TRON: Legacy (2010)
TRON: Legacy (2010)

Genre: Sci-Fi Adventure Running Time: 2 hrs. 7 min.

Release Date: December 17th, 2010 MPAA Rating: PG

Director: Joseph Kosinski Actors: Jeff Bridges, Garrett Hedlund, Olivia Wilde, Bruce Boxleitner, Beau Garrett, Serinda Swan, Elizabeth Mathis, Yaya DaCosta

 


 

W

hat is the Matrix? That question was answered in 1999. What is the Grid? After the release of “TRON: Legacy,” that question still remains obscure. The computer jargon from the first film returns for this sequel (released 28 years after the original), including a slew of new ideas such as genetic algorithms, digital DNA, and quantum teleportation, which adds little to the fleeting reasoning behind digitizing humans and materializing them in a computer world. Like a technologically accelerated, hyper-futuristic “Mad Max,” gladiatorial games are the highlight of a dictatorial leadership where violent visual overloads only result in mild entertainment.

Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) was the owner of Encom, a company specializing in computer programming and a revolutionary operating system, before he mysteriously vanished two decades ago. His son Sam (Garrett Hedlund), now 27, is content neglecting his father’s Fortune 500 company to be a daredevil and thrill seeker, jumping from buildings, outrunning cops on his Ducati, and utilizing basic parkour moves – a movie standard for hip, young rebels. When old friend Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner) notifies Sam about a message from his father, the curious youth returns to Flynn’s Arcade, where he’s targeted by a laser and transported into The Grid, a computer world (presumably contained within a server-like machine hidden deep within the building) that represents a vast new digital frontier, created by Kevin himself.

Without the benefit of actually witnessing Sam’s transformation into the land of TRON, we’re left with a blackout and sudden consciousness that finds him immersed in a neon glowing universe filled with spacecrafts, hi-tech weaponry, and faceless, Stormtrooper-like guards. He’s whisked away to compete in duels to the death with various captured programs, initiated by the vanquishing Clu (also Jeff Bridges), before he’s rescued by a smoky-eyed vixen named Quorra (Olivia Wilde) and prodded into the realization that he only has a few hours before the portal from which he came will forever close. Coincidentally, Clu likes to pit rogue programs against each other in deadly games involving breakneck racers and soul-shattering disci, exactly like the monarchal supercomputer from the first film – apparently in the world of TRON, superiority, respect, and entertainment can only be determined by such matches.

Jeff Bridges’ transmogrification into a younger version of himself is eerie, puzzling, and completely unconvincing. For a project that tries to raise the bar for CGI, “TRON: Legacy” fails miserably in creating a believable new face for the aging actor. Every scene with Clu is a constant source of distraction and disgust, especially when the most impressive aspect of the film is the incredible advancement in graphics that gives each nostalgic creation (such as the Light Cycle) a complete visual overhaul. Also new to the mix are the numerous moments of slow-motion martial arts moves, twirling in midair, and repetitious, rehearsed positioning, as if each shot must end in a character posing for a photo. Michael Sheen’s role is similarly bewildering, bringing into a science-fiction Disney film the kind of makeup-wearing, flamboyant, dancing-with-a-cane transsexual one might expect from David Bowie in “Labyrinth” or Michael Jackson in “Captain EO.” Add to that Olivia Wilde’s jet black hair, dark eyes, and clumsy incandescent suit and Disney has its own inattentive version of modernistic gothic sexy for the videogaming crowd.

“I’m sure you must have a few questions of your own, Sam,” states Kevin after their inevitable reunion. Actually, “TRON: Legacy” creates more questions than it provides answers. Why does it feel like everyone is in a nightclub or at a rave? Why is the music ceaseless, unbearably bassy, and tinged with electronic sounds like “A Clockwork Orange”? Why are the events like watching someone else play a video game, and what exactly are the helmets for? Why was the genocidal purge of the Iso’s necessary and why is Quorra an anomalistic miracle? And where can a set of those neon TRON stress balls be purchased?

– Mike Massie

  • 4/10