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

Nathalia Aryani is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic (rottentomatoes.com/critic/nathalia-aryani). She has a movie blog, The MovieMaven (sdmoviemaven.blogspot.com). Twitter: @the_moviemaven. She can be reached at indotransserv@gmail.com.

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