Tron Legacy

 

Walt Disney Home Video

 

Rating: PG

 

Reason for the Rating: Sequences off sci-fi action violence and brief mild language.

 

Plot Summary: Sam Flynn goes into the game grid to rescue his father and save the virtual world from his father’s evil digital twin.

 

PopFam Recommends: In the end, new effects can't make up for a weaker plot. I'd have been more forgiving if this movie hadn't taken itself so seriously. After all, it's TRON, a movie about Jeff Bridges in glowing spandex; not The Matrix. If I were you, I'd save myself a few bucks and go rent the original.

 

If you don't already know, TRON: Legacy is the much-delayed sequel to Disney's 1982 science fiction classic, TRON. At least, it was a classic to me. I grew up with TRON, so the announcement of a sequel made me both excited and nervous. Excited because TRON was a fun part of my childhood; nervous because Hollywood has a tendency to take beloved things from my childhood, add fancy special effects, and run them into the ground (darn you, Clash of the Titans!). Is TRON: Legacy worth the wait?

 

If you haven't seen the first movie, this one will probably be a little harder to follow. In the original Disney classic, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) got sucked into the world of The Grid, a virtual world where computer programs (who were very much like people and very in awe of "the users," as they called us) were forced to fight each other to the death. This time around, it's Kevin's son, Sam (Garett Hedlund) who gets sucked in. The Grid is now ruled by his father's evil digital alter-ego, Clu, who has a dastardly scheme Sam needs to thwart.

 

Favorite features from the original movie return, such as the disc toss game and the light cycle battle, all rendered in trippy futuristic glowy special effects that are nicely complimented by a musical score by Daft Punk. As he struggles to find a way home, Sam runs into Quorra (the female lead, played by Oliva Wilde) and (surprise!) rediscovers his dad.

 

TRON: Legacy is a movie I really wanted to like. Sadly, though, this rehash takes a lot of what was fun about the original (a virtual world with little virtual people fighting each other) and weighs it down with more special effects and confusing back-story than it can support. Although the special effects look cool, the action is surprising slow and boring. The soothing colors and funky new age music may have made me just a bit sleepy. Everything in this movie, from the action to the dialogue, seems to be happening in slow-motion. The writers also seem to have confused Jeff Bridges' role as maverick Kevin Flynn with Jeff Bridges' role as "The Dude" in The Big Lebowski. Being stuck in The Grid has apparently turned him into a hippy-mystic tech-guru who spends his time meditating on the higher truths of the virtual universe. What those higher truths are, I can't quite say, as he never did.

 

What's going on in The Grid is very important, particularly the digital life forms known as ISOs that evolved when The Grid was created. To be honest, though, I have no idea what that was all about or why the ISOs are special or important. The movie, though slow, never slows down enough to tell you. The two main leads are cardboard cutouts of “heroes” that move around from action set-piece to action set-piece, but never really develop the many themes that could have been exploited.

 

The character with the most potential was Clu, who clearly has some serious daddy issues with his creator, Kevin Flynn. But his potential is never given the time to blossom.

 

I can imagine a much better, more plot-driven film that cut out all the fluff and focused on Clu's disappointment in his creator, Flynn's realization that man cannot play god because of his own inherent imperfection, Clu's resentment at the limitations placed on him, and the relationship between them. This movie has a great setup for a Frankenstein story (the horrors of man playing god) or a Satan story (creation resenting creator and wanting to take his place as god). But that story gave way to spacey battles, pretty girls, and handsome hunks doing back flips.

 

There are some redeeming messages in TRON: Legacy. Kevin does learn an important lesson about his own limitations and the delusion that men can, out of their own hearts, create a perfect world. He also learns a lesson about the importance of family, and in the end is willing to risk his creation for the sake of his son. More time could have been given to these lessons, but at least they're in there.

 

TRON: Legacy has little in it that parents should find objectionable. The action is a little intense, but is computerized and never bloody. There are some women in tight outfits made from balloon rubber, but nothing else. Overall, TRON: Legacy is an OK film, a little slow and long, a little confusing, and never quite capitalizing on its own ideas. It's not particularly good, nor particularly bad. It has some cool bits and some confusing bits and a lot of forgettable bits.

 

The Blu-ray Disc version of this film includes both the DVD and Blu-ray discs, as well as special features such as "First Look at Tron: Uprising" (a Disney cartoon), "The Next Day" which reveals what happens to the characters the day after the movie ends, "Visualizing Tron" (a special effects featurette) and other behind-the-scenes mini-docs.

 

Let’s Talk About It

Use these questions to spark discussion among family members who are interested in this movie:

 

• Kevin Flynn lost his son because of his obsession with his work. Have you ever let one of your projects or activities come between you and a loved one? What happened?

 

• Why do you think Flynn was willing to sacrifice himself and his world for his son?

 

• Why do you think Clu went bad? What was wrong with Clu’s and Flynn’s dream of a “perfect” world?

 

--MV

 

Note: All product-related graphics in this article are standard publicity/promotional shots and are owned by their respective publisher.

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