I didn’t remember much about the original Tron movie. I remembered Jeff Bridges being in it. I remembered people wearing cool looking light up suits of red and blue, and riding motorcycles and what not. But I just really never understood it as a kid, or rather I didn’t try to.
As an adult I hadn’t gone back and watched it since the new Tron: Legacy movie came out. I really didn’t want to for fear of how the special effects of the new movie are so awesome I’d probably just laugh at the old one. It’s almost like the new Star Wars movies, except the originals still look awesome. However, in the end I did watch the first Tron from the 80’s to gain a little more perspective before reviewing Tron: Legacy.
Legacy begins with Kevin Flynn, the hero from the original, and now Encom CEO, telling his son Sam a bedtime story about the new grid (the Tron computer world) he and his friend Alan Bradley built. They accomplished this with the help of Tron, who was created by Bradley to help Flynn in the first movie. Flynn explains to young Sam how he couldn’t always be on the Grid because of his life in the real world, so he created a program in his image called C.L.U, which stands for Codified Likeness Utility. This is pretty much the same thing that Alan Bradley did in the first movie, with Tron being his likeness utility. Flynn speaks of a miracle that occurred in the Grid and cuts the story short to go to work. After this Flynn disappears entirely. Sam is left to be raised by his grandparents and everyone assumes that Flynn is either dead, or simply took off, shedding his responsibilities. All the while Bradley defends Flynn, saying that he is working towards creating his life’s work.
The film flashes forward twenty years. Sam Flynn is a 27 year old, Ducati riding advocate for his father’s dream. A dream of access for all to Encom’s software, but not wanting to assume the responsibility of taking the reins of his father’s company. Alan Bradley, from the first Tron, acts as a sort of surrogate father to Sam, and still currently works for Encom. Alan routinely encourages Sam to take back the elder Flynn’s company, but Sam doesn’t want any part of it.
Then Alan drops the bombshell of receiving a page [Ed – a page, haha. Nice BEEPER DUDE!] from Kevin Flynn’s office at his old arcade. A building that has been closed for the entire twenty years that Flynn has been missing. He gives the arcade keys to Sam, feeling that he should be the one to check things out. Sam seems to have some misgivings about going, but curiosity gets the better of him.
Once at the arcade Sam discovers a hidden door disguised as an arcade game, and stumbles upon his father’s computer system, which is linked up to a laser that sends “users” to the Grid. Sam obviously gets transported there and that it was the movie really picks up.
In the interest of not spoiling anymore of the movie for you, the reader, I will not reveal the rest of the story. I will leave you with the fact that C.L.U. is now the villain, and Sam’s main priority is to get himself and his father back to the real world. Along the way there is plenty of action, and it looks beautiful in the world of the grid. Watching this movie on Blu Ray can only add to your enjoyment. The world of the grid is simple yet stunning, vibrant, but also foreboding.
If you’ve experienced the old Tron, then you will be visually impressed by the updated look of the ‘Disc Wars’ that are fought for entertainment in the Grid. The light cycles also take on way newer look and makes up one of the coolest scenes in the movie. A variation on the light-cycle makes its debut in this movie as well…the light-jet.
Tron: Legacy has a great cast that I think everyone will enjoy. Garrett Hedlund as Sam Flynn is definitely a likeable character, although a bit one-sided. It seemed like he was a little too forgiving of his father for being out of his life for twenty years, even if it was beyond Kevin Flynn’s control. I suppose if I was in his shoes I would have probably just been happy to finally see my dad after finding him.
Olivia Wilde plays the lovely Quorra, who is a program in the Grid, and an apprentice of sorts to the Creator Kevin Flynn. Quorra is very loyal to Kevin Flynn and a bit child like, as if she is still adapting and learning. She will definitely be a developing character if/when there is a Tron: Legacy sequel, given her circumstances at the end of this movie.
In my opinion Jeff Bridges steals the spotlight in this movie, playing dual roles of both hero and villain. On one hand he is Kevin Flynn, trapped ‘Creator of the Grid’ and trying to restore balance to the world he made. On the other hand he is C.L.U., the Flynn created program that went bad, striving for perfection of the Grid, regardless of the means to that end which makes him extremely dangerous to everyone.
C.L.U. is the classic movie case of a human’s creation that takes it’s prime directive too far. C.L.U. is played amazingly enough by a younger Jeff Bridges whose voice is also slightly manipulated so he looks just as he did in the 1982 movie. I thought the younger version of Jeff Bridges looked great. Sure it wasn’t without its flaws, but it was mind-blowing to see the younger version of an actor from 28 years ago playing a featured role in a movie. The first movie I remember seeing this type of method being used was in 2009’s Terminator: Salvation, where Arnold Schwarzenegger’s likeness was impressively plastered onto a T-800 Terminator. In Tron: Legacy they took it about ten steps further and I’m eager to see how they utilize something like this in other movies.
From an entertainment and special effects standpoint, Tron near is perfect. The light cycle and light jet battles are wonderfully paced and riveting. It makes you wish you could be in there driving one of them, without dying of course. The story, although good, could have been slightly better though. I’m sure when a sequel comes around they can accomplish more since they won’t have to re-introduce everyone to the Tron world. I particularly enjoyed the message you walk away from the movie with: Perfection is something so easily envisioned, but ultimately unattainable, and the results from trying to reach perfection can become catastrophic.
On a sidenote, the music of Tron: Legacy was all done by the techno duo Daft Punk, but it’s not all electronica techno like one might expect. Instead it is mostly orchestra with a sometimes blend of electronica mixed in, but nothing too overbearing. Overall the soundtrack ranks right up there with the music from Avatar, and the most recent Star Trek.
Tron: Legacy will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD today, and I urge you to give it a view. I don’t think any avid Sci-Fi fan will be disappointed with it, and new viewers don’t have to watch the old Tron at all to catch on to this newest addition.
I give Tron: Legacy a 3.5 out of 5. It has all the makings of a perfect movie, and if they stick with the same formula and expand on it in the next one they will have an even better entry in the Tron franchise than Legacy.
Random Fun Fact: Cillian Murphy plays Edward Dillinger in a brief, and uncredited role at the beginning of the movie. The character is the son of the 1982 film’s villain. Legacy sequel villain anyone?