Tron: Legacy (2010)

Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund) has daddy issues, unceremoniously abandoned at a young age when his father (Jeff Bridges) was trapped inside a computer world he had previously created. Heir to his father’s empire, Sam instead drives around on his motorbike, looks as moody as his expressionless face will allow and only shows up to work once a year for a needlessly elaborate prank. Indirectly paged by what appears to be his father, Sam conveniently notices grooves in the floor of his fathers arcade, using some mean detective skills to eventually wind up in the computerised world his father used to tell stories about. Once there, the movie comes to life for about 10 minutes while Sam fights his way off the grid to loud music and a pretty backdrop, before settling back into – decidedly more neon – melancholia as Sam and his newly rediscovered father fight to save the day, one MacGuffin (seriously, how is it actually spelt?) at a time.

The most common defence you will hear of Tron: Legacy is that it retains the spirit of the original, updating the visuals for what is admittedly a spectacular cyber-universe. That said, lots of contemporary science fiction universes are spectacular to behold, Tron: Legacy proving just as pixel perfect as any of the multitude of others. However, whereas the Star Wars prequels (bear with me, I’m making a point) brought the mythology up to date – realising planets and populations George Lucas could only have dreamed of last time around, improving, but ultimately demystifying, his franchise – AND had a reasonably compelling new story to tell, Tron: Legacy does not.

Writers Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz have clearly seen The Matrix as Tron: Legacy is essentially a compilation of ‘worst bits’ from the critically derided sequels (did Michael Sheen’s Zeus remind nobody else of Reloaded‘s idiotic twins). Half-baked antagonist Clu – an unrealistically unaged Jeff Bridges – you see, wants to escape his videogame confines and (brace for it) conquer the world. There is much nonsensical talk of Clu’s plans as the writers fail to explain both his motivations and how the franchise mythology might actually allow this to happen, the result being a thoroughly unengaging plight as the audience – and, it appeared at lease, the actors too – have no idea what is actually going on. Tron: Legacy apparently has no rules, you see, with some characters shattering into a million pieces when struck with a light-disc and others only losing a limb, to be regrown later. As such there are simply no stakes as Sam Flynn is whisked from one disappointing set piece to the next, no audience involvement as characters travel from A to B on a quest for something or other.

It must be said that I am no fan of the original, its primitive effects and bonkers plot a suspension of disbelief too far for my post-Star Wars sensibilities. The premise still confuses me today (is Tron the name of the world or just the masked effect that comes and goes with little regularity or impact?), the abundance of back story I don’t even remember from the original – I think it happened in a video game or something – only making matters worse. I need structure, and introducing Tron’s fastest vehicle only to give it away is just one example of Tron: Legacy‘s imperviousness to it.

There are a multitude of problems with Tron: Legacy; none of the characters hold any interest or gravity, the effects are too generic to impress (a pimped out Disney logo possibly proving the best moment in the whole movie), the script reads like fan fiction, the dead eyed digi-Bridges has a head that is to big for his suited body, the first act is beyond boring and the rest of the movie isn’t much better. I won’t even go into the ‘creative’ decision to introduce the third dimension – which audiences are paying for – in parallel to the re-introduction of Tron (“It’s a swizz” I have been informed, mistaken for someone who gives two shits) half an hour into the movie, the over-riding issue I have with Tron: Legacy is that I just don’t care. I don’t care that Sam has a chip on his shoulder, or that Kevin Flynn might have to skip yoga class to return to the grid, or that certain characters betray and others sacrifice, or that the day is saved from an unthreatening enemy, or that what I’m seeing is half-kind of visually interesting or even that I feel cheated by a best-bits trailer that flaunts the effects without bogging you down with an ass-cramping story. Tron: Legacy is that unarresting.

Get a feel for the half-gorgeous effects from the trailer (which, by the way, Olivia Wilde is still the best thing in), save yourself the price of admission (which, if you’re seeing in 3D, you’re not really getting your moneys worth) and watch the original. At least that way you can nostalia-out at how crap it all is safe in the knowledge that the last 20 years of techological advancement is still on your side.

P.S. Buy the soundtrack. Without the spiritless visuals it is actually rather good.


About popcornaddiction
I am a psychology graduate, a News Writer for HeyUGuys/BestforFilm and, most importantly, a hopeless popcorn addict.

3 Responses to Tron: Legacy (2010)

  1. Tash says:

    Can I just say, whatever you thought about the first film you will think about the second film. That’s it. You hated Tron 1= you hated the second film for exactly the same reasons. I thought the first film was visual pushing ridiculousness, and I thought the second one is exactly the same.

    And Jeff Bridges is apparently The Dude. Who knows or cares why.

  2. Pingback: January 2011 – It’s on like Donkey Kong « popcornaddict

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