Review: 'Tron: Legacy' Welcomes Anyone Willing To Ride The Lightning
Once-upon-a-time in the year 1982, a film titled ‘TRON’ was dropped like a bomb on a war torn country. At the time I’m in the second (2nd) grade and to be honest, the attention-span of an eight (8) year-old isn’t as open as one who’s say thirty-six (36), and although I remember the movie poster all over subway billboards around my neighborhood, TV commercials and a then school mate (Angel Torres) whom I still keep in touch with mentioning to me how he had seen it, loved it and in broken second (2nd) grade English explaining to me what the film’s about, I was blah about it and moved on! Even though it seemed interesting to my then mildly innocent mind, I had no expectations in going to watch it seeing as I had a cheap father who never really did anything with his kids, so ‘TRON,’ like many other films, just passed me by and that’s that!
The year’s 2010 and now heavily involved with films as a whole, and aware about ‘TRON: Legacy,’ I added ‘TRON’ to my NetFlix queue in early spring, received it, watched it, and wow – for a film that was produced twenty-eight (28) years ago was way ahead of its time pertaining to graphics and storyline regarding computer programming and the literal existence between two (2) worlds – ours and cybernetics. ‘TRON’ not only ignited a groundbreaking trend with what I believe lots of filmmakers should be thankful for due to massive successes with films thriving on full-blown CGI animation, but others which expose coexistence between two (2) worlds (‘AVATAR’). Many will argue ‘STAR WARS’ set the trend, and there might be room for argument, but when it pertains to the study of human controlled functions of mechanical and electronic systems designed to replace, involving the application(s) of statistical mechanics on communication engineering… Nope, Lucas wasn’t anywhere near!
1982’s ‘TRON’ is a film I recommend to anyone seeking something different. Although it may not seem too far from what’s being produced during contemporary times, and of course graphic-wise differences are obvious as practice makes perfect when comparing then to now, but the film’s enticing approach on mankind’s power of the mind is pretty interesting, enticing and with how far we’ve gone regarding programming and hacking – frightening!
‘TRON: Legacy’ has finally hit our grid – no pun – and I have to say for a film which stands as a sequel, much is to be expected seeing as follow-ups never really carry the weight originals normally do. Well, I think with the exception of perhaps of a couple of films, ‘TRON: Legacy’ just might hold its own. Presenting subtle continuity from its first film, and a recent video game released not too long ago, ‘TRON: Legacy’ serves the public as a whole in providing old-school fans with a quick recap of what went on back in 1982, and for new fans, it summarizes by opening up a mindset of how far back the world of cybernetics and gaming started and how they’re somewhat living it to a certain degree.
‘TRON: Legacy’ follows Sam Flynn (Hedlund), an impulsive and headstrong twenty-seven (27) year-old, who’s deeply haunted by the mysterious disappearance of his father Kevin Flynn (Bridges), a man once known as the world's leading video-game developer. In a unique moment which leads Sam investigating a strange signal sent from the old Flynn's Arcade – a signal that could only come from his father – he finds himself lured into an extreme digital world where Kevin has been trapped for over twenty (20) years. With the help of the fearless warrior Quorra (Wilde), father and son embark on a life-and-death journey across a visually-stunning cyber universe -- a universe created by Kevin that has become far more advanced and twisting with never before imagined vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless villain (Clu – Bridges) who will stop at nothing to prevent their escape.
For starters, if possible, this film is meant to be seen in IMAX as many of the scenes during the first half hour of the film has a strange resembles to ‘THE DARK KNIGHT.’ A lot of the scenes which are visually enhanced run parallel when embarking on Sam’s rebelliousness riding around on a motorcycle as he embarks on unanswered questions. From side to side, up and down, the shots of him on the bike are pretty cool to watch as it feels like you’re literally there with him. Many of the shots are filmed in 2D as it was meant to be shot and viewed, however, the IMAX 3D enhancement adds to its element of enticing entertainment. This continues once he’s broken into the ENCOM building which houses the empire started by his dad and now serviced by a corrupt board who have gone the way of corporate greed discussing nothing but profits, profits and more profits with no way, shape or form how the power of ENCOM’s gaming capabilities be rendered for charitable purposes! Dodging lasers which trigger alarms and uploading classified data pertaining to his father’s masterpiece – TRON, Sam breaks out through the roof, informing a watch-guard who he is and then taking a dare-devil leap which seems beyond anyone’s comprehension. The eerie feeling of Nolan’s ‘THE DARK KNIGHT’ hits – especially when his chute opens. Not sure if it was meant to feel that way, but similarities are there, however, too good for anyone not to enjoy.
