Reviewed by: Carissa Horton
|Featuring:||Olivia Wilde (Quorra), Jeff Bridges (Kevin Flynn / Clu 2.0), Garrett Hedlund (Sam Flynn), Michael Sheen (Castor), Bruce Boxleitner (Alan Bradley), Yaya DaCosta (Siren), Serinda Swan (Siren), Beau Garrett (Siren Jem), James Frain (Jarvis), See all »|
|Producer:||LivePlanet, Walt Disney Pictures, Sean Bailey, Bruce Franklin, Steve Gaub, Justis Greene, Donald Kushner, Steven Lisberger, Jeffrey Silver, Justin Springer, Brigham Taylor|
|Distributor:||The Walt Disney Company|
“The game has changed.”
In 1982 a movie starring Jeff Bridges and the then unknown Bruce Boxleitner burst upon the entertainment world—and promptly fell out of popularity and was forgotten. This movie was “Tron.” Fans have faithfully loved their spectacularly rotoscoped science fiction phenomena ever since that fateful year. Jeff Bridges and Bruce Boxleitner chocked it up to another halfway fun role that didn’t quite pan out. I’m sure they never imagined that 29 years later, they’d be asked to do it all again.
Only a few short years after Flynn’s incredible discovery of The Grid and the programs therein, he vanishes, leaving behind a small son, Sam. Everyone’s instinctive belief is that Flynn just disappeared on a whim, deciding he’d rather spend a fortune on an island somewhere. Sam listens to this talk through his growing-up years. Did his father really leave? What happened to him? Meanwhile Encom, the company Flynn rejuvenated, is back in the hands of power-hungry businessmen focused on the bottomline: making money. Sam (Garret Hedlund) is now twenty-seven years old and despite the pleading of Alan (Bruce Boxleitner), his father’s business companion, Sam refuses to take an active hand in Encom’s future apart from the occasional raid to release a program to the world for free.
But one night Alan receives a page. A page from Flynn’s old arcade, from a line that’s been disconnected for over 20 years. His one thought is that Flynn might have returned, and so he immediately informs Sam of the impossible page. Despite his misgivings and disbelief, Sam investigates the arcade, where he stumbles across a secret passage leading to his father’s research department coated in nearly 20 years of dust and grime.
A few curious clicks on the desktop computer and Sam finds himself zapped into the fairy-tale world of his father, zapped into The Grid. All is not well in The Grid. This is not the peaceful world his father worked so diligently to build. The games that sacrificed programs for entertainment still exist, only this time, they are lead by a far more devious mind than the Master Control. They’re lead by the very program Flynn created to assist his peace-making efforts. They’re lead by Clu.
Sam’s shock at finding himself in The Grid lasts only a short time before he is forced to play the game, coming against good programs forced to fight and even enemy programs fighting because they scent the kill. With hope renewed that his father might still be alive, Sam determines to locate any evidence of him with the assistance of a lovely program by the name of Quorra (Olivia Wilde). It all comes back to needing to find Flynn and return the balance of The Grid from bad to good.
I first saw “Tron” (the original) about 9 months ago. It was late at night to best display the rotoscoping, and I confess it was one of the oddest films I’d ever watched. But it won me over because of its ingenuity and honesty. Tron, the character, believed in the users, no matter how fiercely his faith was defied by his enemies. He was forced to fight and nearly died for that belief. The same essence of faith is carried over into “Tron: Legacy.” The users are everything. They are the creators and without them the programs cannot exist. Yet these very same programs, Clu especially, leads warfare against anyone claiming that users are either real or superior to themselves. Sound familiar?
True, Flynn is no god, but the faith of these programs touched a chord inside me. They believe even when there seems to be no proof, even when the world threatens, they still believe when it feels like there’s no contact between them and their users. This faith should be emulated by Christians everywhere, because we know our God is real. This movie encourages me not to give up even when it seems hopeless. It’s always darkest just before the dawn.
Story aside, the visual effects are stunning! Yes, Jeff Bridges’ face as Clu is, well, a little lacking in realism. But other than that, the CGI is incredibly convincing. You can sense the effort on the part of the creators to enhance the similarity between “Tron: Legacy” and the original film. Diehard fans of the original may not be happy with the changes to the suits and the lightcycles, but the heart of “Tron” remains.
What pleased me was the small amount of objectionable content. No blood to speak of, since when a program is destroyed it turns into tiny microchips and falls apart. The intensity of the action is heightened during the chase scenes, and the fight sequences are passionate, but again no blood. In one scene, Sam has his clothes changed by programs, but it’s very brief and no nudity—just leg and chest (not sexual). Language is limited to only mild terms such as d*mn and h*ll.
Performances were brilliant by all involved, especially young Garrett Hedlund. I’ve been waiting for him to come into his own, and it looks like “Tron…” was a great start. Giving credit where credit is due, Olivia Wilde superbly participated as the only heroine, acting with a freshness and youthful exuberance that equally matched Garrett’s enthusiasm. There’s also a certain euphoria in seeing Bruce Boxleitner on the screen again, even if it is only as Alan, there’s a warmth fans will feel in seeing him. And, of course, Jeff Bridges both as Flynn and Clu. Despite what I said about the unrealistic features of Clu, there are moments when he looks like Jeff Bridges. Plus, the acting is Jeff Bridges all the way. He didn’t participate halfheartedly, and for that I thank him. Don’t forget Michael Sheen in his brief role as Zeus, one of the wackiest programs in the film.
“Tron: Legacy” is not for the faint of heart. Fans of the “The Matrix” series and other similar science fiction films will love it. Children will probably salivate over the action sequences. But for those of you more interested in drama or romance (which I myself love, too) then “Tron: Legacy” might not be the best choice. Truly, it will best appeal to fans of the original film who have been longing for 30 years to see Tron and Flynn onscreen again.
Violence: Moderate / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Minor