Movies

Movie Review – Tron: Legacy

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While I’ve never seen the original “Tron” (1982) and I don’t play video games, my interest in “Tron: Legacy” was piqued after I attended the experimentally interactive panel at Comic-Con this past summer.

During the panel, Skywalker Sound was on hand. We were instructed to recite certain words (DE-REZ, RIN-ZLER) that appeared on the screen and stomp our feet. These noises from 6,000 plus audience in Hall H were recorded live to hopefully be used later as the chants of the spectator crowds circling the glassy gladiator arena.

In “Tron: Legacy,” Sam Flynn (Garrett Hedlund), a direction-less and daredevil son of former Encom software engineer and CEO Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges), receives startling news from Alan Bradley (Bruce Boxleitner), his father’s old partner. Alan has been paged from a disconnected number located in the long-closed video game arcade where his father used to work 20 years ago. While skeptical, Sam stops by the dust-covered arcade to investigate and gets transported into the virtual world that his missing father has engineered and discovers his entrapment.

Kevin’s vision to create an ideal utopia has backfired; there’s no such thing as perfection in the “real world”. His doppelganger Clu (a digitized, younger version of Jeff Bridges), assisted by his right-hand soldier, Rinzler (Anis Cheurfa), takes control and builds an army of programs with the intention of getting out and moving into our world. The “real” Kevin now resides mountains away in a sterile shelter within the grid. Reunited with his son and aided by a cyber warrior named Quorra (Olivia Wilde), Sam and Kevin plot for an escape. Michael Sheen makes a cameo as a caricature club owner (Zuse), whose motive is soon known.

Visual and audio-wise, it’s indeed a technical marvel. The neon-lit digital world and grand techno score really pop. The lethal frisbee-disc fights, lightcycle races, aerial stunts of solar sailers leave behind trails of blazing lights and sparks. The sleek, skin-tight costumes lined with beams merit a mention. It’s a stylistically curious scene when the quartet of sexy sirens, led by Gem (Beau Garrett), step into frame and dress Sam for combat.

I’m not sure how some could compare “Tron: Legacy” with groundbreaking “Avatar.”  For me there’s no comparison; “Avatar” has the whole package. In another universe, last year’s “Star Trek” excels on its storytelling and characterizations. In “Tron: Legacy,” the philosophical-technical babbles are not easily understood. And the lack of human elements makes the frigid atmosphere even harsher. Bridges is the only one who manages to instill warmth into his character.

After a while, the ever-glowing splash of neon colors against the dark and whitewashed background become monotonous and tire the eyes. The races and battles turn into somewhat of a blur. The closing sight of natural sunlight off the grid is truly welcoming to sore eyes. “Tron: Legacy” is technically ‘trontastic,’ but nothing else.

Copyright (c) 2010. Nathalia Aryani.

Nathalia Aryani is a business manager, foreign language translator, lifestyle/travel writer and film columnist. She owns a movies blog, The MovieMaven (http://themoviemaven.posterous.com). Nathalia can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

"Nathalia Aryani is a film columnist and has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com."

5 Comments

  1. PodFlixWilly

    December 21, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    Feels like Nathalia wrote this review before seeing the movie. Of course the plot was going to be mediocre at best. Why the comparison to Avatar though? Not like Avatar’s plot was incredibly deep either. It was almost as transparent and smash you over the head as Tron’s. Don’t expect to have your outlook on life changed by this movie but DO expect to enjoy what you see.

  2. Cabral75

    December 22, 2010 at 3:28 am

    Tron: Legacy is a Master Piece. It is not a movie for people without imagination and philosophical aspirations. Tron goes deep, I don’t think most people get what they meant with the plot. People say the plot is weak ? What kind of fantastic ideas do they have ? Please people write a book with all your amazing imagination a lot superior then Tron’s writer. This movie got me thinking about life a lot. About positive and negative, about light and darkness, 0 and 1, binary code, DNA, I Ching, Male and Female. This is the universal law of nature, to be or not to be, exist or not exist, this could go on forever and it goes. I guess the perception of the person watching the movie makes a big difference in the experience. That’s why sometimes I see stupid comments, about great movies like AVATAR, this people don’t have a CLUE about what’s going on in their lives. Tron takes your imagination far away and make you think what perfection means in your life. What is the cost of it and how much better we can build this world. A++ to Tron.

  3. Alan

    December 22, 2010 at 5:51 am

    “While I’ve never seen the original “Tron” (1982) and I don’t play video games”
    …. probably not the best credentials for a reviewer of this movie!

  4. Alan

    December 22, 2010 at 5:57 am

    … but.. sorry I meant to say that I do still respect and thanks you for your opinions of the movie. I did indeed like it but I am a big fan of the original and a ( to a lesser extent ) fan of video games. I guess this movie was not your cup of tea and I respect that. I have to say that if you showed somebody the original now they would really have to be into the retro side of it to like it, i would say the same is true for the original star wars or any older movie for that matter. It’s like the mona lisa, it was groundbreaking at the time but when you look at it now it does not have the same impact. I just realised I compared a few things there to the mona lisa that may not really be on par with it! I meant in a zeitgest sense not neccasarily in an all encompassing impact to society in general kind of way.

    Thank you again for sharing your opinion.

  5. Alan

    December 22, 2010 at 6:07 am

    … i think one needs to be careful with the use of the word ground breaking… especially when it comes to movies. Avatar was ground breaking for visual affects and purely visual affects. If you take away the visual affect then avatar is a retelling of Fern Gully ( http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0104254/ ) which I’m pretty sure nobody in 1992 considered ground breaking, although it may very well have been given it’s ecological message at the time. But still it is avatar without the 3D. I think Trons story, both the original and the Tron legacy stories are weak, they are action adventure with some fairly run of the mill good and evil, ying/yang perfection is unobtainable and essentially self destructive tropes but it has a level of cool escapism that I find wonderful and I confess I am a bit of a sucker for. I can’t remember the last movie that had any real philosophical impact on me. I find recently they are all reworkings of older ideas and tropes. Road to perdition, The Matrix ( only the 1st one ! ) Solaris. But then again these all have a cool factor that I might be getting sucked into 🙂

    Alan.

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