Cult followers of the original “Tron” have been yearning for decades to see a follow-up, so that they could embark on another computerized adventure. The release of test footage at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con for a new movie, whet fans’ appetites, and since then, “Tron: Legacy,” has been one the most highly anticipated motion pictures of the last two years.
“Tron: Legacy” follows Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), the son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), who was the protagonist in the first “Tron” movie. As it explains through flashbacks and a computer rendered version of a young Jeff Bridges, Sam was just a boy when his father mysteriously disappeared 20 years ago. The senior Flynn was the successful CEO of Encom, a thriving software company, which made his vanishing even more puzzling.
Then the film fast forwards to the present day, where the daredevil Sam, engages in dangerous stunts and causes a ruckus for the Encom board of directors. Sam lives for the extreme thrills and shirks the responsibility of running Encom, despite possessing major ownership in it. Not even his father’s friend and confidant, Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), has been able to tame the boy over the years.
When Alan comes to Sam, explaining he has received a inexplicable page from Kevin’s old office, Sam is doubtful that he will find any new clues about his father’s disappearance. His curiosity gets the best of him though, and before he realizes it, Sam is standing at his father’s computer terminal. A series of playful commands backfires on Sam, unwittingly sucking him into the digital space where his father has been trapped.
Once inside, Sam is forced to compete in a series of deadly games for the amusement of the system’s biggest program CLU (also played by Jeff Bridges). Once he discovers his father has been stuck here though, he defies CLU to mount a rescue effort with the help of Quorra (Olivia Wilde), a program who serves Kevin faithfully.
With the special effects technology available today it seemed logical that Disney would create a visually rousing update to the “Tron” interface. In fact, the studio was so determined to make a splash with their revamp, that they brought on an architect and designer, Joseph Kosinski, to direct this sci-fi adventure.
To give the picture a gritty computerized sound, Disney also chose French dance music duo Daft Punk to develop the score for it. The group’s electronic dance grooves seemed like they would be a perfect fit in the world of “Tron.”
Director Joseph Kosinski successfully delivers a beautifully rendered upgrade to “The Grid,” aka the world in which “Tron: Legacy” takes place. The technology, landscapes, costumes, and vehicles all evoke a childlike sense of wonder in their fantastic detail and neon glow. Daft Punk’s music becomes the perfect complement to the action taking place on screen, particularly in a club sequence where the duo makes their cameo appearance.
Probably the film’s largest stumbling block is its rhythm. Its trudging pace burdens all of the eye-popping visuals and the great score. Since the film drags between action sequences it’s easy to see how someone unfamiliar with the original “Tron” could be bored. There is a standard good versus evil, race to the finish type of scenario, which all types of audiences could identify with, but the pacing of the film fails to give this impending conflict a sense of urgency.
Others might argue that the corny dialogue and the emphasis on effects over human relationships is a further detriment to this film. However the first “Tron” did not pretend to tell a complex story either, and people still appreciate it, so arguably a meaty plot is not required to enjoy this movie. “Tron: Legacy” like its predecessor, is more about dropping you into an immersive world and allowing you to experience something truly unique on screen. Fans of the original “Tron” will be delighted to explore this new space and the technological wonders it holds.
My Grade: B+