GET INTO THE GRID
Review by Patrick Garland
When I first heard that Disney was making “Tron: Legacy” I remember letting out an audible “ooh” in front of those around me. This, of course, once again proved how much of a sci-fi geek I really am. But I didn’t care. All I could think about were my memories of watching the original “Tron” as a kid. I recall thinking how cool the light cycles were and how I wished I had one. I also thought the fight scenes were awesome, the red and blue suits they wore were groovy, and the glowing water that made you strong when you drank it was righteous. Not only did I really dig that movie, I also loved the arcade game. I used to spend hours at my local mall dropping quarters into that game.
Those days are long gone and now 28 years later we have a sequel. Not a reboot but an actual sequel. Which I think is kind of cool because it is so rare nowadays. They pretty much reboot everything. So I took my memories and headed to the theater to see “Tron: Legacy”. I went in with dreams of Bruce Boxleitner and early-Eighties computer graphics dancing in my head.
Let me say right away that “Tron: Legacy” has a lot going for it. The visual experience is outstanding. It’s a really cool-looking 3D movie. The effects employed to create a younger looking version of Jeff Bridges are amazing and completely effective. The movie as a whole is pristine-looking and you really have to concentrate to take it all in.
This is what leads to a weakness of “Tron: Legacy”. While you are busy basking in the visual you might miss the plot that at best is sort of half baked. Of course, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It works for Jeff Bridges, who portrays the character Kevin Flynn as a half baked, hippie, guru, computer genius. But for many it may come across as confusing or nonexistent. Long story short, ENCOM CEO Kevin Flynn has gone missing from the real world. His son Sam, played by Garrett Hedlund, goes looking for answers and ends up zapped in the computer world, or The Grid, as it is called here. Once there, he meets some hot-looking computer program babes, fights in the game arena, is saved by another hot-looking computer babe played by lead actress Olivia Wilde, and is reunited with his long lost dad who gives him the lowdown on what has gone wrong on The Grid. A lot more happens after that. Some of it makes sense and some of it not so much. But is any of that the point? No, not really.
When you go into a film like this you have to let yourself go just a bit. I admit that maybe the plot could use some work. But if your willing to let yourself believe that our hero can be zapped into a virtual computer world, that programs inside said world look like sexy models, and that these sexy computer program models like to hang out at virtual night clubs drinking virtual cocktails while be entertained by two MP3 programs played by Daft Punk then does it really matter why a program named Clu who looks exactly like Flynn went bad and wants to destroy, destroy, destroy all in the name of progress?
“Tron: Legacy” is about state-of-the-art effects with a little story thrown in to go along with it. It seems obvious Disney is hoping for a new franchise. They even give you a set up in the beginning with a cameo by Cillian Murphy as Edward Dillinger Jr, the son of the villain of the original “Tron” Ed Dillinger. So maybe we will get more of a plot in the sequel to this film which I’m sure will be green-lit any second now.
So I went in with my memories of 80’s special effect coolness and came out with amazement of 21st century special effect achievement. The way I see it, that’s not such a bad thing.
Directed by: Joseph Kosinski
Release Date: December 17, 2011
Run Time: 125 minutes
Distributor: Walt Disney Pictures