by James Gilmore
TRON: Legacy is a delightfully updated remake/sequel of the original Tron (1982), although it’s more of the PG Disney version of The Matrix for tweens, than anything else. With a strong, robust 15-minute opening sequence, this visually stunning film dazzles the eyes with dark, sleek spectacle without becoming intrusive or overbearing (no surprise, coming from Disney). The landscapes and color palettes, although reminiscent of the original TRON, seem to be inspired far more by The Matrix and The Dark Knight. Excellent directing and cinematography are worth noting (Kosinski managed to handle this big blockbuster budget directing debut without drowning). The film’s visual elegance is complemented by a minimalist, electronica-revival soundtrack.
As is typical of an action/adventure film, the plot is thin, even though the concept is good enough for a potentially breathtaking story. The magic of TRON: Legacy begins to fade toward the middle of the film as the weaknesses of its mediocre storyline are revealed, dispelling some, but not all, of the immersive filmic experience. And although there are a few instances of borderlines senseless technobabble, a few stretches of logic (such as programs acting exactly like humans), and clichéd generic dialogue, this tightly-woven, efficient film is a visual feast and thoroughly enjoyable.
Garrett Hedlund stars as Sam Flynn with surprising presence. Often he appears to be imitating a younger, more restrained version of Christian Bale in voice and countenance. Jeff Bridges as Kevin Flynn* brings both dimension and depth to his character, adding that touch of subtlety akin truly great acting—and the same would be more than welcome in Sam Flynn and Quorra (played by Olivia Wilde) as well. On the other hand, Zuse (played by Michael Sheen) appears curiously out of place and/or over-the-top within the tone of the piece, frequently sticking out like a decorative sore thumb after the parade.
Rating: 3 / 5
*It seems apt that I am writing this review on the day of Steve Jobs’ death because, in a sense, TRON: Legacy is about Sam Flynn, a fictional, magical Steve Jobsian visionary and technology emperor. If you’re wondering about the date, these reviews are usually posted several days after they are initially written.