Title: TRON: Legacy (2010)
Director: Joseph Kosinski
Cast: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde
TRON:Legacy was one of the most anticipated films of 2010, and most of that anticipation comes from the fact that this film is a sequel to Walt Disney’s groundbreaking science fiction film TRON (1982). Like many people, I don’t think that the original film is anything amazing in terms of storytelling or action adventure (actually me thinks the film is kind of slow) but it did offer up some interesting visuals. Hell, it was also one of the first films to ever use computer animation, along with Disney’s The Black Hole (1979). Computer animation has grown by leaps and bounds since 1982, so this new TRON flick has the task of improving the effects we saw on the original film and if it attempts to be as ground breaking film as its predecessor, then it will try and take computer effects to a whole new level. Did this new film achieve its goals?
TRON: Legacy tells the story of Sam Flynn, son of Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) the creator of one of the most successful games ever, TRON. Sam, his son has always lived his life plagued by the fact that one day his father said “see you later”, got on his motorcycle and then disappeared from the face of the earth. If you saw the first TRON then you know that Kevin Flynn disappeared because he inserted himself into the TRON program and then was unable to escape. The computer program where Kevin inserts himself into, know as “The Grid” in the film, is a Matrix of sorts where a whole different society exists. It basically is a mirror image of earth. One night, Sam decides to fool around with his fathers old computers and accidently transports himself in The Grid, same as his father all those years ago. Now he must try and adapt and survive in this new world that is apparently being run by a despotic ruler named CLU. Will Sam ever reconnect with his father?
The thing about this new movie is that it’s not the end all be all that a lot of people are expecting. First off, let me warn you guys about the supposed 3-D. It’s yet another scam. It’s not 3-D at all, and that my friends pissed me the hell off. It pulled a Clash of the Titans (2010) on us! I felt cheated, there was no need to “convert” this movie to 3-D because the effect simply does not work. The movie had amazing visuals, but they weren’t 3-D. You’ll enjoy this one just fine without having to pay the extra cash, so do yourself a favor and see this one 2-D. I’m sick and tired of studios doing this to the audience, cheating them out of their hard earned cash. No doubt many people will go see it expecting to see some mind blowing 3-D, and I don’t blame them since Disney has hyped the 3-D angle in all the previews. Sadly, audiences will be disappointed, same as I was. Hell, even Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010) had better 3-D effects then this new TRON movie. I blame Disney for hiping this one as the end all be all of 3-D films, when in fact it was anything but that! You just know something is fishy when the film starts out with a disclaimer letting you know that this film was originally intended to be seen in 2-D and not on 3-D.
Aside from that, we have the script which was extremely similar to other films. First of all the movie is kind of, sort of a remake. This movie pulls an Evil Dead 2 on us by offering a bigger budgeted, slightly altered yet extremely similar version of the original film. It is a sequel because they do reference events from the first film, but when you look at it, the film plays out exactly the same way the original one did. Person gets sent to “the grid”, person gets a new suit, has to participate in some games and win, and then he must travel to a portal where he will finally face off the evil despotic leader. When you look at it, it’s the first film step by step. We have the disk fight, we have the motorcycle race, they even travel on a ship that travels on a beam of light. It was too similar. On top of that, the film has elements from The Dark Knight and The Matrix, right down to having Sam Flynn be the heir to a big company and not wanting to accept responsibility and having to reprogram everyone so they wont continue being slaves to the system and all that. I did like the films themes, I mean, I’m a sucker for a film where the good guys go up against an evil ruler, but even I must admit that that’s been done to death.
It does play with some original themes. Like for example Clu, the films villain is amassing a private army! That’s a sign of an evil ruler if there ever was one! So when Clu learns that the media (run by a guy named Zuse) will be allowing some rebels to get their word out about starting a revolution, Clu decides to wipe out the entertainment mogul. I thought this was an interesting way of talking about the control of the media by governments who want to control the publics opinion. Governments know the power that media and entertainment has. Films are censored because the powers that be know how powerful films are in terms of getting ideas through to people. So I enjoyed how the film commented on the power of the media over peoples opinion.
Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn comes off as a futuristic version of ‘El Duderino’ from The Big Lebowski (1998). On Tron, Flynn represents the hippies from the 60’s and 70’s who were a hell of a lot more rebellious then the kids nowadays. In a way, the film is telling the younger generation to stand up against the evil, to speak up, to change things. It’s telling them not to stay comfortable at home playing video games and watching movies, go out there and give a damn about what’s going on in the world or the bad guys are going to win. So what we got here ladies and gentlemen is a subversive film from the folks at Disney. Actually, Disney has been making a lot of these types of films recently, which just points at one thing: art is reflecting life.
One thing the film does get extremely right are its visual effects which as expected, were good. Technically speaking, the film is great. The colors, the cgi, and just the look of the film were entertaining and beautiful to look at. Everything is slick looking and futuristic, the colors are awesome. The red is the bad guys, the blue the good guys. But on thing did let me down about the special effects. I didn’t like how the CLU character looked. He is supposed to look like a younger version of Jeff Bridges, but in my opinion it just didn’t work. I mean, the performance looks stiff somehow. I thought they would be breaking new ground with that effect, but it turned out to be another stiff performance from a CGI character. I guess this movie proves once and for all that real actors will never be replaced by CGI characters, no way no how!
Another thing they got right was the music, by Daft Punk. I’m a huge fan of Daft Punk and have been enjoying their futuristic beats and sounds for years. They even cameo in the movie at one point during a sequence that takes place inside of a disco. Their music sounds so robotic, it fits perfectly in the world of TRON. This is without a doubt a soundtrack to keep.
Daft Punk make a cameo
So my friends, what we got here is a decent sequel, a film that's extremely subversive in nature. It pays homage to the original while injecting things with new updated ideas. It's like watching the first film with modern effects. It's extremely anti-system all the way. It's against governments that want to control every single little aspect of our lives. It's a film that is firmly about fighting for our freedom to exist in this world. It's stylish to the max with visuals that are a delight to the eyes. TRON: Legacy was obviously designed to perfection by talented individuals; looking forward to other films from Kosinski.
Rating: 4 out of 5