Director: Joseph Kosinski
Kevin Flynn returns from the virtual world in 1982, only to disappear again in 1989. Twenty years later his son, Sam, recieves a message from his father and finds himself drawn into the same virtual world, looking for him and finding more than he bargained for.
“Your old man’s about to knock on the sky and listen to the sound.”
So, now that all the hype has died down, I decide to actually watch the thing. I was never a huge fan of the original Tron, but as an 80s nostalgic, and a Jeff Bridges fan, the sequel was bound to catch up with me sooner or later.
Tron was one of those movies that bemused most everyone on its initial release and only really picked up a following later. Back in 1982, more people were indifferent to the computer age than were fired up by it, and so a movie set almost entirely in a digital environment (albeit an early 80s digital environment) was never going to capture popular culture. Nearly thirty years later, however, and the balance has reversed. A society still to be overcome by the digital age is now a society saturated in it, and that would seem to be the perfect time for Tron to make a comeback. Except that it’s not. Like I said, society is now saturated in the digital age and, where Tron was ahead of its time, Tron Legacy is a little behind it.
Despite its attempts to add new elements, the movie gets sucked into retreading too much of the basic plot of its predecessor, with Flynn’s son seemingly taking the same journey as his father did in the original. Sucked into the virtual world, playing with glow-in-the-dark Frisbees and cool bikes, taking on the maniacal leader of the world, meeting a babe in a tight costume. Same old, same old. Only this time, the virtual world is less Atari and more Playstation 3. Garrett Hedlund is a passable hero as Sam Flynn, but he is immediately blown into the scenery whenever Bridges comes into the frame, playing the elder Flynn as some kind of cyber-dude. Marginally less successful is the bizarre character of CLU, the aforementioned maniacal leader, who turns out to be a younger version of Bridges with CGI effects taking the actor back to his 1982 age. The makers almost pull it off. There are moments when the regressed Bridges looks totally convincing, but they are few and far between. One day, and probably soon, technology will reach the point where CGI can perfectly replicate the human face, but we ain’t there yet.
This is not to say Tron Legacy is a disaster. It’s an entertaining, visually impressive piece of fluff, but that’s about all it is. All the hype suggested that this was a movie which would expand the boundaries of digital filmmaking, much as Jurassic Park once did, but that’s not really the case. Less groundbreaking than the original, Tron Legacy offers little more than some pleasing nostalgia, a few cool action scenes and a cracking Daft Punk soundtrack.