The ‘TRON: Legacy’ adventure saga begins once Sam enters Flynn’s Arcade, encounters a tarp-covered workstation, and starts looking into what his father had worked on. Taking matters into his own hands, Sam starts hacking in and pretty much attempting all possible codes and passwords. Sam finally breaks into the ever-so-famous “Grid,” and the game literally changes on both ends – yours and Sams! An Intro starts which leaves Sam frozen right where he sits and once digitally sucked into an enhanced world of computer programming, ladies and gentlemen, visually you’re in for one of the most flawless computerized cinematic magic ever.
In regards to plot, it’s a bit convoluted, but doesn’t stray from allowing you to watch it. The first (1st) act sets the pace. I found it to be pretty interesting and well written in the sense of re-introducing the story and continuing its setting by gradually taking it from Sam’s point of view at age twelve (12) through twenty-seven (27). Elements regarding the importance between father/son relationships are clear and quite frankly defines the literal sense of growing from boy to man. However, once the second (2nd) act hits – which sets on Sam crossing the portal and investigating while inside the grid, I think it could have been set differently. Others may beg to differ, but a few things within the story left me feeling a bit uneasy and to a certain degree somewhat predictable. (Much of the storyline also references the film’s inspired video game, which to my understanding if you’re not familiar with; you’d be a bit lost. I don’t agree, but that’s just me.) It became apparent once Sam meets Clu and Quorra where the story was leading. It’s also quite predictable once Kevin starts to explain to his son when answering that one important question which is why he never came back. The third (3rd) and final act was nothing more than all out war. From programs chasing down the originator, to feeling a bit thrown off by Sam – someone considered a “user,” the world of Kevin’s grid sets obstacles beyond anyone’s expectations as the designer himself can’t believe how something he created has developed a command chain of its own – including the game’s hero, Tron!
Visually, the film is by far one of the most flawless I’ve ever seen. Director Joseph Kosinski didn’t waste any time in the editing room making sure to deliver what most – dare I say ALL – moviegoers and ‘TRON’ fans are expecting. And by that I mean a futuristic trip into what can be considered a fictitious fantasy orgasm! On every corner of the sliver screen one can see how $200 Million was coughed up by Disney and used to make sure this film turns out perfect! I often say effects don’t necessarily make a film watchable, but it helps out – especially when there’s an “ok” story behind it. It’s pretty amazing to see how make-up can make a seasoned Jeff Bridges look young again and almost as identical to the 1982 version. It’s pretty creepy considering the world of effects, but one can only imagine how far we can go these days when piecing a film together. It was like watching ‘SURROGATES’ when visually switching from Clu to Kevin – even more when encountering his son and presented as somewhat of a futuristic monk. The sense of amazement was also there when paying homage to the 80s with music and scenes which entails actor Michael Sheen as “Castor/Zuse” resembling a retro white-faced David Bowie. The lighted suits jumped out as dazzling as all the light-cycles, disks and light-ships – 3D was put to good use in this film as many others in the past have been completely garbage.
Overall, the film’s a mind-freak experience – especially once in the grid. In many ways I personally think this film’s effects outdid last year’s ‘AVATAR’ – which also suffered based on plot – and sets a stand-point of sequels having the capability of standing side-by-side to originals. Even though the story regarding Sam’s search for answers I think could have been stronger on some points, the film doesn’t disappoint in the least. It’s a two (2) hour film-trip I think should be experienced by anyone who enjoys magical films, however, like everything else, it’s an acquired taste! For added viewing pleasure, audio isn’t too far off as Daft Punk provides a funky score.
GRADE: B / GENRE: Action/Adventure, Science Fiction/Fantasy and Sequel / ROARS: 4 out of 5
RUN TIME: 2 Hrs. 7 Min. / RATED: PG
STARRING: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund & Olivia Wilde / DIRECTOR: Joseph Kosinski
(Opens Fri December 17, 2010)
TRON: Legacy Clip
TRON: Legacy Trailer
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