His performance lends “Legacy” some clout, but it’s topped by Michael Sheen’s brief turn as Zuse, a frosty-haired David Bowie-inspired program whose fanciful dance moves are almost straight out of a cartoon.
Everything in the movie, however, takes a back seat to the effects. Like the original movie, “Tron: Legacy” was made to push the boundaries of technology in cinema. It succeeds. The film is a special effects spectacle to behold, and it's deserving of Academy Award nominations in art direction, costume design and visual effects.
As with any movie that's so dependent on state-of-the-art technology, you have to wonder how it will hold up over time. Maybe we’ll find out in, say, 28 years? But for 2010? "Tron: Legacy" is quite an achievement.
View WeekinRewind.com's video preview of the movie below.